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How I Repaid Maccabiah for Saving My Father from the Holocaust

(A related podcast: How I Repaid Maccabiah for Saving My Father from the Holocaust (Audio-podcast) )

Maccabi World Union is a Jewish International Sports Organization, spanning more than 450 clubs in over 70 countries in 5 continents. Every four years, Maccabi organizes the Maccabiah, routinely called the Jewish Olympics, during which time (summer time), thousands of Jewish athletes come to Israel to compete in various sports branches.

The First Maccabiah opened on March, 1932. A large delegation from Poland participated, among them my late father, Daniel, who was part of the soccer team. My father grew up in Levov, then of Poland (currently Lviv of Ukraine). After the Maccabiah ended, my father decided to stay in Eretz Israel (then named Palestine, under British mandate).

Doing so, his life was spared. Not so with the rest of his family members, most of whom perished in the Holocaust.

On July of 2009, the 18-th Maccabiah was scheduled to take place. About a year earlier, the organizing committee of the 18th Maccabiah approached me with a request to organize a Satisfaction Survey, intended to be administered online after the Maccabiah ended. The survey was to be conducted separately for three groups of people (Athletes, Delegation Officials and Staff).

At the time, I was affiliated with Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, where I served as a tenured engineering full professor (retired 2015). As common practice, Israeli universities allow employees, after obtaining proper permission, to engage in delivering services outside the university, even when services rendered are not in academia. I started negotiating with the representative of the organizing committee of the Maccabiah on the terms of the contract, under which the planned Satisfaction Survey would be carried out.

Shortly after negotiations started, it dawned on me that my own life would not have come into existence were it not for the First Maccabiah, which hosted my father and ultimately caused him to stay in Eretz Israel.

I notified the organizing committee of the 18-th Maccabiah that I would conduct the requested survey free of charge. I explained the motivation.

At the time (summer of 2008), 3rd year undergraduate students in my engineering department were supposed to find a subject for their final project, to be carried out during the final 4th year of study. The final project was supposed to be carried out by a pair of students, although larger teams were occasionally allowed. Two students responded to my call, Rinat Bidany and Keren Farm. During their fourth year of study, the three of us worked diligently to build the necessary tools to conduct the survey. Once the tools were ready, they had been submitted to the Maccabiah, which administered the survey during the summer of 2009. By that time, the academic year was already over, Rinat and Keren got their high mark for their final project, and all three of us were invited to attend the opening ceremony of the Eighteenth Maccabiah, held in Ramat Gan, with participation of the Israeli president, the late Shimon Peres.

I spent most of the summer of 2009 statistically analyzing the results of the survey, culminating in a three-volume report that was submitted to Maccabi World Union Executive body. The first volume is attached herewith.

As a token of appreciation, I was granted a nice three-dimensional figure, representing the Maccabiah 18 emblem. The label (Hebrew) reads:

“Prof. Haim Shore. With Gratitude for Your Contribution to the 18th Maccabiah”.

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