The Maccabiah: Posters and Photographs

Opening: June 10, 2009

Exhibition Curator: Rachel Schnold

This exhibition displays posters, photographs and documentation of the 80-year old Maccabiah tradition. The Maccabiah is an international Jewish athletic event held in Israel every four years, under the auspices of Maccabi World Union. The decision to hold an international Maccabiah in Eretz Israel was taken at the international Maccabi Congress in 1929.

The first Maccabiah was opened in Tel Aviv, on March 28, 1932, with the participation of about 400 athletes. The second Maccabiah was held in 1935 in the shadow of the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany and the wave of anti-Semitism spreading across Europe. The German delegation took part in the games with the approval of the Nazi authorities. These games were called the “Aliyah (immigration) Maccabiah”, since many of the European participants preferred to remain in Eretz Israel rather than return to their homes. The third Maccabiah was held in 1950, the first one after the establishment of the State of Israel.

The number of participants and delegations increases with each Maccabiah, which has evolved into the greatest assembly of Jewish athletes in the world. The 18th Maccabiah is to be held this year, in July 2009. About 5,000 participants will arrive from 64 countries, joined by 2,000 Israelis. The displayed photographs and posters are a documentation of various Maccabiah Games.

All posters are courtesy of the Pierre Gildesgame Maccabi Sports Museum, Ramat-Gan.

The exhibition is displayed at the hall dedicated to the brothers Isaac Grunstein-Shamir and Chaim Grunstein, thanks to the kind support of Ruth Shamir.