Maccabi Australia – the World is your Oyster!

July 1, 2010 by Odile Faludi - Maccabi NSW
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Maccabi News recently caught up with Harry Procel, President of Maccabi Australia, MAI to chat about all the projects that are currently on the boil.

MAI is certainly on the way to achieving great things with an International event in six months to be staged in Sydney and a host of other initiatives set to make their debut.

Harry Procel, President Maccabi Australia

UPFRONT with Harry Procel

Image taken by Henry Benjamin- J-Wire
Harry Procel, President, MAI. The roof body of Maccabi NSW.

What is your earliest memories of Maccabi?

In 1967, with the Hakoah AJAX Athletics Club in Victoria. I partook in other Clubs such as Table tennis, Golf, Volleyball but my real love was always Athletics. I am proud to say I was a keen fast, track and field competitor. I went on to be President of the Athletics Club and also the co-editor of the newsletter in those days called, “Spikes N Blocks”. I was also a prominent member of the MacVic Board for 18 years and since 1994 have been an active member of MAI becoming President in 2005.

MAI has many projects currently on the boil … can you please expand?

It is a really interesting time to be part of Maccabi Australia. Since recruiting our Executive Director, Robert Weisz, MAI certainly have beefed up marketing and projects. They are:

* The Youth Leadership Program being directed by Ilan Kogus. Any good organisation needs a succession plan and training and equipping our new leaders with the skills that are required to continue to grow the organisation is imperative. This program will be for adults aged 25-40 years who have a vested interest in being part of Maccabi in a leadership capacity. i.e. Maccabiah, Junior Carnivals and running Clubs.

* Gap year Program in Israel hopefully due to commence 2011 – is an initiative of Danny Hochberg and has the full support of MAI. The Youth Movements have been offering these programs for a long time and now with Maccabi coming onboard I think we are giving the community a great option for those sporting enthusiasts.

* Maccabi Australia International Games, MAIGS – is set to be a really exciting event which will showcase Australia to the world in a Jewish sporting event similar to Maccabiah. Jeff Houseman, Chairman for MAIGS has been doing an outstanding job and has worked very hard to get the support of many countries. December is around the corner so I can’t wait! As they say, “Let the games begin!”

* Resurgence of Junior Carnival – the big news here is that last year we had participants from Hong Kong and Singapore attend Perth Junior Carnival and this year it looks like they may be coming to Melbourne. Hong Kong has confirmed. Singapore is work in progress. The other big news is that 2012 Junior Carnival will take place in Brisbane which is the first time in 20 years. This is significant as it shows there is substantial growth of the organisation in Queensland.

* Launching MAI website soon– this will be a powerful and useful tool for the entire organisation. I feel very passionate about this and believe our communication network to our 9,000 members will have a place which not only offers them information but actually does the work for them i.e. in the case of registrations. It will be a time saving tool, an information network and will hopefully bring all the states together in a professional and cohesive manner.

Do you think you were always destined to be a Maccabi leader?

Yes. I have always loved sport. My parents were Holocaust survivors and my Jewish Identity has always been a strong part of who I am. My Dad taught me the value of commitment and hard work and my mother always told me to follow my heart. Maccabi has always been a great fit with these two themes running deeply in everything I have done throughout my 43 years involved.

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