Maccabi History


History

Maccabi is a Jewish Organisation with its mission to "Promote Jewish Identity through Sport". To fully understand Maccabi as an organisation you need to know the history of Jews and Sport well before Maccabi came into play.

In 1925 a NSW Cricket Team was invited to visit Melbourne and this was the 1st known interstate meeting of 2 sports bodies of Jewish decent in Australia. This was so popular that the next year NSW invited Victoria back and so the tradition began.

In 1946 a formal sporting association was formed called JASA and Victoria had many "Ajax" Clubs. JASA prevailed as an organsiation for decades before being replaced with the name Maccabi Australia sometime around the beginning of the 80's.

Lou Rose MBE - so long the Patron of NSW and known as the "Father of Maccabi" took the 1st team to Israel way back in the late 50's - a logo designed by Lou is now used as the Olympic Israeli Symbol.

Maccabi is affiliated to the Maccabi World Union based in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Where does the word Maccabi come from?

There are many different views - here are but some. Many will be aware of the relationship between the word Maccabi and Channukah. But what does "Maccabi" really mean.

1. One view is that the name does not come from the Talmud or Midrash. It derives from the Apocrypha, where it describes Judah, one of the Hasmonean brothers (II Macabees 2:4).

2. Jewish tradition saw it as the initials of the battle-cry, "Mi Chamocha Ba-elim Hashem" "Who is like you the mighty O Lord?

3. Other views link the name with a root that means "to extinguish" since the Macabees extinguished the Greek persecution, or with "Makkav" "a hammer" Judah, like Charles Martel, was the hammer of his enemies.

The scholar and poet Aaron Kaminka (1866 - 1950) thinks the name is a corruption of Machbanai, a leading commando in the army of King David (I Chron 12:13). David had 12 commandos from the tribe od Gad, who "separated themselves to David to the stronghold in the wilderness, mighty men of valour, men trained for war, that could handle shield and spear, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and they were as swift as the roes upon the mountains" (I Chron 12:8). David has always been a role model for Jews, and it may be that Judah's father, Mattathias, saw in his son the embodiment of an ancient Davidic hero.
 

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