The Maccabiah 2022 started with lights, sounds, and fireworks on July 14th.
On Sunday, July 24th the final medal events are being held at the YMCA and in the Malha stadiums. It’s been another Jerusalem Celebrates Sports week.
Over 30,000 people participated in the opening Maccabiah 2022 ceremony held in Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, Israel, on the summer day of July 14th, as Jerusalem cooled in the evening as the sunset.
I remembered that 5 years ago, the Maccabiah joined Jerusalem for a Night Run. That 2017 event began at Jerusalem’s Takhana Rishona, First Station.
This time the Jerusalem Night Run started and ended in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park with three distance routes – half marathon, 10 K, and 5 K.
Not quite the Jerusalem International Marathon, as the finish line for all the runners was in the park. The helium-filled finish was installed shortly before the race times.
The last meters to the finish line were plain grass, not the ramp which has been a feature for the full marathon after the first muddy year in 2011.
Arriving early before dark, I was able to meet the head of the US track team
and a junior runner from Hong Kong.
The starting line was up in time for the race starts – but just barely. There were drums and music as the runners took their positions.
One Ukrainian flag was displayed at the start of the half marathon,
and a proposal marked and delayed the start of the second race.
I went early as it is hard to get good photos of Night Run participants.
It is much easier when runners pose before the start.
And much more fun when you see people you know running again.
The night air cooled the park, which was filled with colors and lights.
Oh yes, Jerusalem streets were blocked again and closed for the Night Run.
As I walked home, both international and local runners kept coming,
seemingly enjoying racing thru the Jerusalem streets to the finish line.
The Night Run was not the only event the Jerusalem public could observe. For the Maccabiah 2022, an ice hockey rink was constructed in the Pais Arena. After Shabbat, the stadium was opened for the final game, Canada vs. the US.
Oh, how different from the 2013 Maccabiah games, also held in Israel,
when we had to travel all the way to the ice rink in Metula, in the far north.
Not exactly the same scale by any measure!
The closing ceremony of the 21st Maccabiah will take place July 25th at the Live Park in Rishon LeTzion.
It will be interesting to see the changes the next time the international Jewish athletes from World Maccabiah return to the Jerusalem streets.
However, not just sports filled the Jerusalem streets this past week.
The Sultan’s Pool, across from the walls of the Old City was full of thousands
of excited baby boomers for the Paul Anka concert on Wednesday night,
and on Thursday night there were 5,000 on hand for the opening of the 39th Jerusalem Film Festival, which goes until the end of July and includes more than 200 films from more than 50 countries and outdoor shows.
Rehearsals for Theater in Motion – Shakespeare in Bloomfield Park in August, went on in spite of the US Presidential visit, street closings, and runners on the roads.
And preparations are well underway at the new Train Theater to host the 31st International Jerusalem Puppet Festival in August.
From that old train car, the new state-of-the-art facility at Liberty Bell Park will host international puppeteers and a long list of family events.
Yes, the Train Theater, the sports and culture, and the facilities have come a long way – and much more.
Isn’t it time you came to see them yourself?