Have you checked the MAIL?

December 10, 2010 by David Weiner-Maccabi NSW
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Eight Maccabi teenagers will head to Israel in January, with the potential to change the way Maccabi thinks forever.

Danny Hochberg

Maccabi NSW executive member Danny Hochberg is thrilled to reveal that the Maccabi Australia Leadership program (MAIL) will send its first cohort of ‘gap year’ participants to Israel for a six month program, which will be so diverse it will involve “learning about things from anatomy to leadership, from first aid to football skills”.

Maccabi News has featured a number of stories on Maccabi leadership in recent weeks, but this fledgling initiative – which involves participants going to Israel on a structured program before returning to work with Maccabi clubs, junior carnivals and holiday camps for two years – has the potential to integrate the next generation of Maccabi leaders. The teenagers will have unparalleled qualifications when they return, having studied at the Wingate Institute (Israel’s equivalent of the Institute of Sport).

Hochberg (pictured with son Yoni at the 2009 Maccabiah), who comes from a “movement background”, is committed to giving kids an Israel experience. Once combined with his passion for Maccabi, he says “it makes great sense to offer this for kids not part of movements who want to experience Israel, a different lifestyle and do something they really love”.

Maccabi World Union, which does not have a program like this, will be an interested observer, and the program could expand to include New Zealand and South African participants next year.

The program received most interest from New South Wales this time, with one participant from Perth and another from Byron Bay. They will arrive in Jerusalem on January 28, be based at Hadassah Meurin (a youth village in Netanya) and travel the length and breadth of the country, at times alongside AUJS events, so participants’ experience will extend beyond the core program.

The kids will return highly qualified (those focused on football, for example, will return with a UEFA B coaching license).

It will revolutionise Maccabi administration if clubs get on board to facilitate the participants when they return.

This is a program that Danny sees growing year by year, and he was buoyed by the support it received when it teetered on the brink of collapsing earlier this year.

“I went to the community and asked if they could fund the shortfall [in funding] and in one week we could raise $65k, either from individuals or clubs within Maccabi NSW to fund the shortfall,” Hochberg enthused.

“For me, that said that there are a lot of people out there that want this program to succeed.”

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