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A Look At History And Challenges: Global Athletes Unite At The 2023 Maccabi Games

August 10, 2023

This past Saturday and Sunday Jewish athletes between the ages of 13 and 18 from around the country and globe came to South Florida to participate in the 2023 Maccabi Games. The event participants are part of the global network of Jewish Community Centers, JCC's. As with any event of this magnitude it truly takes the village. The last time the Maccabi Games were here in South Florida was well over 5 years ago. Many cities including ours passed resolutions welcoming many of the athletes. I am not certain of the exact number, but some are staying right here in Hallandale Beach with host families.

On Monday night they held the grand opening ceremony for the Juniors and the lighting of the torch in Sunrise, Florida at the FLA Live Stadium formerly known as the BB&T Center. I had an opportunity to represent Hallandale Beach along with many of my fellow mayors, Broward County Commission, State Representatives and Congress Members were at the event. The significance of the games is far greater than simply our young Jewish athletes coming together and participating in many sports. They actually represent a rich history that began back in 1932 and then became a grade or symbol of Jewish strength and resiliency.

I thought the games were simply tied to the history of the Jews who successfully organized a rebellion against a Palestinian ruler who defiled the Temple of Jerusalem. The Maccabi name was given in honor of the family and their son who actually led the rebellion. The word Maccabi in Hebrew may be read as hammer or extinguisher. So, to me I figured it was synonymous with games.

Originally there was opposition to the games which began in 1932. Even with this opposition they built a stadium in Tel Aviv and over 18 countries participated. After the games which were supposed to take place every three years in 1935 there was greater opposition from the British government who actually ruled over the territory. Even with this opposition athletes still stood strong, and 28 nations participated.

In 1938, the games were postponed until 1950. This was due to obvious reasons of upheaval and British Control over the government. There were concerns over illegal migration and then obviously World War II and in 1948 the Arab Israeli war. It was not until 1953 that the games began to take place every four years until 2021 due to COVID-19. In 2022 after COVID-19, they held one of the largest Maccabi Games which was actually attended by President Joe Biden. He was the first President to attend the Games.

Maccabi Games also actually mark a tragic point in Olympic history. They now do ceremonies in honor and memory of the athletes that were killed at the Munich Games in 1972. 11 Israeli Olympians were held as hostages and then later killed at the airport by PLO Terrorists. There is an interesting fact about the Olympics and the acknowledgement of the tragedy. The Olympic Committee took years to acknowledge this tragedy and finally 2016 does a moment of silence at the Olympics to honor these athletes and coaches.

The athletes will be here in Florida over the week competing in many sports. There's Soccer, Hockey, Tennis, Baseball, you name it, the athletes come from around the globe including Africa, Ukraine, Canada and many states. They also have their form of Special Olympics which is called access. If you want you can find out more by visiting their website or downloading their app and going to see all of the games.
For a year many of our residents have been following Legislation that addresses Derelict Vessels and Vessels moored in open water. North Lake and South Lake in Hollywood have always had boats moored but due to COVID-19, there was an abundance of boats and people staying on boats in this open water. Many of the boats were actually pumping their bilges and contaminating the waterway. Many also created access issues for other boats to navigate. Hollywood went to the State Legislators and actually started a Pilot Program to Regulate these types of mooring.

The Laws Regulating boat mooring date back centuries ago as far back as the 1600’s but since the Revolutionary War in the late 1700’s, The United States Government established our set of laws. Admiralty Law governs ports and waterways owned by the government. While each individual state has control over establishing these laws the U.S. Coast Guard actually enforces them. Most of them are still in place today.
Hallandale Beach over the years has also had Vessels moored in Golden Isles Lake. We do have Rules and Regulations regarding boating, and we actually have a marine patrol however we cannot prevent boats from mooring the open lake. Recently a boat broke free and actually ended up at the docks at one of the condominiums. Our Police Department was notified, and they have been working diligently contacting the owner and getting the owner to move the boat.

Obviously, the residents were quite alarmed and due to the Admiralty Laws there is a time of 90 days for the ability for us to remove the boat. After this occurrence, I mentioned the issue during a meeting and requested that our City Attorney and Police Department look into what regulations we may or may not enforce on the lake to ensure the security of the surrounding properties. More importantly, how can we expedite the removal of Derelict Boats?

Last week, the Commission was going to hear a presentation on this issue, but it was postponed due to an Emergency I had. I want to thank those residents that showed up and those that wrote in with their concerns about the Safety Issues as well as their concerns about Derelict Vessels in the lake. The item will be heard at our next meeting.

As always please feel free to contact me anytime with your questions, concerns and ideas to make our City a better place! I am available by email at:, Or at: On my Office number at: (954) 457-1318. Or on my Cell/Text at: (954) 632-5700. You can always visit my Facebook and follow me at Mayor Joy Cooper.

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