An Array Of Maccabi Happenings Mark
First Full Day
Question: What does a Jewish All-American football player, young Jewish dancers, and teen basketball players all have in common?
In Birmingham, Alabama this week, where the JCC Maccabi Games are taking place, the answer is plenty!
All were highlighted in the first full day of the Games Tuesday at different venues at different times, among a myriad of athletic activities involving 900 Jewish teen athletes.
And the diversity of the events, the engagement of hundreds of Birmingham volunteers, and the pride, competitiveness and sportsmanship displayed by each delegation sprinkled our city — known as the Magic City — with Jewish magic.
Tuesday was a beautiful Birmingham summer day that began with flag football competition highlighted by a short program remembering Leroy Monsky, of blessed memory, a Jewish All-American football hero at the University of Alabama in the 1930s.
Among those who spoke were Birmingham civic and business leader Miller Gorrie, who had been a close friend of Leroy’s, and his daughter Merry Monsky Bodziner of Savannah, Georgia.
The flag football competition is being sponsored by the Maurine and Leroy Monsky Fund of the Birmingham Jewish Foundation. Miller and Merry each spoke about how proud Leroy would be of the Maccabi Games because of his dedication to sportsmanship and Judaism.
At nearby Altamont School and other venues throughout the city much was taking place.
At Altamont the dance competition got underway in the early afternoon and watching it was a wonderful experience. The categories were diverse, the dancers intense and competitive, and the competition was run meticulously and professionally.
A wonderful blend of talent was on display — Jewish teens most of whom did not know one another upon their arrival in Birmingham bonding while competing, building friendships and celebrating what they have in common as young Jews.
The audience was receptive, enthusiastic and encouraging.
Some of the dancers, in fact, were from Rosh Haayin, Birmingham ‘s Sister City in Israel, who because of the connection between our cities are competing this week as part of the Birmingham delegation.
A short way down the Altamont hall, with the corridor heavily populated by Birmingham Jewish community members exuding warmth and Southern hospitality, girls basketball was being played with a fierceness.
It was a great day — though those three events amounted to just a slice of Maccabi that was replicated 100 times throughout our city Tuesday as Maccabi was in the air everywhere.
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