History of Games: Poland triumphs at first Maccabiah

In the days leading up to the 18th Maccabiah Games The Jerusalem Post takes a look back at the history of the event known as the "Jewish Olympics".

By ARIEL ZIRULNICK
June 22, 2009 06:17
1 minute read.
History of Games: Poland triumphs at first Maccabiah

maccabiah 88. (photo credit: Maccabi World Union)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The first Maccabiah, held in 1932, brought 390 Jewish athletes from around the world to what was then known as Palestine. Participants from 18 countries flocked to the new Maccabiah stadium outside Tel Aviv, which was completed only hours before the opening ceremony. To publicize Maccabiah, a group of young men took a whirlwind trip through Egypt, the Balkans and Central and Northwest Europe, conducting the whole campaign in 11 days. The excitement was contagious - some of the American swimmers jumped off their ship from the US and swam the last mile to shore, unable to wait any longer to set foot in Palestine. People flocked to the Games from all over the country, lining the roadways to watch athlete processions and making and buying forged tickets. The crowds in the stadium regularly exceeded the maximum capacity. Athletes were housed all over Tel Aviv and surrounding towns - in private homes, tents and sometimes even classrooms. Organizers scrambled to provide adequate facilities for all the events and the swimming events were held in the ocean because the country lacked a competition-standard swimming pool at the time. The Polish delegation was the overall winner of the 1932 Maccabiah, with the Austrians and the Americans coming in second and third, respectively. Some of the world's greatest Jewish athletes made their mark on the first games and it set the tone for the 17 that have since followed.

Related Content

dudi sela
August 31, 2014
Sela steamrolled by Dimitrov

By ALLON SINAI