For the first time in the history of the Maccabiah games, athletes and participants of the 21st Maccabiah will donate clothes and team-branded sports clothes to new immigrants and refugees, as part of an official cooperation with Pitchon-Lev.
Pitchon-Lev is a national Israeli humanitarian organization which works to break the cycle of poverty in Israel.
Over 10,000 athletes and officials, on their way to Israel to take part in the Maccabiah Games, received an official letter from the Maccabiah organizers and Pitchon-Lev, asking them to bring the clothes with them to Israel, for distribution in Pitchon-Lev’s aid and welfare centers across Israel. They will be distributed to the needy, including refugees from Ukraine and new immigrants coming to Israel from Ukraine and Ethiopia, as well as others who receive aid from the organization.
During their stay, the athletes are scheduled to visit Pitchon-Lev’s aid centers and get better acquainted with the organization’s activities for weaker and less fortunate populations in Israel.
In addition, the Maccabiah this year joins a special tradition in ice hockey, whereby fans are asked to bring with them small furry toys and to throw them onto the ice rink after the first goal is scored.
This event is planned to take place at the final ice hockey game at the Jerusalem Arena Stadium on July 23rd. All the toys that are thrown onto the arena will be collected and donated to Pitchon-Lev, to distribute to children from underprivileged families.
Eli Cohen, CEO of Pitchon-Lev, commented: “Pitchon-Lev is proud to take a central part in the largest Jewish sporting gathering in the world. It is moving to think about thousands of Jewish athletes from around the world who are implementing the Jewish value of caring for the needy. I would like to thank the leadership of the Maccabiah, the professional teams, and of course, the athletes themselves for this touching joint effort and opening their hearts, which is very much in the true spirit of Pitchon-Lev. I am convinced that thousands of aid recipients will benefit from these generous donations and thank the Maccabiah and all the athletes, coaches, and donors on their behalf. I wish the athletes well in their sporting endeavors.”
Roy Hessing, CEO of the Maccabiah, said, “We are glad to undertake this important initiative of Pitchon-Lev and to involve athletes from around the world. This is a very moving and human initiative and I hope that together we will be able to help many families by providing high-quality sports clothing.”
Pitchon-Lev is an apolitical nonprofit organization founded in 1998 and works towards the vision of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty in Israel. The organization directly assists hundreds of thousands of people each year, many of them from the weakest socio-economic populations. The organization relies on hundreds of permanent volunteers and thousands of temporary volunteers across the country.
The 21st Maccabiah is the largest sporting event of the Jewish people and the second-largest in the world, taking place once every four years with the participation of Israeli and Jewish athletes from around the world. The upcoming Maccabiah begins on July 14 and continues for two weeks. Approximately 10,000 athletes are planning to arrive and will be representing over 60 countries and will compete in various events accompanied by thousands of professional staff, fans, and tourists. This year’s theme is “Israel Celebrates Sports.” Within the Maccabiah games, there will be a variety of sporting events open to the public in addition to a long line of social events offering a unique and unforgettable experience to all who attend.