It’s been almost a week since the closing ceremonies of the Maccabiah, the international olympiad held in Israel for athletes of the Jewish faith. But don’t fret; if we can cover the CFL here, we can certainly do a half-assed recap of the Jewish Olympics:
The Maccabiah Games, which began in 1932, are intended not only to encourage athletic excellence, but also to foster a sense of Jewish belonging and pride among the participants.
So alongside running hurdles, swimming relays and cycling in the Negev, the 8,000 athletes who gathered in Israel for the 18th Games from nearly 60 countries also toured the country and visited historically meaningful sites such as the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Masada. They even took part in mass bar and bat mitzvah ceremonies— some have never had one, others simply wanted to join along. via.
Perhaps the most notable athlete at the Maccabiah was Jason Lezak, the 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer who missed the World Championships in Rome to make the trip to Israel. He participated in the swimming and was then nagged by a cadre of Jewish mothers to find out when he was going to get married.