European Maccabi Confederation Newsletter: December 2015



Chaverim Maccabim,


2015 was a year in the European Maccabi Confederation that again brought us from strength to strength. We had sports events running, we continued the development of the young leadership in our FLF programs, and the year was highlighted by the 14th European Maccabi Games in Berlin.

We are very grateful for the confidence that we got to continue our path of activities in the Jewish community in Europe, even though as you can read in the President's message, we are going through maybe the most difficult times in Europe since WW2. We cannot close our eyes to the threats that the Jewish Community in Europe is experiencing every day. The year started with the tragic murderous attacks on our brothers and sisters in Paris and in Copenhagen, and the year ends with the horrifying massacre in Paris, which endangers human rights, freedom and democracy. Again we have to be reminded that living in a free Europe and observing Judaism is not obvious. We have to be alert and defend our rights wherever we can.  We stand in solidarity with the tragic incidents that occur in Israel; European Jewry always shares the pain of our brothers and sisters in Israel.  The holiday of the Maccabim reminds us every year of the struggle of Yehuda Ha Maccabi for the freedom of Jewish religion and it repeats itself in every generation.  


The EMC Executive wishes you happy Chanukah, Hag Maccabim sameach!

Maccabi Chai, Am Israel Chai!


Dear Chaverim,


The festival of Chanukah is approaching. I would like to repeat what I said in my message last year: In my home up north in Finland this time of the year is filled with darkness and thus we are perhaps even more enthusiastically than others waiting to light the Chanukah candles! 

Unfortunately, since the beginning of October there has been an ongoing wave of terror stabbing attacks killing several innocent civilian Jews and injuring many more. Why is the world silent, why is the western media ignoring these outrageous atrocities taking place. Why do we not hear any condemnation from leaders of the free world? The Palestinian leaders are inciting with lies and encouraging their people to go on and escalate these barbaric acts!

I urge all our Maccabi members and friends to do what we can to wake up the leaders and the media in our respective countries, Israel and the people of Israel need all possible support in these difficult times.

To all our friends and family in Israel I say: "You are in our thoughts all the time and we send you our warmest sympathy and assurance of eternal support and solidarity" !

In July 2015 we had the European Maccabi Games in Berlin, Germany. Once again I want to send words of gratitude to the EMC and to Makkabi Germany for these very well organized Games. The Importance and symbolic value of Jewish athletes competing at the Olympic Park in Berlin was enormous.

In December we will go to the Pan-American Maccabi Games in Santiago, Chile. I have learned that preparation there are very well underway and I wish the Organizing Committee in Santiago lots of success in these Games.

Just before Hanukkah I have the privilege to participate in the 90th Anniversary celebrations of Maccabi Australia. On behalf of MWU I want to congratulate Maccabi Australia for the great job you are doing "Downunder", we wish you lots of continuous success!

I send my warmest greetings (from the cold north..)  to all Maccabi leaders  and members in our territorial Organizations and Confederations and I thank you all for carrying the Maccabi torch and spreading the Maccabi message of light !


Chag Chanukah Sameach

Chazak Veamatz


Leo-Dan Bensky

President, Maccabi World Union



The Congress was attended by 50 delegates and observers from 21 countries, and in parallel we had the FLF seminar with 50 young people from 18 countries, 12 of them new recruitment.

Motti Tichauer was re-elected as Chairman for the next 4 years. There are two new young Executive members - Hon.Sports Director, Angelo Della Rocca from Italy, and Hon.Secretary, Beata Bartosova from Czech Republic, who now lives in Brussels.The following members, who served on the previous Executive, continue to the next term - Vice Chairwoman, Claudia De Benedetti from Italy, Hon.Treasurer, Jean-Marc Krief from France and Hon. Education Director, Robert Cohen from GB. Stuart Lustigman stepped down from his position as the EMC President, and was nominated Life President. Stuart Greenberg was nominated President.

The Congress was organized very well and was one of the best we ever had. We thank the MWU leaders for attending the Congress - the Chairman Yair Hamburger, the President Leo Dan Bensky, the Chairman of the 20th Maccabiah Amir Peled, and the Deputy Director General Rabbi Carlos Tapiero. It was also good to have Ilana and Bentzi Ben-Namer with us.

The Opening evening took place in the beautiful Menorah Hall of the Jewish Community building. There were welcome speeches by MWU Chairman Yair Hamburger; Israel's Ambassador Ilan Mor; the Chairman of the Hungarian Jewish Community Andras Heisler, and a member of the European Parliament Tamas Deutsch.

