Maccabi Success in Dallas, Texas

Wednesday 12th February to Sunday 16th February, Robert Cohen, Barbara Burián, Joel Mendels, and Yvie Curtis, the Global FLF Organizing Team under Maccabi World Union, attended the BBYO International Convention in Dallas, Texas to present their FLF Seminar.

The convention counted with the presence of 3500 teens and 20 adults who were part of the FLF Seminar, with over 200 speakers ranging from social activists, entrepreneurs, politicians and more.

On Thursday morning the team facilitated BBYO’s intensive Sports Leadership, a one day program for 100 teens. Robert introduced the team and the partnership between BBYO and MWU. Then Yvie gave a session about Communication with people with Autism in sport.

Friday was Leads day. Leads day is a day where the teens have options of different fields that they want to lead in, each option having 50 places. 50 teens took part in the Sports Leads day that started with a panel Q&A where Robert explained how sport and volunteer work form his business career. Then the group played sports and team building activities. The day ended with a 20 minute framework session created and delivered by Barbara, Joel and Yvie.

The Global Organizing Team joined the FLF Seminar run by Maccabi USA. Dan Kurz, the board member of Maccabi USA held sessions about sport, positive Jewish identity and the importance of community projects.

In the end, Robert, Barbara and Yvie presented to Maccabi USA what they have been working on within Maccabi, but more importantly, their ‘why’. They shared their personal journey and explained how they joined, contributed and benefited from their volunteer work commitment to Maccabi.

On Saturday Joel Mendels talked about the FLF Future Leaders Forum. He explained how FLF supports professional and personal growth and how the participants can use their new skills in their own careers and also for organizing programs in their local Jewish community. He also talked about the success of the FLF Seminars in the numerous European cities, and since last year in Mexico as well.

Afterward, Barbara took the stage and explained what the Maccabi Fun Run community and charity event is. The speech started with a surprise. Two professional runners demonstrated a warm-up with treadmill exercises to catch the attention of the audience. Then came the facts. The first Fun Run was in 2005 in only two cities. Since then it grew and 25 cities joined the movement by 2019. The aim of the presentation was to motivate the Americans to organize their own Fun Run events. Tamar Simon who has a leading role in organizing the runs in the U.S. also shared her experiences from 2019 when 4 runs were held across the States. It’s important to mention that the main organizer of the Maccabi Fun Run in Washington D.C. was one of the participants representing Maccabi USA in the seminar.

On Sunday, 200 teens took part in a Maccabiah Day. The ‘Opening Ceremony’ started with Robert explaining what Maccabiah is and how to get involved. A young girl from Maccabi Tzair then showed the Maccabiah Torch and explained its meaning and purpose. Yvie and Joel ended the ceremony by teaching the 200 teens the Maccabiah dance. After this, the team sat down and had young people approaching them for the next 30 minutes asking more personalized and detailed questions about individual roles and opportunities within Maccabi globally, locally and on an International Games level.

The feedback has been extremely supportive and positive from BBYO regarding everything that the team delivered at International Convention with them asking and pushing that next year there will be more sessions and ownership being allowed for the Global FLF Organizing Team and also more access/support to bring more Maccabi people to run a side program for FLF and BBYO alumni together.

No question that Global FLF Organizing Team strengthened the relationship with Maccabi USA and BBYO. As a result, both organizations will delegate members to the upcoming Global FLF Seminar held together with MWU Congress in May 2020. Furthermore, more Maccabi Fun Runs will be organized in the U.S. in 2020.