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Giving Israel a sporting chance
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: Collins, Liat
Date: Jul 12, 2009
Start Page: 14
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

That's something the new immigrants already realize. And thousands of special visitors - 5,000 in fact - will also become aware of it in the next couple of weeks as they take part in the Maccabiah Games, nicknamed "The Jewish Olympics." This Maccabiah, the 18th (or "hai" - "life" - in Hebrew), has attracted an excellent turnout numerically; altogether with the Israelis there are 7,000 participants, and if it doesn't make sporting history, well, that's not really the point. When it comes to the Maccabiah, the saying that participation is more important than winning is not just a cliche - it's a truism.

The 1965 Maccabiah also brought basketball player Tal Brody from the US to Israel for the first time. Brody later immigrated and became a local legend, particularly after he so quotably pointed out in his strong American accent following Maccabi Tel Aviv's big win against CSKA Moscow in 1977: "Anahnu al hamapa ve'anahnu nisharim al hamapa!" (We're on the map and we're staying on the map!).

BEING PROUD participants in the Maccabiah is about Jewish pride as well as the sporting spirit. And where else but at the opening ceremony of the "Jewish Olympics" could a basketball coach, like Todd Schayes, carry a banner reading (in Hebrew): "Single American male looking for Israeli wife. Staying at the Hilton Hotel, TA"?

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