ASHKELON, ISRAEL — YAD B’YAD, the story of the first Israel Girls National Lacrosse Team, was released worldwide to be viewed free of charge on Facebook this week.
The documentary, which is approximately 28 minutes in length, was filmed, produced and edited by Hannah Epstein, who played collegiate lacrosse at Middlebury before joining the Israel Women’s National Team. Epstein, who works seasonally for NFL Films and spends half the year in Israel, followed with her camera as the first-ever Israel U-19 Women’s National Team was built.
The film follows the group of mostly 15 and 16-year-old girls from the small coastal city of Ashkelon, located just a few miles away from the Gaza Strip, as they learn and fall in love with the sport while forging new friendships.
Epstein and her lens track the team of young women — many of whom have never previously been on an airplane — as they prepare and ultimately compete at the Federation of International Lacrosse U-19 Women’s World Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland. The journey includes wide and diverse adversaries, ranging from an intimidating gang of anti-Israel protesters off the field, to the #1-ranked US Lacrosse on it.
The title of the documentary, YAD B’YAD, translates in English to “hand-in-hand”; which is how Baltimore-native Hannah Deoul, her young and enthusiastic coaching staff, and the girls themselves approached their challenges.