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Basketballer's impromptu Bar Mitzvah

Posted: 14-Jul-2013 by Maccabi National

Australian Maccabiah Open men’s basketball player Jeffrey Devers had the most unexpected but memorable moment of his life during pre-camp on Friday when the Australian delegation visited the Kotel.

At the tender age of 34, Devers was Bar Mitzvahed by a Rabbi in the Kotel synagogue with his basketball teammates watching on. Jeffrey also left the Kotel with a Hebrew name for the very first time, with Yochanan bestowed upon him by the Rabbi of the Kotel.

“I didn’t have a Bar Mitzvah when I was younger and a Rabbi took the opportunity to get involved,” Devers said.

“I have never done a horah, I was a horah virgin. But now I’m a man!"

Devers joined the Maccabi Warriors basketball team in Melbourne two seasons ago and under head coach Andrew Solewitz has embraced the Jewish culture, one he hasn’t had a strong connection to in the past.

Coach Solewitz believes this poignant moment is a great example of how the Maccabiah Games is about more than just sport. 

“The Games brings people together from all over. It brings people closer than ever before,” said Solewitz, who believes the memorable moment will continue to bring his side closer together before the competition starts.

As the eldest and one of the most experienced players in the Australian team, Devers felt an amazing connection to the Jewish culture and his teammates in that very special moment.

“As one of the experienced players on the team, roles were reversed and I was out of my comfort zone which was refreshing and nice, and it connects you closer to your teammates,” Devers said.

By Josh Givoni

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