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The Maccabiah Games

The establishment of the Maccabiah Games in 1932 marked an astounding achievement for Yosef Yekutieli, a 15-year-old in pre-state Palestine who was caught up in the excitement of the 1912 Olympic games. As the ‘new Jews,’ who were interested in being strong and capable, as well as more physical than the European Jews, the Jews of the Yishuv period had an interest in sports. Yekutieli ultimately received the sponsorship of the British Palestine High Commissioner Sir Arthur “Andy” Wauchope in 1931.

The games were scheduled as part of a commemoration of the Bar Kochba rebellion against the Roman empire 1,800 years earlier. The British High Commissioner made the request that Arab as well as British Mandate athletes be allowed to compete along with Jewish athletes. Following a 15-year break between 1935 and 1950, the post-war games included a team of survivors from Germany.

In recent years, the Maccabiah movement has expanded to games outside of Israel, including the Pan American, European, Australian and US/JCC Maccabi games and has grown to host more than 50 countries and over 7,000 athletes. As a celebration of Jewish awareness, Zionism, identity and sportsmanship, it has helped to redefine the meaning of sportsmanship for Jews everywhere.

Come to Israel during a Maccabiah year.

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* Bar / Bat Mitzvah Tours
* Jewish Heritage Tours

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