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April 01, 1983 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-04-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

24

Friday, April 1, 1983

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

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Observant Youth to Compete in Elizuria This Summer

By ROBERT REBOLD

World Zionist Press Service

JERUSALEM — In the
Hebrew name Elizur, liter-
ally "God is my rock," spirit
and earth are joined. This is
indeed an appropriate title
for a group which combines
physical and religious ac-
tivities.
Elizur, now one of Israel's
largest sports organiza-
tions, is preparing for the
Elizuria, its first interna-
tional gathering. Designed
as a sports and cultural
event for religious and tra-
ditional youth, the Elizuria
games will be held in Israel

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July 25-Aug. 10. Young
people age 15-19 will com-
pete in a program ranging
from basketball to judo and
track and field to folk danc-
ing.
To create foreign interest,
Elizuria organizers have
also arranged extensive
tours throughout Israel for
the young sports
enthusiasts, who can also
bring their families.
The Elizuria games
mark another facet in
Elizur's changing role.
Established by Orthodox
Jewish pioneers in 1939,
Elizur was intended to
provide a physical edu-
cation program for reli-
gious youngsters in Eretz
Yisrael. The association's
priorities were forced to
shift during the 1940s
when self-defense train-
ing tended to replace
sports activities. Elizur
became a branch of the
Hagana, the Jewish un-
derground army. Under
the guise of physical
training, boys and girls
prepared for combat.
After the Holocaust,
when British rule closed
Palestine to thousands of
Jewish refugees, Elizur
helped slip "illegal" immig-
rants ashore. By night,
Elizur-manned boats
brought fellow Jews from
refugee camps to a new life.
Elizur volunteers also
worked in Displaced Per-
sons camps in Europe to
physically prepare refugees
for the journey to Palestine.
In 1948, the establish-
ment of the state of Israel
allowed Elizur to concen-
trate on its role as a reli-
gious sport organization.
"We had a big job ahead of
us. We had to convince reli-
gious people that the physi-
cal side of life and sport are
very important," says Zeev
Braverman, Elizur's
secretary-general. Accord-
ing to Braverman, pre-army
fitness tests proved reli-
gious youngsters to be in
much poorer physical condi-
tion than those from unob-
servant families.
"We wanted to prepare
kids for the army and for a
full, healthy life," says
Braverman. "Improving
health, not breaking re-
cords, was our goal."
Although Elizur ex-
panded rapidly, the

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tos with the idea that
sport was not a Jewish
activity," says Braver-
man. "It was difficult to
change people's minds.
But we did it." Appar-
ently Braverman does
not exaggerate. Today
Elizur boasts about
25,000 members and 130
branches throughout Is-
rael.
Moshe Hyon, former
champion in the 1,500 and
2,000-meter races, per-
sonifies the need for
religious-oriented sports
training. A promising track
competitor at 12 years old,
Hyon represented Hapoel,
the workers' sports organ-
ization, until his discovery
of Elizur five years later.
Hyon, who now coaches
track and field teams for
Elizur and at Wingate
Sports Institute, discusses
the difficulties of the reli-
gious athlete in a non-
religious environment.
"During one meet, I was
left alone without food or
friends in Frankfurt, Ger-
many," says Hyon, who had
refused to join his team-
mates on a Shabat flight to
Copenhagen. "Elizur
doesn't just teach sport. It
also gives a Jewish educa-
tion," continues Hyon. "Our
coaches are often religious
and set a personal exam-
ple." In addition to calis-
thenics and stretching,
Elizur training camps in-
clude daily prayers, laying
tefilin and eating kosher
food.
Both Hyon and Braver-
man stress that Elizur's
high standards meet those
of any non-religious sports
group. "When it comes to
sport we're all the same,"
says Braverman. "It doesn't
matter if you're religious or
non-religious, Christian,
Moslem or Jew. To jump is
to jump."
The women's basket-
ball team, for example,
has been at the top of the
national league for six
years and has done well
in the European cham-
pionships — a "female
version of Maccabi Tel
Aviv ..."
At the Elizuria games
this summer, competitions
include volleyball, hand-
ball, soccer, track and field,
basketball, swimming, ten-
nis, judo, baseball and
chess.
Besides developing mus-
cles and stamina, the
Elizuria is designed to
encourage aliya. After the
games, activities will focus
on Jewish and Israeli cul-
ture. Diaspora participants
will tour Israel.
To make the visit to Israel
a family experience, Elizur
is offering special programs
for the parents of athletes.
In addition to the con-
centration on family and
Judaism, Elizuria differs
in other ways from the
well known Maccabiah
Games. Athletes of any
age may play in the Mac-
cabia, while Elizuria par-
ticipation is limited to
youngsters. This re-
quirement was set speci-
fically with aliya in mind.
"It is better to start with

A group of Orthodox boys prepare to compete in
this summer's Elizuria games.

younger people who are
not as formed or set in
their ways as adults are,"
says Elizur's Daniella
Shacham.
Elizuria organizers also
feel that their system is
fairer and allows more
youngsters to come to Is-
rael. Conceivably, in the
Maccabiah Games a United
States team comprised of
players from a pool of six
million could compete
against. a Dutch team cho-
sen from a few tens of
thousands of Jewish
players. Under this ar-

rangement, say Elizuria of-
ficials, the scales are tipped
from the beginning.

Elizuria players however,
will come as representa-
tives of community or syna-
gogue clubs rather than of
national units.

"Our way allows more
young people to participate,
and bringing Jews from the
Diaspora with an eye to
Aliva is a primary goal,"
says Braverman. "For us,
the Zionist meaning of
Elizur is as important as its
sports value."

For Ethiopian Jews

By PROF. CHARLES FISHMAN

Brothers, sisters, what does it mean
that you are not with us?
that you have died of thirst
on an earth babbling with water?
that you have died of hunger
in a world greasy with animal flesh?
What does it mean that you have been eaten
by disease and neglect? that you have drunk
deeply at the well of brutality and murder?

What does it mean to you, Enage Addissu?
Four Daughters! Or to you, Yigzaw Melaku, whose sorrows
are numbered in sons?
The ground will warm again, trees yield
their pomp of blossoms, but
Teshale Atsuha, your wife!
Tilahun Solomon, your daughters!Tamino Yiskias, your
mother!
Balambaras Yizhak, your sons!

Sisters, brothers, why must our family
Resemblance prove so painful.
Yetemegnu Zenebe, I too am going blind from gazing at the
scorched children of Ethiopa. Tsingo Haderai,
my life has caught fire from these names that ignite.

Solomon Tizazu!
Wohade Wogidu!
Astede Zeyssanu!
Sahlitu Termias!
Blood of my blood, your silence
drinks me.

Falashas,
I will feed your names to my heart.

Court Dismisses Racism
Complaint Against LeMonde

PARIS (JTA) — A Paris
court dismissed "on basic
legal grounds" the coin-
plaint lodged by the Inter-
national League Against
Racism and Anti-Semitism
(LICRA) against the French
daily Le Monde and its
former editor, Jacques
Fauvet.
LICRA had claimed in its
plea that the daily had been
guilty of "spreading racial
hatred and anti-Semitism"
last summer by publishing
a virulently anti-Israel ad-
vertisement.
LICRA's attorney and

witnesses called by the
organization told the court
that anti-Zionism is tan-
tamount to anti-Semitism.

The court, however,
dismissed the complaint
saying it was not justified
on legal grounds as it did
not fall under the specific
law invoked by LICRA's
attorney.

The
court
added:
"Moreover, it appeared from
the court discussions that
LICRA's own views on this
subject are not shared by all
of France's Jews."

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