The vicissitudes of fate experienced by the Jewish People in the modern era have inevitably led to too little attention being paid to many vital aspects of Jewish life. The exhibition "Jews in the World of Sports" is dedicated to one of these aspects of Jewish life.
In the exhibition Beit Hatfutsot presents the history of Jewish sport and of Jews in world sports. The exhibition depicts the activities of the Jewish sports associations, from their beginnings at the end of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century. These activities were important not only for sport for its own sake; they had a social, cultural and nationalist significance as well.
The exhibition also shows the development of sports in Eretz Israel during the time of the Yishuv. An additional section is devoted to Jewish athletes who became record-holders and champions in the world sport arena.
Involvement in sports is universal throughout the world. It serves as a bridge between the nations and Israel, and between Israel and the Diaspora, as expressed by the 12th Maccabiah, which is currently being held in Israel, and to which this exhibition is a tribute.
Beit Hatfutsot extends grateful thanks to Dr. Uriel Simri, whose expertise was invaluable in the preparation of this exhibition, and who contributed the article to the catalogue. Thanks are also due to Arthur Hanak, Director of the Maccabi World Union Archives in the name of Yosef Yekutieli and the Pierre Gildesgame Maccabi Museum, Kfar Hamaccabiah, whose extensive knowledge contributed to the planning of the exhibition.
Beit Hatfutsot would also like to thank the Sport and Physical Education Authority of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the National Olympic Committee of Israel, the Sports Federation of Israel, the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, New York, and the U.S. Committee Sports for Israel, without whose help the project could not have come to fruition.