Maccabiah Bridge Memorial

July 12, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
Read on for article
More than 400 members of the Australian delegation to the 18th Maccabiah in Israel crossed the still poisoned waters of the Yarkon river to attend a memorial service in honour of the four athletes who lost their lives in 1997.
As the line, headed by Australia’s ambassador to Israel, James Larson and NSW State Member of Parliament Peter Debnam, solemnly marched across the permanent bridge eight abreast, Israeli girl guides and scouts stood by the sides handing each athlete a single flower.
That flower was gently laid at the foot of the memorial to Elizabeth Sawicki, Yetti Bennett, Greg Small and Warren Zines alongside a wreath bearing the words “from the Government and people of Australia” laid by the ambassador.
An Australian United Israel Appeal Study Mission joined the athletes in watching Greg Small’s wife Suzanne and her children Greg and Rebecca cling together in front of the black monument now draped with the Australian flag.
As the melancholy tones of a flute wafted through the searing heat, the Smalls took their place in the front row to listen to speeches and prayers and Kaddish followed from various dignitaries including the Ambassador and the President of Maccabi Australia, Harry Procel. Ambassador Larsen said: “If there is a lesson from this tragedy surely it’s the willingness of those Australians who were involved to come together and to remember those who unnecessarily died or were injured and to show a willingness to change the future.
Maccabiah Management member, Michelle Tremigliozzi, representing her brother-in-law whose mother, Elizabeth Sawicki died in the 1997 tragedy was next to speak followed by Tom Goldman, the Head of Delegation. Goldman said: “We will never forget the passing of Greg, Yetti, Elizabeth and Warren. We continue to honour their memory by participating in the Maccabiah here in Israel, which is a true celebration of Jewish life”
As eyes welled with tears, the emotional service was next to hear from Josh Small, the 19-yr-old son of  victim Greg and wearing his father’s team shirt from 1997…in Israel with his mother Suzanne and sister Rebecca. Greg will compete in his late father’s sport Ten Pin Bowling.
Josh’s speech is reproduced here in full:
TWELVE YEARS AGO…AT THIS PLACE, FATE DEALT OUR FAMILY THE CRUELEST OF LIFE’S BLOWS.
MY BELOVED DAD, GREG SMALL, LOST HIS LIFE IN THIS PLACE.
MY DAD HAD COME HERE TO TAKE TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL WITHIN JEWISH SPORT HIS PASSION FOR TEN PIN BOWLING.
LOVED AND RESPECTED AS A HUMAN BEING AS WELL AS A HIGHLY TALENTED BOWLER BY ALL WHO KNEW HIM, DAD WAS BURSTING WITH PRIDE AND ENTHUSIASM AT HAVING BEEN SELECTED FOR THE AUSTRALIAN DELEGATION TO THE 15TH MACCABIAH IN 1997.
HE HAD PRACTICED AND TRAINED HARD AND WAS READY TO TAKE ON THE JEWISH WORLD’S BEST BOWLERS HERE IN ISRAEL.
THE TEN PIN BOWLING COMPETITION STARTED ON THE DAY BEFORE THE OPENING CEREMONY SO HE CERTAINLY GOT TO REALISE HIS DREAM OF COMPETING IN 1997…BUT HIS COMPETITION WAS TO BE TRAGICALLY CUT SHORT.
A FEW WORDS TO MY BELOVED FATHER
DAD
IT IS NOW 2009 AND YOUR SEVEN-YEAR-OLD SON IS NOW 19.
WE ARE FAST APPROACHING THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 18TH MACCABIAH.
I AM HERE…IN THIS PLACE…AT THIS TIME…AND I WILL FINISH OFF WHAT YOU STARTED ALL THOSE YEARS AGO…AND I WILL DO MY BEST TO WIN YOUR PRIDE…AND MAYBE A MEDAL…FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT NOT EVEN A TRAGEDY OF MONSTER PROPORTIONS CAN BREAK THE BOND THAT WILL FOREVER EXIST BETWEEN US.
YOU MAY HAVE BEEN SMALL BY NAME…BUT YOU REMAIN A GIANT IN STATURE.
I AM GRATEFUL TO ALL OF YOU HERE TODAY FOR GIVING OF YOUR TIME AND YOUR THOUGHTS AT THIS MEMORIAL WHICH ENSURES THAT MY DAD’S MEMORY ALONE  WITH THAT OF ELIZABETH, WARREN AND YETTI REMAINS ETERNAL…
The crowd stood silently as the Small family clutched each other and slowly dispersed as the service drew to its close.

More than 400 members of the Australian delegation to the 18th Maccabiah in Israel crossed the still poisoned waters of the Yarkon river to attend a memorial service in honour of the four athletes who lost their lives in 1997.

