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10th Maccabiah Begins

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The 10th Maccabiah, the Jewish Olympics, opened at the huge Ramat Gan Stadium today with the ceremonial kindling of the Maccabi torch. The flame was run into the stadium by Mickey Berkowitz, former Nevada University basketball star, who is a member of the 350-member United States contingent.

The American athletes, coaches, trainers and officials marched into the arena led by Wendy Weinberg of Baltimore, an Olympic swimming bronze medalist, who carried the Stars and Stripes. David Itammim, of Indiana, a member of the U.S. soccer squad, carried the colors of the United States Committee Sports for Israel (USCSFI) which sponsors the American team. The 2800 competing athletes, representing 34 countries, took the traditional Maccabi oath. A highlight of the ceremonies was a parachute jump by members of an Israeli flying group who descended from 10,000 feet into the stadium.

The U.S. and Israel, with the largest contingents, are expected to win most of the medals in the variety of events to be held before the Maccabiah ends officially with ceremonies in Jerusalem July 21. It includes representatives of all sections of the Jewish community, among them a rabbi, Alex Sternberg, who coaches the karate team, and a cantor, George Lindelblat, who is a member of the water polo team.


On the eve of the games, U.S. Ambassador Samuel Lewis met for two hours with leaders of the American contingent and their wives at his home in Herzliya. It was an informal session and the Ambassador, an avid sports fan, expressed regret that he would be unable to make his scheduled appearance at the games Tuesday. He is flying to Washington this week in connection with the visit of Premier Menachem Begin.

Lewis said he had especially wanted to watch the American soccer team in action because his 14-year-old son is a soccer player. The youngster attends the American School in Herzliya which does not have a soccer team. But Haim Glovinsky, the U.S. Committee Sports for Israel liaison officer here, offered to place him with an Israeli team in his age bracket. The delegation presented the Ambassador with a gold-embossed paper weight and wished the envoy the best of luck on his recently begun tour of duty in Israel.

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