Jewish sports teams in Australia to accept non-Jews


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Maccabi Australia changed its constitution to allow non-Jewish members to participate in some of its sports clubs.

At its recent annual meeting, Maccabi Australia, which has more than 9,000 members at multiple clubs across Australia, relaxed its rules to allow non-Jews to participate at clubs that are “struggling for survival and are at risk of losing the opportunity to operate under the Maccabi banner due to size or locality.”

Clubs operating at elite levels and faced with a shortage of players also may be eligible to recruit non-Jews.

In a statement issued last Friday signed by Maccabi Australia president Lisa Borowick and chairman Barry Smorgon, they cautioned, “These individuals will not be Maccabi members, they will be participants in that club only” and will not be eligible for the Maccabiah Games.

“The board, taking a strategic view of the role it plays in the community, coupled with the changing dynamic of the community, decided to provide some clear leadership on its position in the community and fulfill on its mandate — to connect the Jewish community through sport,” they said.

Rabbi John Levi of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry told The Age newspaper in Melbourne, ”If you live in a community where you’re only 0.5 percent of the population and you resent being discriminated against, you can’t discriminate against others.”

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