World's first Jewish Sports Museum opens in Israel - Maccabee Task Force

Museum near Tel Aviv features more than 1,000 original and rare items from over 130 years of Jewish sports. The first Jewish Sports Museum in the world is now open to visitors.

In the central Israeli city of Ramat Gan, outside of Tel Aviv, the museum tells the story of more than 130 years of Jewish sports.

More than 1,000 original and rare items are on display in the over 16,000 square-foot museum, along with a movie showing the great achievements of Jewish and Israeli athletes.

Jews may not have left their mark on sports the way they did, say, in the Nobel Prize, but the list of Jewish sports legends is longer than just one page, as the museum demonstrates:

— From Daniel Mendoza in the 18th century, widely regarded as the father of scientific boxing;

— to Sandy Koufax, the baseball legend who sat out the first game of the 1965 World Series, because it fell on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement;

— to Mark Spitz, the swimmer whose seven record-breaking gold medals should have been the reason the 1972 Munich Olympic Games are remembered.

That’s just some of the non-Israelis.

Add Israeli sports achievers, like:

— Judoka Yael Arad, the first Israeli to win an Olympic medal;

— or soccer player Yossi Benayoun, who played for some of England’s top clubs;

— or tennis players Jonathon Erlich and Andy Ram, who won the 2008 Australian Open men’s doubles tournament, to the list, and the list gets even longer.

“Usually we think about the Israeli results, but before Israel was established we already had great results of great Jewish athletes from all over the world,” said Ori Sasson, who won a Judo bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics. “I think we can be proud.”

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