The FLF Seminar was the biggest closed FLF event (not including the event in London 2014, which was an open event). The participants attended the following sessions: Leadership by Rabbi Carlos Tapiero; Hasbara and Israel by Peter Grauer, Son of Saul producers, and they also joined the sessions of the Congress on Sunday. The theme of the seminar was: Connect - connect to your head of T.O., connect between FLF members, connect to the pan European level.

On Friday morning we had the opportunity to enjoy the famous Gellert baths of Budapest and to tour the Citadella. After which we continued to the Israeli Cultural Center, where an exhibition was held on Jewish athletes; we also heard a very good lecture about anti-Semitism in sport in Hungary from Professor Gabor Balazs.

Shabbat service was in the Great Synagogue of Budapest, which was opened especially for the Congress participants, and we got a special blessing from the Rabbi.

We had a very festive Kabalat Shabbat with Rabbi Carlos Tapiero and Shabbat dinner in the beautiful Vigado building. After dinner we heard about the terrorist attacks in Paris.

On Saturday morning we had service in the synagogue, and a tour of Jewish sites of Budapest.

The Gala event on Saturday night was attended by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary. We held a minute of silence in memory of victims of attacks in Paris. After speeches and presentations, we enjoyed the lovely performance of Eszter, Adam Jusztin's wife, who is a wonderful and well known singer in Hungary.

On Sunday we saw the presentation of the two candidates to host the 15th European Maccabi Games in 2019 - Maccabi Switzerland and Maccabi VAC Hungary, secret elections were held by the delegates and Budapest was chosen, as the host of the EMG2019.

We ended the Congress with a very moving commemoration ceremony at the Shoes on the Danube memorial on the Danube, which was followed by a visit to the Hungarian Parliament.

Maccabi VAC Hungary under Adam Jusztin's leadership had made a great progress, and we are sure that with all the support of the Jewish Community and the Hungarian Government, we will organize great Games.


Despite the ongoing troubles in Israel, the 2015 tour included 47 bowlers and 19 supporters who played matches in all 6 of Israel's bowls clubs in Ramat Gan, Ra'anana, Kiryat Ono, Savyon, Netanya and Haifa.  They were also guests at Ben Gurion University in Beersheba, the Israel Tennis Centre in Jaffa that works with disadvantaged Israeli and Arab children, an IDF Fire Fighting Base and Emunah's Sarah Herzog Children's Centre in Afula where the children entertained the group with a specially prepared show.

There was something for everyone with belly dancing and cookery workshops for the non-bowlers as well as a bridge tournament.   The group also enjoyed Saturday night at a karaoke restaurant.  Special tour awards were presented to Angela Feuer, David Jessener, Laurence Pinkus, Ruth Harris and David Stockman for their contribution towards the success of the tour.  

Stuart Lustigman, a Maccabi GB Vice-President, who first initiated the bowls tours in 2011 said, "I can't believe that since our first visit in 2011, some 275 people have participated in these tours.  I am particularly proud of this group as not one person withdrew from the tour because of the current problems. Although this was probably our most successful tour in terms of results, we were just delighted to demonstrate our support for the Jewish State." 




WHEN: March 17-19, 2016


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GAMES  March 17 (AFTERNOON), March 18 until 5:00pm                                                          Bowling tournament - March 17 8:00pm




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REGISTRATION FEE incl. Accomodation March 17 -19, full board and social events /excl. Purim party ticket/ Participation fee 255 EUR - including lodging in double bed room for 2 nights.

Accompanying person fee 170 EUR including lodging in double bed  room  for 2 nights.


Additional payment for single room 17./19.11./ 2 nights - 42 eur

Price for additional night in single room incl. breakfest - 55 eur/night

Price for additional night double room incl. breakfest - 68 eur/room/night/2 pers.


Contact: Dagmar Gavornikova - gavornikova.dagmar@gmail.com



Sunday 1st November 2015 Maccabi GB held the latest Jewish Walking Tour Of London, which had a unique twist as it delved into the fascinating, enthralling, mysterious and, in some cases, seedy underbelly, of Jewish life in East London.

The 20-person, sold-out group - who were predominantly from North West London - met outside Shadwell Green Station, met with their official tour guides and began their exploration into the history of the Jewish Community in the area.

