Maccabi NSW speaks to Maccabiah Head of Delegation Tom Goldman

August 8, 2009 by Odile Faludi - Maccabi NSW
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Talking to Tom Goldman, OAM is a real treat.

with banner bearer and Barry Smorgon [rt]”]tom maccabiah

He has such a fresh voice you would never know he has so many years of experience. At 65 years, Tom has been to a staggering 10 Maccabiahs. This encapsulates his love of sport and his love of Maccabi. His involvement in Maccabi as a volunteer in many different roles has spanned over four decades. As a result of his extensive service and commitment to Maccabi he is now a Life Member of both MAI and Maccabi NSW. He is also a Maccabi Hall of Fame recipient. Tom received an OAM in 2002 for his commitment to the community and sport.

His role as Head of Delegation was his first experience in this challenging and demanding position and was two years in the making. Tom feels very proud and humbled to have had this top job. When I asked Tom can you pick the best Maccabiah his response was simple, “Every Maccabiah is different, every time it is a unique experience but this one particularly brought home terrific results”. At his last count, we brought home 86 medals, 19 Junior, 19 Open, 48 Masters. He does confess, “Those swimmers did exceptionally well. When you have athletes like Jeff Sher, Brian May, Margo Mann (Masters) and Marni Burger (Junior) receiving multiple medals in individual events these are achievements of great proportions. Masters Swimming alone won 29 medals. This I find an incredible result.” Others highs for Tom were of course, the Open Rugby and Netball Open and Junior winning their respective finals as well as Golf and so many racquet sports achieving medals. He was also very touched to receive reports that Aussies were showing acts of kindness and was particularly impressed by the fine sportsmanship which was displayed by John Mann winner of the 60-65 half marathon who assisted another athlete in distress during the competition.

As much as Tom loves Israel, and his passion of the country runs deep, he is an Aussie through and through. He openly says, “My proudest moment was leading the 18th Maccabiah contingent into Ramat Gan’s National Stadium. Roy Vandersluis was leading the way and the excitement was so great. Tom outlines the procession which was: Himself and Harry Procel, President of MAI and Chef de Mission. Then Lisa Borowick, General Manager of the 18th Maccabiah and Jeff Houseman, Mike Aronson and Raie Moss all three being team managers. Then entered Sam Parasol, OAM, and Barry Smorgon, Chairman MAI, who carried the Maccabi Australia Banner. He then goes on to explain, next was Upper management and then the Team. Now you really start to feel Tom’s excitement when he says, “The roar from the stands for the Aussies was electrifying. There has always been a love of the Aussies but honestly, since the Bridge Collapse where we suffered such a great loss, there seems to be even more empathy. It goes without saying, Israelis have always had a close attachment to the Australian people”.

Finally, we spoke about his commitment to Maccabi and his thoughts about recruiting new dedicated volunteers to our organization. For Tom, education is the key on all levels. Tom explains, “We need to market our organization to the wider community and educate our youth on the importance of involvement. Maccabi News should be distributed to all community based organizations and the Jewish News automatically. We also need to provide better quality sport, improve coaching, get people interested and beyond all be professional”. Two other areas Tom is passionate about are we must be keen to train our leaders but also be prepared as leaders to stand down and give others the opportunity to do our roles with a clear succession plan and handover strategy. His parting words were the best advertisement for being a Maccabi volunteer. I asked Tom why are you a Maccabi volunteer? Tom said, “It just makes me feel good”.

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