Moscow Soccer Tournament Blends Jewish Identity, Volunteerism

Four Jewish soccer teams from Russia and Israel came together in Moscow for the Inter Maccabi Cup, a two-day tournament marking the 25 anniversary of the revival of the Maccabi community in Russia.

July 10, 2015

Four Jewish soccer teams from Russia and Israel came together in Moscow for the Inter Maccabi Cup, a two-day tournament marking the 25 anniversary of the revival of the Maccabi community in Russia.

The Maccabi Russia and Maccabi Moscow teams were joined by the Jewish Moscow team and the Inter Petakh Tikva team from Israel.

The tournament was organized by two alumni of JDC’s Knafaim young leadership program – Igor Tvoretskiy, a 2011 graduate, and Tatiana Maron, a 2014 graduate.

Once students graduate from Knafaim, many continue creating volunteer projects to benefit the community – and continue supporting their fellow students’ endeavors.

‘We were very happy to mark the anniversary with the tournament. The Moscow Maccabi soccer team has existed for many years, and from time to time, it organizes games with Jewish teams not just in Moscow, but all over the world,’ Tvoretskiy said. ‘This year, thanks to JDC and private donors, we had the possibility to hold a tournament in Moscow and welcome our Israeli guests.’

The men taught soccer skills to the children, spoke about soccer in Israel, and taught some Hebrew soccer vocability. Then the boys and girls, aged 5 to 14, were divided into groups for scrimmage games.

‘I’m very glad we had the possibility to visit the camp and speak to the children … and inspire them to be passionate about sports,’ said Slava Gokhvat, the Israeli team’s captain. ‘We had a very good game with them. Some of the boys were really great at soccer! Maybe one of them will be the next Jewish soccer champion.’

Also on the docket was a training for at-risk children and families who were clients of JDC’s Jewish Family Service – part of a special focus on children throughout the tournament. During the event, the soccer players donated money to help one boy whose family is in a precarious situation.

‘When the soccer players expressed a desire to help a child in need in the Moscow community, we contacted JFS and they gratefully shared the story of a family who needs help,’ said Maron. ‘It’s very inspiring that this was not just a soccer tournament but a tournament with a mission of helping and inspiring kids. That’s a real, vivid example of a caring Jewish community.’

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