Amongst the sites, participants learnt about the lives of famous Jewish people who lived and worked in the area (including the life of Hannah Billig, also known as 'The Angel of Cable Street'; Boris Bennet, one of the first 'Photographers to the Stars'; and Isaac Rosenberg the infamous WWI poet) and visited a number of significant sites such as the Poor Jews Shelter, the Bernhard Baron Settlement, Fieldgate Street Synagogue, Grodzinski's, Adler Street and the Jewish Press.

The group also explored the darker side of Jewish London in the East End by listening to stories of famous Jewish boxers and their links to the criminal underworld and even hearing about the Jack the Ripper murders and the alleged Jewish connection to them.

Attendees finished off the Tour by visiting the Wilton's Music Hall, Whitechapel Bell Foundry, famous Whitechapel Art Gallery ant the Altab Ali Park.

Maccabi GB Event coordinator, Janice Aarons, spoke about the success of the MGB Jewish Walking Tour, "I am thrilled by the success of another Maccabi GB Jewish Walking Tour. Every one has been fully booked and we have been able to feature a number of different topics in varying locations across London. They are becoming a true staple of MGB's Sport, Health & Wellbeing Programme and have allowed us to provide a unique way for members of our Community to get some exercise whilst learning about Jewish history and culture". 



On the eve of Rosh ha Shana on Sunday September 13, 2015 the Israeli Cultural and Information Center of the Embassy of Israel in Minsk hosted a meeting with Maccabi Belarus Delegation to the European Maccabi Games 2015 in Berlin. The Dream Team of Maccabi Belarus won at the Games 14 gold and 2 silver medals in swimming, badminton, and chess. The Hon.President of Maccabi Belarus Arkadi Falevich and the Director of the Center Ray Keinan congratulated the athletes with the fantastic achievements. The athletes received  gifts, and Arkadi Falevich awarded the Center with a t-shirt of the delegation to the Games.



In August 2015 a group of Maccabi Russia members headed by the Sports Director of Maccabi St. Petersburg Leonid Gutman climbed the Kazbek Mount.



September 17, 2015 at the Grand Choral Synagogue of St. Petersburg took place an opening ceremony of a small synagogue and presentation of the annual honorary "Arevim" (analogue of the award "Person of the Year" in the Jewish community). Vadim Polyansky, Chairman of Maccabi Russia was awarded with the annual award.



The Jewish community and local Maccabi activists held several chess tournaments in August 2015 on the eve of the championship of Russia. 

October 30, 2015 Chess master class in Aksha region, Trans-Baikal Territory.



Local organizations of Maccabi Ukraine celebrated the Jewish holidays in a number of sports and educational activities.

September 20, 2015 Odessa hosted the Maccabi Ukraine Futsal Cup. The competition was attended by teams of Jewish communities and organizations of Odessa - FC "Maccabi Odessa", "Tikva", "Hillel", "Beitar", "Emanuel" and "MACCABI Masters."

The organizer of the competition - Maccabi Odessa  thanks the Israeli Cultural Center, the "Emanuel" community and Hillel Sports Park for their support. JAFI branch in Odessa also helped in organizing and conducting of the tournament.

The Football team of the Jewish community of Mariupol, led by coach Boris Dansker, has won the "silver" in the city intercommunal championship. The Football team that has a proud name "Maccabi" has participated previously in such competitions, but only this season they have managed to climb to the second place in the standings.

The leader of the Jewish youth of Mariupol Alice Rostovtseva: "We loudly supported our team, experiencing every moment of every game. We were extremely happy when honors were awarded to the captain of our team Oleg Pliner."

Participants of sports tournaments took an active part in the celebrations of their communities.



An important place in the activities of Maccabi Ukraine is given to work with children. The project "Judaism through sports", which is supported by MWU and JHF, also contributes to this.

Maccabi Kherson held in September 2015 a "Health Day" for school students in Kherson.

The idea of "Health Day" for children and especially for school students is very crucial and has a great preventive and educational value.

"Health Day" is a fun event, which is not only about good mood and sports, but also educational games on Jewish topics.

All the events of this day were aimed at encouraging students of all ages to care about their health, according to the ideals of Maccabi, under the slogan - "A healthy mind in a healthy body."

"This day will be remembered, not only because of sports scores. It was an interesting day of friendship, good mood and good health" - said one of its organizers, Irina Gladkaya. "In the context of today's realities a Health Day is a very relevant event. Ecology, fashion and bad habits interfere with the maintenance of good health. Our task is helping the children understand that health, along with education and culture is the domain that they want to develop, maintain and cherish throughout their lives."



