Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration)Flash 90

Israel may not be in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, which will start on June 12 and last roughly a month, but the Jewish connection to the event is quite visible.

On one hand, a Jewish couple is looking to turn the event into an opportunity to teach Jewish fans about Jewish culture. Further, aside from the fact that Israeli drones will guard the event, the Israeli security company RISCO Group was selected to provide security solutions for the new Arena Pantanal in Cuiaba, one of 14 arenas in the event.

The 44,000 spectator arena will be completely managed and controlled from a unified control room by the group's powerful Command and Control solution, which will allow the monitoring of the entire arena and surrounding area.

Through the control solution, hundreds of doors and turnstiles in the arena will be secured and tickets will be validated from the command center, in an impressive feet of Israeli security technology.

"Our professional teams are currently working together with the System Integrator, to ensure that all integrated systems work together seamlessly and efficiently to assure a successful and safe mega event," said Michael Isakov, Managing Director of RISCO Security Management Solutions.

Connecting Jews through soccer

Meanwhile Mariano Schlez and his wife Paola Salem of Argentina will be organizing special activities for Jews attending the soccer event, which will attract thousands of Jewish fans among the total 1.5 million attendees.

“If even 1% of all the visitors to the World Cup are Jewish, this will be an incredible opportunity to connect each other,” said Mariano.

The project, called "Jewish Connect at the World Cup 2012," is being led by the couple with the support of the Schusterman Foundation. It has actively been arranging contacts through social websites, including such information as where to obtain kosher food during the World Cup, and where to find synagogues and Jewish attractions.

Local Jewish groups will also organize events such as Shabbat dinners and pickup soccer games as part of the project.

“This is a big challenge, it’s never happened before,” Mariano said. “The idea is not only to participate in cool events, but also to strengthen Jewish identity by getting to know the local Jewish communities in Brazil and to connect with Brazilian Jews and Jewish travelers from around the world in a fun setting.”

Those planning to be in Brazil for the World Cup and wishing to participate should contact the group on Twitter: @mundialjudaico, and Facebook: JFF-Judíos Fanáticos del fútbol que viajan a Brasil.