During the Second
Zionist Congress in Basel Switzerland in 1898, renowned Zionist leader Dr.
Max Nordau gave a motivational speech to those assembled there. He said in
"The history of our people relates to the fact that we were once strong physically...but today that is not the case. Others succeeded in degenerating us physically. They had the ghetto Jews of the Middle Ages into sorrowful weaklings, haggard and unable to defend ourselves in the narrow alleyways of the ghetto...Nobody can deny us the necessary physical activity needed to make our bodies healthy again.
We will renew our youth in our aging years. We will develop wide chests, strong arms and legs, a brave look. We will be warriors. What is lacking physically, we will develop through exercise. But our recovery to health is not only through the body, but also in the spirit, for as Hebrews will attain more achievements in sport, so will our self-confidence improve. Long lives Sport! Hebrew sports clubs go forward and bloom."
From all of this
was founded a youth movement, Maccabi Hatzair, i.e. Young Maccabis. The
first youth group was formed in Germany in 1926, in addition to the adult
Maccabi movement. Three years later at the World Maccabi Conference in
1929, it was decided that all adult Maccabi organizations work to create
their own Maccabi Hatzair groups. The first of these youth groups was
established in Eretz Israel in 1933, and soon many more of these groups
were established throughout the country....next
* - From "History of the Jews of Bukovina," p. 167. Article: "Jewish Sport in Bukovina" by Dr. Heirich Rubel (Tel Aviv). Translated by Jerome Silverbush. Photo from Wikipedia.