Aly Raisman Leads Parade of 9,000 Athletes at 19th Maccabiah Games

Golden Girl Spotlights Opening Day at 'Jewish Olympics'

Let ‘Em Begin: Hundreds of performers showed their stuff at the opening ceremony of the Maccabiah Games
getty images
Let ‘Em Begin: Hundreds of performers showed their stuff at the opening ceremony of the Maccabiah Games

By JTA

Published July 18, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

U.S. Olympian Aly Raisman lit the torch at the opening ceremony of the 19th Maccabiah Games, which features a record number of nearly 9,000 athletes.

Thursday night’s ceremony at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem featured pyrotechnics and performances with hundreds of dancers and popular Israeli singers, as well as electric violinist Miri Ben-Ari. American “X Factor” runner-up Carly Rose Sonenclar sang “Hallelujah” joined by many in the crowd of 30,000.

“After winning medals and winning achievement, go tour Israel. This is your country,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a welcoming speech that alternated between English and Hebrew. “I’ll tell you the truth. I hope you and your families decide after this visit to come and live here.”

Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres rose and applauded as Israel’s blue-and-white-clad delegation of 2,270 athletes entered the stadium. The 1,100-member U.S. contingent wore red, white and blue sweatsuits with white baseball caps.

President Obama greeted the athletes via video, referencing the “unshakeable bond” between Israel and the United States.

Athletes from a record 78 countries will participate in 42 sports, as well as Paralympic events. Some 150 athletes who participated in the recent Olympic Games will be competing in the Maccabiah, the quadrennial event known as the Jewish Olympics.

Former Israeli Olympians carried a large Israeli flag into the stadium, each accompanied by a participant in the special-needs events.

Amitzur Shapira, an Israeli athlete at the Munich Olympics, recited the Yizkor prayer of mourning in memory of the nine members of the Israeli delegation who were killed in the 1972 Summer Olympics and the four Australian athletes killed in the the 1997 Maccabiah bridge disaster.

Paralympics tennis gold medalist Noam Gershony, four-time windsurfing world championship winner Lee Korzits, former Israel national soccer team goalkeeper Nir Davidovich and Israeli judoka Arik Ze’evi carried the Maccabiah torch into the stadium. They passed it to Raisman, an Olympic gold medalist, who lit the Maccabiah flame.

Earlier in the day, Peres at a meeting in his Jerusalem office implored New York Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire, a coach for the Canadian Maccabiah basketball team, “to join the Israeli National Team and be a part of our country.”

Stoudemire, a one-time all-star, met with Peres to present the educational project he has launched to promote in Israel — learning science through sports.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.