As part of the Youth Forum of Jewish Women "Communication without Borders", which took place in early October in Kiev, Maccabi Ukraine, together with the participants of the project "Kesher" held a seminar for young Jewish women leaders on the theme "Judaism through sport".

The participants were happy to meet Maria Bogorad from Kiev, who was a champion of 13th and 14th European Maccabi Games. Maria told the audience about the history and activities of Maccabi, shared with the participants the secrets of success, spoke about her experience, as a participant of the Maccabiah and the EMG. She also held a master class for participants of the Forum with great success.

The participants representing practically all regions of Ukraine, as well as guests from Georgia, Belarus and Israel highlighted the possibility of using the interest in physical culture and sports among children and young people and other age groups to involve them in active learning of Hebrew, Jewish tradition and culture, which are a mandatory part of all the activities carried out by Maccabi.

A very important point of the meeting was a general desire to develop Jewish communities, improve the quality of life of their members and cherish centuries-old Jewish traditions.



Maccabi Zaporozhye regional organization is actively working under the direction of Victoria Dyakova. The work takes place in close contact and cooperation with the local sports organizations, as a result of which the life of the Jewish community of the region became more rich and diverse. The activities attract children and other members of the community, regardless of age.

On these autumn days, the children's group of Maccabi Melitopol took part in the event, with great success presenting sports and dance number.

Julia Kavrina, an athlete from Zaporozhje, member of Maccabi, mother of three children, a young grandmother, took part in the bike ride for women around the city. The event was attended by women of different ages. In particular, the youngest among them - about 2 years old.

The activists of Maccabi introduced the participants of the urban activities to goals, objectives and contents of the Club, which contributed to a better mutual understanding and friendship between representatives of different nationalities living in the Zaporozhje region.



Maccabi clubs in Zaporozhye and Kherson are very active in their regional communities. Through this collaboration, the lives of the Jewish communities became more rich and diverse. The activities of the clubs attract everybody, regardless of age.

October 18 local Maccabi clubs presented their programs in the Jewish communities under the slogan "Judaism through sports". A film about the history and prospects of the Maccabi Movement was shown in the Zaporozhje Jewish community "Yahad".

The Head of Maccabi club Victoria Dyakova spoke about the planned sporting and cultural activities in the community.

In the Jewish community center "Hesed Shmuel" in the city of Kherson, a seminar was held for the Sunday school students and their parents, on the theme "The role of the Maccabi Movement in involving children and youth in the Jewish life". The Director of community-based programs Irina Gladkaya and the Chairman of the regional Jewish community, Alexander Weiner spoke about the programs.

All the speakers noted the importance of Mini-Maccabiah events - community sports events in conjunction with workshops in attracting athletes to the ideals of Judaism and Zionism.



November 8, 2015 in Odessa a table tennis tournament was held, organized by Maccabi Odessa in conjunction with the Jewish youth club "Platinum" that has hosted the tournament on its premises. As always, the Israeli Cultural Center of the Embassy of Israel in Ukraine supported the tournament.

The competition was attended by over 20 representatives of Jewish organizations and communities of Odessa.

The winners of the tournament won the right to participate in the annual traditional international table tennis tournament, which will be held in Kharkov during the celebration of Chanukah.

The participants discussed the prospects of the Club, made their proposals on its revitalization. With great interest the lecture was received about the history of the Maccabi Movement and its role in promoting the ideas of Zionism.

Alex Bromfman, President of Maccabi Odessa



Activists of Maccabi Zaporozhye took an active part in the Shabbaton events of the Jewish community of Melitopol. The program of events under the slogan "The future is in our hands" has attracted the interest of all participants and was a great success.

Victoria Dyakova, Head of Maccabi Zaporozhye, greeted the audience: "Sport is the key to beauty, health, and lasting vitality. Just a few minutes a day dedicated to the development of one's physical training, will help make life more beautiful."

The program, prepared by the Club, included lectures about Maccabi Movement, its history and famous leaders. It also included practical workshops: the participants of the program held demonstration sessions, which included a warm-up and cross-country. Then there was a dance flash mob.

The participants can apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the program in their daily work, and this, in turn, will help to improve the quality of life of members of the Jewish community and attach them to the ideals of Judaism.


European Maccabi Confederation 

 Promoting Jewish Activity in Europe



European Maccabi Confederation Newsletter: December 2015
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