[singlepic id=115 w=320 h=240 float=left]As the line, headed by Australia’s ambassador to Israel, James Larsen and NSW State Member of Parliament Peter Debnam, solemnly marched across the permanent bridge eight abreast, Israeli girl guides and scouts stood by the sides handing each athlete a single flower.

That flower was gently laid at the foot of the memorial to Elizabeth Sawicki, Yetti Bennett, Greg Small and Warren Zines alongside a wreath bearing the words “from the Government and people of Australia” laid by the ambassador.

An Australian United Israel Appeal Study Mission joined the athletes in watching Greg Small’s wife Suzanne and her children Josh and Rebecca cling together in front of the black monument now draped with the Australian flag.

As the melancholy tones of a flute wafted through the searing heat, the Smalls took their place in the front row to listen to speeches and prayers and Kaddish followed from various dignitaries including the Ambassador and the President of Maccabi Australia, Harry Procel. Ambassador Larsen said: “If there is a lesson from this tragedy surely it’s the willingness of those Australians who were involved to come together and to remember those who unnecessarily died or were injured and to show a willingness to change the future.

Maccabiah Management member, Michelle Tremigliozzi, representing her brother-in-law whose mother, Elizabeth Sawicki died in the 1997 tragedy was next to speak followed by Tom Goldman, the Head of Delegation. Goldman said: “We will never forget the passing of Greg, Yetti, Elizabeth and Warren. We continue to honour their memory by participating in the Maccabiah here in Israel, which is a true celebration of Jewish life”

As eyes welled with tears, the emotional service was next to hear from Josh Small, the 19-yr-old son of victim Greg, wearing his father’s team shirt from1997.  Josh is in Israel with his mother Suzanne and sister Rebecca and will compete in his late father’s sport, Ten Pin Bowling.

Josh’s speech is reproduced here in full:

TWELVE YEARS AGO…AT THIS PLACE, FATE DEALT OUR FAMILY THE CRUELEST OF LIFE’S BLOWS.

MY BELOVED DAD, GREG SMALL, LOST HIS LIFE IN THIS PLACE.

MY DAD HAD COME HERE TO TAKE TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL WITHIN JEWISH SPORT HIS PASSION FOR TEN PIN BOWLING.

LOVED AND RESPECTED AS A HUMAN BEING AS WELL AS A HIGHLY TALENTED BOWLER BY ALL WHO KNEW HIM, DAD WAS BURSTING WITH PRIDE AND ENTHUSIASM AT HAVING BEEN SELECTED FOR THE AUSTRALIAN DELEGATION TO THE 15TH MACCABIAH IN 1997.

HE HAD PRACTICED AND TRAINED HARD AND WAS READY TO TAKE ON THE JEWISH WORLD’S BEST BOWLERS HERE IN ISRAEL.

THE TEN PIN BOWLING COMPETITION STARTED ON THE DAY BEFORE THE OPENING CEREMONY SO HE CERTAINLY GOT TO REALISE HIS DREAM OF COMPETING IN 1997…BUT HIS COMPETITION WAS TO BE TRAGICALLY CUT SHORT.

A FEW WORDS TO MY BELOVED FATHER

DAD

IT IS NOW 2009 AND YOUR SEVEN-YEAR-OLD SON IS NOW 19.

WE ARE FAST APPROACHING THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 18TH MACCABIAH.

I AM HERE…IN THIS PLACE…AT THIS TIME…AND I WILL FINISH OFF WHAT YOU STARTED ALL THOSE YEARS AGO…AND I WILL DO MY BEST TO WIN YOUR PRIDE…AND MAYBE A MEDAL…FURTHER EVIDENCE THAT NOT EVEN A TRAGEDY OF MONSTER PROPORTIONS CAN BREAK THE BOND THAT WILL FOREVER EXIST BETWEEN US.

YOU MAY HAVE BEEN SMALL BY NAME…BUT YOU REMAIN A GIANT IN STATURE.

I AM GRATEFUL TO ALL OF YOU HERE TODAY FOR GIVING OF YOUR TIME AND YOUR THOUGHTS AT THIS MEMORIAL WHICH ENSURES THAT MY DAD’S MEMORY ALONE  WITH THAT OF ELIZABETH, WARREN AND YETTI REMAINS ETERNAL…

The crowd stood silently as the Small family clutched each other and slowly dispersed as the service drew to its close.

[nggallery id=12]

Speak Your Mind

Comments received without a full name will not be considered
Email addresses are NEVER published! All comments are moderated. J-Wire will publish considered comments by people who provide a real name and email address. Comments that are abusive, rude, defamatory or which contain offensive language will not be published

    Rules on posting comments