More than 300 past and present members of Maccabi Victoria gathered at the St Kilda Town Hall last Sunday for the 90th anniversary reunion.
Tales were exchanged and past athletic deeds were celebrated as four generations of the Maccabi family came together to celebrate 90 years of organized Jewish sport in in Melbourne.
Longtime AJAX-Maccabi Maccabi athletics identity Len Bogatin hosted the event, dressing for the part in a garish green Maccabi outfit from a past Maccabiah Games.
Maccabi Australia president Barry Smorgon OAM addressed the gathering (click here to read the Australian Jewish News article) as did Maccabi Victoria president Joe Dorfman who spoke about how "sport had enriched the life of the Jewish community."
But the highlight was longtime Maccabi identity Trevor Cohen, whose family sponsored the event and who traced his family's connection to Jewish sport.
Trevor and his brother Daryl were instrumental in the formation of the AJAX (AFL) Football Club in 1957 and he spoke about the four generations of the extended family with active ties to Maccabi.
But he also told a wonderful story about how as far back as the late 19th century, an annual Jewish cricket match was played at the old East Melbourne Cricket Ground and that among the Cohen family heirlooms is a picture of his grandfather, dressed in a top hat, watching the cricket, and demonstrating that his family's connection to Jewish sport goes back six generations.
The Maccabi 90th Year Reunion was a key event of the 90th anniversary celebrations capping off a memorable weekend together with the Interstate Sports Challenge between Victoria and New South Wales.
The 90th Gala Celebration, Pathways for Our Future, will take place in Melbourne on 1 December at the new Glasshouse Venue in the Olympic Park precinct, with Her Excellency The Honorable Linda Dessau AM, Governor of Victoria, attending as keynote speaker.
The Maccabi 90th Year Reunion was proudly sponsored by