Of Pain and Pride: Hard Lessons from Israel’s No-Medal Olympics

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No Israeli came home with a medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Thirty-seven Israeli athletes competed in eight sports. Two athletes came in sixth place, but alas, no medals.

For Jews and Israelis around the world, however, this Summer Olympics was overshadowed by the campaign to convince the IOC to hold a moment of silence for the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich games. The campaign consumed the media in advance of the games and even caught the attention of world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama.

In the end, while several separate services were held in their memory, the IOC chose not to hold a moment of silence during the main opening or closing ceremonies. They felt it was not an appropriate forum for a moment of silence. “Shame on you, IOC,” said Ankie Spitzer, who was married to fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in Munich. “You have forsaken the 11 members of your Olympic family. You are against them only because they are Israelis and Jews.”

While it would have been nice for the IOC to hold that moment of silence—and it would have been very meaningful—I can’t help but listen to a little voice in the back of my mind. What if, instead of complaining, Israel had actually won a few medals this year? What if the world saw not a sore loser, but a brave winner? What if Israel could have proven to the world that it’s in the game and a key player on the world stage?

Imagine hearing Hatikva while the Star of David flag rose up before the podium. Imagine the great PR opportunities for Israel with its athletes in the spotlight. Imagine the voice Israel could have in the IOC if it competed at the highest levels of athleticism. Imagine Israel’s top athletes publicly displaying the Olympic spirit, like the incredible moment when Kirani James of Grenada exchanged bibs with double-amputee competitor Oscar Pistorius of South Africa. Imagine Israel’s gold medalist telling the press that her win was in honor of the Munich 11 (See Jewish American gymnast Aly Raisman’s tribute). Imagine then the incredible impression Israel could have given the world.

In my opinion, Israel should resolve today to support athletics like never before. If Israel really set its mind to it, it could have a good number of Summer Olympic medalists in the next four, eight or twelve years. Israel could generously fund athletes who train overseas and later bring back their expertise to train younger athletes in Israel. New athletic centers could be built and more kids and parents could be encouraged to participate. Whole communities could get involved and attend competitions. Israel could reach out to top coaches around the world and offer them jobs in Israel.

With stronger athletes, Israel could compete at the highest levels and make a name for itself. Not as a victim, not as a bitter widow, but as a triumphant nation born to greatness.

Imagine the pride then.

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Matzah Brie in July

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Never mind that Pesach was four months ago. I just made THE MOST DELICIOUS Matzah Brie! It was so good (and so easy), I just had to share my recipe. So here it is!

Matzah Brie (for Year-Round Yumminess)

Ingredients:

5 Salted Matzahs (I used Manischevitz)

Water

Canola oil

1/4 cup milk

3 eggs

Salt to taste (optional)

Pepper to taste

Approx. 2 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Miller’s)

Directions:

1. Over a large bowl, break the matzahs into bite-size pieces.

2. Pour water into the bowl, just until the water begins to peek out from underneath the matzahs. Mix. Let stand 5 minutes or until all pieces are softened.

3. In the meantime, in a large frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.

4. Add milk, eggs, salt and pepper to matzah-water mixture. Mix well.

5. Pour mixture into frying pan, evening it out towards the edges. Fry 5-8 minutes or until solid and browned on bottom.

6. Flip. (I used the old 2-plate trick – take the pan off the flame and “pour” the rounded “matzah pancake” onto a large plate, keeping the browned bottom side down. Cover with another plate, hold tightly, and flip. Then “pour” the matzah brie back into the pan, this time browned side up, raw side down.) Fry the other side for 3-5 minutes or until browned.

7.  Sprinkle cheese over top. Let the cheese melt (1-2 minutes). Optional: fold the “pancake” in half to assist in melting. Shut off flame and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? Let us know how it went!

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Survival Guide to the Three-Day Yom Tov

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As most of us are dreading the upcoming “three-day” chag, we here at Newsy Jewsy came up with a few tips to help you survive it – and actually make it through feeling great!

Here are our tips:

  • Memorize all your status updates as they occur, so you can post them immediately after Yom Tov. (You know, at the pizza shop.) The best way to memorize them is to recite each 100 times as you walk to and from shul. The correct response to “Good Yutif/Good Shabbos” is simply a smile.
  • Always walk around with a sefer. If you’re single, your shidduch chances go up exponentially. If not, at least you’ll have an excuse to duck when Aunt Shelly starts yapping about this or that.Three Day Yom Tov
  • The moment Hallel goes over 2.38 minutes, just slap your forehead with your palm, and run out of shul like you forgot something. If you want to come back in, just bring that handy sefer. Works every time.
  • Bring ear plugs to shul in case the rabbi’s drasha is too loud.
  • At the start of mussaf, remember to bang on the nearest hard surface so everyone knows you remembered it was Yom Tov.
  • Remember the halacha – If there is no cholent at Kiddush, skip it, there’s plenty of food at home. If there is cholent, but no MEAT in it, skip it. If there is no cholent, but there is potato kugel, some say skip it, others are meikil and permit it.
  • Forget the shower. When things get tough, make this yeshiva-style ready-mix in just five minutes: Stir 2 parts deodorant, 2 parts air freshener, and 1 part Shout. Spray ready-mix on clothes, toilets, or the person’s seat next to you as necessary. It’s all good.
  • Always nap like it’s Shabbos. Even if it’s Thursday.
  • Bolt out before havdallah and find the nearest pizza shop. Give us your status updates: Did you survive your Three-Day Yom Tov??

Chag Sameach everyone!

Special thanks to Marissa for this post idea.
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