Thursday, May 31, 2012

The First Maccabiah

Every four years since 1932, thousands of Jewish and Israeli athletes from 65 countries have gathered in Israel to participate in the Maccabiah Games.

This year, an especially festive celebration will mark 80 years since the first games were held. The opening ceremony will take place on July 17, and the games will run from July 18 through July 30.

The Maccabiah is the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition, emphasizing the centrality of the State of Israel in the life of the Jewish people. "The Jewish Olympics" as they are often called, are the Maccabi World Union's largest and most famous enterprise.

Within the Maccabiah there are four separate competitions that take place; Open, Junior, Masters, and Paralympics. Junior games are open to any qualifying athlete aged 15-18. Masters are divided into a number of different age categories mostly to accommodate older competitors and the Open division is generally unlimited in age, subject to the governing international rules in each sport, and is intended for the best athletes from each delegation. In order to participate in the Maccabiah, athletes must represent a delegation. Delegations are formed by each of the Territorial Organizations that participate, i.e. France, Brazil, Germany, United States, Canada, Hungary, Australia, etc.

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