DAN SHULMAN 150.
(photo credit: David Silverman)
This week’s Maccabiah rugby match between Israel and Chile that determined which
of the two would qualify for the semifinal was accompanied had everything it
needed: a supportive crowd, music and a great atmosphere.
In the end,
Israel won 49-16, but the Chileans have nothing to be ashamed of. The team in
red played a great game and showed a lot of guts throughout the Maccabiah’s
rugby tournament, and they will return home proud of their performance in
At the end of the match, the players were congratulated by
90-year-old Louis Aharon, who made aliya from Chile in 1960.
the players for their great efforts and the heart they showed in each and every
Aharon, who currently resides in Moshav Mazor, was a member of
Chile’s national team for 10 years.
“They are the children and
grandchildren of my teammates...
I told them to think about staying in
Two of the Chilean Rugby team founders are Nicolas Cassorala
(33) and Anders Rosenkranz (29).
Explaining how the Maccabiah team was
formed, Rosenkranz said: “In 2003, Chile was supposed to host the Latin America
Maccabiah Games, so we formed a rugby team but in the end the rugby tournament
was cancelled. It’s always been our dream to be here in Israel and the first
time we got here we didn’t know what to expect and what level of play would be.
But with our new coach, we believed we could play against any
Rosenkranz said it is very important for him to play in
“When I visit Israel, I feel at home. If I go to Argentina I feel
like a tourist, but here it’s different and we feel welcome.”
Cassorala’s fourth visit to Israel and he enjoys it every time. “Being a Jew in
a Jewish state feels like coming to my second home,” he proudly exclaimed.
Cassorala is the oldest member of the team and is very proud of the Chilean team
in the Maccabiah.
“I’m really proud of the great effort our team gave, I
thank the Maccabiah for this opportunity to participate and I have no doubt I
will attend the games in the future,” he said.
Cassorala noted that
despite the fact that he’s not considering aliya at the moment, he is very well
aware of his role as a Jew in Chile.
“Jews in the diaspora have a very
important role of preserving Hebrew and continue the relationship between Israel
and the rest of the world.”