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Permanent Memorial to Israel's 1972 Munich Olympic Games Athletes

Permanent Memorial to Israel's 1972 Munich Olympic Games Athletes

Permanent Memorial to Israel's 1972 Munich Olympic Games Athletes

By Doron Krakow, President & CEO, JCC Association of North America

On September 6, 2017, a decades-long injustice to the memory of Israel's Olympic athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games was rectified with the dedication of a permanent memorial to their memory in the very same Munich Olympic Park, where those devastating events took place.

Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, widows of fencing coach Andrei Spitzer and weight lifter Yossef Romano, fought tirelessly for this kind of recognition, and have become the leading representatives of all of the surviving family members. It comes a year after the International Olympic Committee finally recognized the murdered Israelis in the Olympic Village at last year's games in Rio de Janeiro. They created a unique transferable, memorial that will travel every four years to each Olympic site.

The JCC Movement played an important part in the enormous effort that ultimately yielded this long sought recognition. Back in 2012, the JCC Maccabi Games® was hosted by JCC Rockland. Rockland's CEO, David Kirschtel, and his JCC's leadership began an initiative intended to, push the International Olympic Committee (IOC) into holding a minute of silence during the opening ceremonies of that summer's Olympic Games in London.

An online petition begun by the JCC generated more than 112,000 signatures, as well as a great deal of publicity and press, drawing the support of then-President Barack Obama and Republican presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney. Though the IOC remained unmoved, the petition had left its mark. , On the night of the opening ceremonies, Bob Costas, NBC's voice of the Olympic Games, held his own 12-second silence for the Munich 11—an eternity on live television—as the Israeli delegation marched into the Olympic Stadium.

For Ankie Spitzer, Ilana Romano and any number of others, these efforts and others like them, were instrumental in bringing about this week's memorial dedication in Munich. We can and should be very very proud.

Remembering the Munich 11 was made possible through the efforts of countless community members working together. It is this profound commitment to community that is at the heart of every JCC experience. It was has been on display this week in Houston at The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center (ERJCC) in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. As they begin the arduous road to recovery from the devastation, you can still help the JCC get resources directly into the hands of those who need it by participating in our e-Gift card campaign here, or by making a donation to Jewish Federations of North America's (JFNA) hurricane relief fund.

As we head into the High Holidays, our thoughts are with the people of Houston and those in Florida facing the unknown in the path of Hurricane Irma. There are 16 JCCs in our network in Florida, that will confront this latest crisis with the knowledge that strength and power of community is by their side.

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About JCC Association

JCC Association strengthens and leads JCCs, YM-YWHAs and camps throughout North America. As the convening organization of the JCC Movement, JCC Association partners with JCCs to bring together the strength of their collective power and knowledge. JCC Association offers services and resources to increase the effectiveness of JCCs as they provide educational, cultural, social, recreational, and Jewish identity building programs to enhance Jewish life throughout North America. By supporting the 25,000 Jewish communal professionals who connect with two million JCC participants each year—JCC Association encourages engaged lives of purpose and meaning.

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About JWB Jewish Chaplains Council

JWB Jewish Chaplains Council is a US government-accredited agency for serving the religious and requirements of Jewish military personnel, their families, and patients in VA hospitals, or wherever they serve.

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