The JCC Maccabi Games, the young people’s Jewish Olympics, have started in the state of New York. The Games are a chance for aspiring athletes, hopeful Olympians of the future, to come together and compete. But it is also an opportunity to share the common shared identity of being Jewish. More than 1500 teenagers from around the world take part in these international games. They are encouraged to remember their Jewish roots and think about their heritage. Rachmanus or compassion is a defining value of the Games, and Judaism as a whole. Athletes are reminded to show compassion to their opponents, something that’s become a cornerstone of the competition. At this year’s Opening Ceremony, a minute’s silence was held to remember the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
The Israeli sport and culture minister, Limor Livnat, who stood during the opening ceremony at the London 2012 Olympic Games to give a minute’s silence for the 11 Israeli athletes who were killed by Palestinian militants during the Munich 1972 games, is being praised on the streets of Jerusalem. Despite strong backing of the campaign to hold a commemorative minute’s silence for the athletes who were killed, IOC President Jacques Rogge rejected the requests. However, a minute’s silence was held in the athletes’ village earlier in the week.
The Maccabi World Union, the largest Jewish sports organization spanning 5 continents, 450 clubs and over 60 countries, organized this evening, 27th of July, a commemoration in more than 100 Synagogues across the world in remembrance of the 11 Israeli athletes who were killed in the 1972 Munich Olympics. A few hours before the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, the European Synagogue of Brussels participated in this symbolic and significant event for world Jewry. A part of the Jewish community of Brussels took part in this act to pay tribute to the families of the murdered athletes and to the athletes themselves. This year marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most terrible events in history. The European Jewish Parliament and Maccabi Brussels coordinated the Maccabi World Union’s initiative in the European capital. The Jewish community is still shocked by the International Olympic Committee’s reluctance to observe a minute’s silence at the Olympic Games in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes killed in Munich, 40 years ago. Israeli officials even think that since Munich a commemoration should’ve been organized every 4 years. Such events will help people remember one of the darkest days in sports history. But these experiences should not always be organized by Jewish associations themselves. If the international sports authorities encouraged people not to forget these sad moments, it would surely have a considerable impact worldwide. Frédéric Darmuzey, JN1, Brussels.
The widows of two Israeli athletes who were killed during the 1972 Munich Games are calling for a silent protest during the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games. The International Olympic Committee has refused to hold a minute’s silence for the 11 Israeli athletes who were killed in an attack by Palestinian militants 40 years ago, so Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano are asking spectators to stand in silence when the Olympic Committee’s chief speaks during the ceremony. Ankie Spitzer, widow of murdered Israeli fencing coach: “What we do ask is that people who support our idea, when they’re in the stadium and they hear Jacques Rogge giving his speech, that everyone will get up silently, and that will be the tribute fitting to the murder of our loved ones. For us, it will be a victory. For us it will be a huge step forward until we finally get this minute of silence - and we will get it.” Families of the victims launched a campaign in April to pressure the committee into holding the minute of silence, but members of the committee insist the opening ceremony isn’t an appropriate arena to remember the dead. That position now puts the committee at odds with a growing chorus of voices from the international community, including top US leaders, the mayor of London, the German, Canadian, and Australian parliament, and the European Jewish Parliament. The Olympic Committee has held a memorial for the victims in London ahead of the games, but according to families and their …