Maccabiah torch on the bridge climb
When Tom York attended the eighth Maccabiah in 1969 with Barry Smorgon, could either of them have imagined a friendship spanning four decades, that would see them top of the iconic Sydney Harbour House on a crisp, pristine Sydney day, waving the Maccabiah torch in a message to be beamed back to friends in Israel and across the Maccabi world?
“It was a magical moment when we got to the top,” said Head of Delegation, Tom York, who was joined by Maccabi Australia Inc President Smorgon, as well as junior athletes Aaron Klimt (football) and Mia Futeran (netball) for pictures outside the Opera House.
It was the highlight of a fabulous two-week tour of Sydney for the torch, which is in Australia to not just raise the profile and create hype for the Games in our community, but to beam back iconic shots back to Israel, for them to see our excitement as we count down to our departure in late June.
The torch has been busy in Sydney, before it heads off for a swim and beach run with our swimmers at a camp in Noosa, before moving on to visit the Jewish schools in Melbourne and Perth.
In Sydney, it was unveiled at Maccabi NSW’s awards night, shone brightly at the Maccabiah leadership seminar in Wollongong, before very special appearances at the Emanuel School, Moriah College and Mt Sinai. Given Mt Sinai is only a primary school, none of their students were attending, but the torch’s appearance was certainly inspirational – especially because 10 alumni returned to the school to tell the students about their upcoming adventures to Israel.
“They were treated like rock stars,” Tom beamed.
“I encouraged current year 6 students to train and be ready for 2021 Maccabiah games. They took photos with the torch and the graduates.
“It really was a very special event.”
The torch was first lit during Chanukah in December last year in Ancient Modi’in, the spiritual home of the Maccabi movement. Just like the Olympic torch, the torch will travel around many countries.
Speaking to students at Sydney’s Jewish Day Schools, York told them: “These athletes have been through a process of trials and over the next weeks will train and go through final preparations so they can represent Australia with pride, competing against the best from all over the world.
“You will be a member of the largest ever-Australian delegation consisting of 580 Athletes and officials. You will be joined by athletes from 80 countries.
“Your efforts and dedication will be rewarded when you March into Teddy Stadium in the beautiful capital city of Israel, Jerusalem as part of the Australian Maccabi Team.
“It will be a moment you will remember forever.
“You will live your sporting dreams in Israel and inspire the next generation who may just be sitting near you right now.”