Another Opening Another Games

August 10, 2015 by J-Wire
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An Australian Maccabi team is currently in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where the participated in the opening ceremony of the JCC Maccabi Games and Artfest.

Head of delegation Michelle Israel reports:

The Aussie team

The Aussie team

“We have been privileged this evening to see another opening ceremony…and whilst longer in duration…saw emotion, fun, music and community expressed in such a way as to lave us speechless!

Held at the BB & T arena, which is home to the Florida Panthers (Hockey!), this evening saw a gathering of 10 000 people between athletes, management and spectators all there for a singular purpose…the opening of the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest

The parade of athletes saw Americans lead us out, followed by the internationals…Aussies first of course!!!!! It is always difficult, you hear the roar of the crowd, but can not hear what is being said…this evening we came down the stairs too busy watching where we were going to look up and wave 🙂

The loudest cheer was reserved for the Israeli’s and of course the local Fort Lauderdale delegation of about 280…

We were treated to some professional dancers, mascots and music. We remembered 3 very special members of the Fort Lauderdale community who had lost their own battles and were unable to be there with us, one of them was Amy Beth Rosenberg, who was instrumental in my early years at the JCC Maccabi Games…her sister is in fact one of the coach’s this year…Amy was taken from us too early in life, but most certainly left her mark on the JCC community and all those who have since participated in the games.

Aussies marching

Aussies marching

The tribute to the Munich 11, was again poignant, no matter how many times you hear it or see it…this evening we were then privileged to hear Fred Berger speak. Fred’s brother David was one of the 11 Israeli’s who lost their lives in Munich 1972. Fred told us a little about David growing up and how he made aliyah to Israel, ostensibly because he had a better chance of competing in the Olympics for Israel rather than the USA (he did not make the team for the ’68 Olympics)…tragically, David (2 days after competing), died…hearing this from his brother was very moving…I thank the Fort Lauderdale community for providing all of us with this opportunity. Fred finished by saying that if David was with us today, he would have said to the athletes, ” Find your dream and follow it!”

We had anthems, we had brothers who played the cello and we had special effects that not only regularly scared us, but managed to take the chill off the very air conditioned arena…

Fort Lauderdale itself has interesting weather patterns, there is even a siren system in place for the flash electrical storms that can hit…1 blast means get off the field immediately, 3 short blasts means you can return…we shall see how many times the outdoor sports are disrupted this week.

One of the many great things about these games are the friends you make…I am delighted to see some of you forming bonds that will endure, I myself have been reacquainted with several friends from past games…it really is all about sport bringing us together…

Day 1 of competition begins in a few hours…the humidity will be a big impact, we shall see how day 1 goes…”


One Response to “Another Opening Another Games”
  1. barry smorgon says:

    On behalf of Maccabi Australia , I wish the team all the best for the Games.
    wear the uniform with pride, in that you are representing your Community , & country.
    good luck.
    Barry Smorgon
    President Maccabi Australia

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