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Maccabiah Games Draw US Athletes to Become ‘Bar Mitzvah’

For American athletes, the Maccabiah sports even proves the games are about more than sports. Several of the American Jewish athletes were inspired to become Bar Mitzvah.
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Athletes from the Australian delegation wave their national flags during the opening ceremony of the Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem for the 19th Maccabiah Games, dubbed the 'Jewish Olympics'

Athletes from the Australian delegation wave their national flags during the opening ceremony of the Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem for the 19th Maccabiah Games, dubbed the 'Jewish Olympics'
Photo Credit: Flash 90

The final blessing chanted, Greyber led the singing of “Siman Tov.” Candies flew onto the podium. Tears were wiped. Members of the two rugby teams leapt from their front-row chairs and posed near the stone wall overlooking the hills. Some did a jig in the seating area.

Greyber offered another song, and then another. Tisha B’Av was just about over, but the celebration wasn’t. Athletes jumped onto the podium to pose with their rabbi, who offered one last thought to those milling about.

“We are blessed to be here together,” Greyber said. “I have no idea what great and amazing things will come from this moment, but I am sure that within you is the infinity of God’s goodness.”

Rosener emerged fulfilled.

“I was in the moment, surrounded by other people, saying the blessing. I felt complete,” Rosener said. “Something was added that had been missing from my life.”

This article was written by Hillel Kuttler for JTA.

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