Saturday, June 03, 2006

Maccabi


The logo of  Maccabi is made of four Hebrew letters which spells Maccabi. These letters create the shape of the Star of David. The logo serves as a basis for the separate logos of the different Maccabi organizations:

 Maccabi World Union founded at the 12th World Jewish Congress in Carlsbad (Czechoslovakia) 1921 as an umbrella organization for all Jewish sports associations.

 Youth movement Maccabi Tzair (translation: Junior or young Maccabi) formed in Germany in 1926.

 Maccabi sport groups including basketball league champion Maccabi "Elite" Tel Aviv.

 Maccabi Health Care Services was founded in 1941; formerly called Kupat Cholim Maccabi, the second largest health care organization in Israel.

The name Maccabi is derived from Judah Maccabi (Yehudah Hamaccabi, the hammer) who led a successful guerilla war against the Seleucid armies from 167 BCE. The saga of Judah Maccabi is celebrated at Chanukah and signifies courage and power.

 The idea for the founding of Jewish National sports organizations was inspired by Zionist leader, Dr. Max Nordau.

 To sum it all up: the Star of David in the Maccabi logo conveys a message of courage and power.

 

Westerbork Transit Camp

Westerbork was a transit camp for Dutch Jews in Holland. Between 1942 and 1944, from which 102,000 Jews were transported to concentration and death camps. It is three-hour drive east of Amsterdam. Anne Frank and her family lived in this camp until they were deported to Auschwitz. The memorial at the camp was designed by Ralph Prins, Dutch Jewish Holocaust Survivor. It is made of small rectangular stones inserted into the ground… with a Star of David for Jewish victims. There is one stone for every person who passed through the camp.  

 

Jewish Wedding Stones


Chuppa stone from Wurzburg

Courtesy of Prof. Shalom Sabar, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

In the ancient synagogue of Freudental there's a Chuppa Stone which was used in marriage ceremonies: the groom had to smash his glass of wine against this stone in memory of the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.
G.S. Oegema has a whole chapter (9) about the "six pointed star on Huppa stones" in his book Realms of Judaism, 1996 [ISBN 3-631-30192-8] where he mentions researcher Falk Wiesemann who found in Germany twenty two such stones (traustein or Hochzeitsstein). The first was found in Mainz and it's from 1691. On many of these stones there was engraved a Star of David.
IMHO the Star of David on wedding stones symbolizes Jerusalem (Zion) which is remembered by Jews especially when they have the best reasons to rejoice…

Chuppa stone from Altenkunstadt Synagogue 1726