Maccabi South Africa has had a long and successful involvement at the Maccabiah, beginning in 1935 to the present. The delegation has grown from just 19 persons at the 2nd Maccabiah to 370 in 2013, which was the largest team from the diaspora relative to the size of the community. In 1993 Team Maccabi SA competed in 22 sports, the highest total to date for SA.
Since 1935 Team Maccabi SA has accumulated a significant tally of medals, broken many records and proudly represented South Africa in a variety of sports from Athletics to Water Polo. Tennis is the only SA sport to have been represented at every single Games since 1935, where the team won their first (gold) medal and have won multiple medals at every Maccabiah since then. In addition, in 2009 SA’s oldest medal winner, 84-year-old Isaac Joffe, took home bronze in the Grand Masters Doubles event.
Since 1950 Maccabi SA sportswomen have grown significantly in numbers and strength. The Junior Programme which launched in the 1980’s has also prospered with 65% under 25’s at the 2013 Games, and in the same year SA also won medals in the inaugural Paralympic events.
In addition to the Maccabiot, Team Maccabi SA is also invited to participate in Regional Games, including the Pan American Games in South America and the European Maccabi Games.
Click on the relevant event below for a summary of the SA delegation and their results.
The Yakir Award is the highest honour bestowed by Maccabi World Union for outstanding services to Maccabi. Since 1993 it is presented every four years at the Maccabiah. Seven South Africans have received Yakir Awards:
|1985||Award 21||Ian Maltz|
|1986||Award 32||Louis Gecelter|
|1989||Award 48||Barney Kellen|
|1991||Award 55||Monty Manoim|
|1997||Award 74||George Mendelsohn|
|2009||Award 105||Jeanne Futeran|
|2013||Award 121||Mervyn Tankelowitz|
The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame/Yad Le’ish Hasport Hayehudi was formally inaugurated on 7 July 1981 in Netanya, Israel. Its predecessor, the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, was founded in the United States in May 1979. The original Hall of Fame included only American honourees. The International Hall of Fame honours athletes and sportsmen and sportswomen throughout the world.
Although not affiliated to Maccabi, the organisations have much in common. The purpose of the IJSHOF is to recognise and honour Jewish men and women, worldwide, who have accomplished extraordinary achievements in sports and to honour those who have made significant contributions to society through sports.
IJSHOF is a partnership between the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sports and some of the world’s leading sports authorities, and interested, active and philanthropic Jews.
For more information go to www.jewishsports.net
These are Jewish men and women worldwide who have achieved extraordinary accomplishments in sports and others who have made significant contributions to society through sports.
Eleven South African sportspersons have been elected, including one woman, four rugby players, one official/administrator and most recently rugby referee, Jonathan Kaplan. Kaplan was formally inducted during the 2017 Maccabiah in Israel.
1983: Jody Scheckter (Motor Racing)
1985: Harry Getz (Official/Administrator)
1991: Dr Ali Bacher (Cricket)
1994: Dr Wilf Rosenberg (Rugby)
1995: Shaun Tomson (Surfing)
1998: Okey Geffin (Rugby)
1999: Syd Nomis (Rugby)
2009: Joel Stransky (Rugby)
2010: Ilana Kloss (Tennis)
2016: Jonathan Kaplan (Referee)