Photo Credit: Flash 90
The opening ceremony of the 20th Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem

The largest Jewish athletic tournament in the world will take place in Israel this summer after being canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Maccabiah games, which has been referred to as the “Jewish Olympics,” will be held from July 12 to July 26 across Jerusalem, Haifa and Netanya. The competition is the third-largest sporting event in the world and takes place every four years in Israel.

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The event is organized by the Maccabi World Union, the largest and longest-running Jewish sports organization, which spans more than 60 countries, 450 clubs and 400,000 members.

“The principal mission of the Maccabiah is to facilitate a worldwide gathering of young Jewish athletes in Israel, staging the highest possible levels of sports competitions, and strengthening their connection to the State of Israel and the Jewish people,” according to the event’s website.

Four separate competitions take place as part of the Maccabiah; Open, Junior, Masters and Paralympics. Any qualifying athlete between the ages of 15-18 can compete in the Junior category. Masters are separated into a variety of different age categories, to accommodate older participants, and the Open division “is generally unlimited in age, subject to the governing international rules in each sport, and is intended for the best athletes from each delegation.”

The Maccabiah program also provides athletes with the opportunity to tour Israel and engage with Israeli society by participating in cultural events.

The first Maccabiah took place in 1932.

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