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Maccabi Inspirations Past and Present

Posted: 11-Jun-2015 by Maccabi VIC


By Tiarne Swersky

Maccabi is a family affair for Lennie Bogatin and Yvette Shaw. Even for their two kids, Adam and Carly, and their dogs, Maccabi has always been a big part of their lives. In fact, Yvette and Lennie first met at a Maccabi senior carnival in the late 70s.

Len and Yvette are a well-respected, dynamic husband and wife duo in the Maccabi movement.

Lennie has been involved with Maccabi Athletics for 48 years. His first involvement dates back to his year 10 days at Mount Scopus, where he ran for the club known as 'Hakoah Ajax Amateur Athletics Club' with some of his lifelong friends. In 1971, he won the 400m sprint at the U19 Victorian State Championships.

He went to the Maccabiah Games in 1973 and then 1977 as a part of the ‘Maccabi 15’ and won the 400m again, placed 2nd in the 200m and 2nd in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. In 1981, not even an injured hamstring could stop Lennie from traveling to compete at Maccabiah. In 2005 and 2013, he went along as the track and field Team Manager.

He has been on the committee for 35 years and the President of Maccabi Athletics for at least 25 years, giving him the title as the longest serving president of any Maccabi Victorian Club.

In 2000, Lennie was inducted in the Maccabi Hall of Fame and has had a Maccabi Victoria perpetual trophy, known as the “Lennie Bogatin Award”, named after him for outstanding service to the organisation.

“I was surprised and honoured to be honest (by the award)…I don’t think about what I do for the Club, I just do it”, he says.

Whilst Lennie enjoys the grassroots level of Maccabi, his wife Yvette is one of the more accomplished and competent administrators in the organisation.

Yvette has been involved with Maccabi since the 1980s. She has done seven international trips with Maccabi (JCC Games, Junior carnival in NZ and 3 Maccabiah Games in Israel), has been the team manager of numerous junior teams and was the Carnival Director for the biggest junior carnival ever held. 

“My proudest time was when the four of us went as a family to Maccabiah Games (in 2005)…Len was athletics manager, I went as an assistant team manager and Carly and Adam played hockey”, she says.

“We were a part of something all together, as a family, it was fantastic”.

From watching her husband in the stands coaching athletics, to her generous voluntary work at Maccabi, including being on the Mac Vic board, Yvette has gone on to work as a VIP Protocol Officer at the London Olympics, as well as at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin.  

These are just a few of the amazing opportunities, which she credits from her experiences with Maccabi.   

Yvette is also the head of the 90th birthday celebrations for the Maccabi Victoria Reunion this year.

“I look forward to honouring and celebrating the people who have contributed their time to Maccabi”, she says.  

It is not often that Maccabi has had a husband and wife duo work so tirelessly and give up their time for the benefit of Jewish sport and the Jewish community.

We thank Len and Yvette for their incredible contributions to the Maccabi organisation.

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