The Maccabiah Torch
Swimmer Mark Spitz holds the torch at the 12th Maccabiah, 1985 Photo: Maccabiah Archive
Judoka Yarden Gerbi holds the torch as the 20th Maccabiah, 2017 Photo: Oren Aharoni
Outstanding and leading athletes are invited to light the Maccabiah torch at a ceremony marking the beginning of the Games. Over the years, world renowned sportsmen and sportswomen have come to participate in this moving symbolic event. Mark Spitz, the great swimmer and athlete of all times, lit the Maccabiah torch in 1985. In 1965, when he was only 15 years old, Spitz made his first appearance in the international arena competing at the 7th Maccabiah. Seven athletes were invited to take part in the torch lighting ceremony at the 20th Maccabiah. Among them were the basketball player Omri Caspi, the rhythmic gymnast Neta Rivkin, and the judoka Yarden Gerbi.