With humble beginnings in 1924, Maccabi across Australia now has over 40,000 supporters and more than 9,000 participants who take part in our Sport and Wellbeing programs. The demographic of our members is from 5 to 85 years and every week they engage in many activities that provide an opportunity for them to connect and form lifelong friendships.
Maccabi was formed with the purpose of developing and coordinating grassroots activities, encouraging participation in sport and pursuing healthier outcomes for the community
Today Maccabi across Australia hosts, manages and supports programs that enable broad community engagement. Through the programs we provide Connection, Continuity and improved health outcomes. As the official roof body for Jewish Sport in Australia we play a relevant, meaningful and important role in the Jewish community.
With a presence in 4 states across the country, there is a Maccabi club or a wellbeing activity near you. To obtain further information about what is available in each state, select the relevant state from the map.
Sport has enriched the life of the Australian Jewish Community for more than one hundred years, culminating in the establishment of Maccabi Australia in 1957.
Over the years many events have been associated with Maccabi Australia, including Carnivals, both Senior and Junior, Maccabi Australia International Games (MAIGS), Jewish Community Centre (JCC) Games, Pan American Games, European Games, and the focal point – the Maccabiah Games. Whatever the nature of the event, a common thread runs through the history of Maccabi Australia – the thread of connecting the community – through friendship, sporting trends, training in leadership and responsibility, even through responses to tragedy.
Maccabi Australia symbolises community, friendship and the competitive spirit. Just as sport maintains an important role in society, Maccabi Australia enriches the Jewish Community, confirming its place in the history of our people.
To be the organisation of first choice for the Australian Jewish Community to participate in Sport and Wellbeing activities.
To engage and strengthen the Australian Jewish community by:
- Developing and promoting the opportunity for all members to share and embrace their Jewish identity through sport & wellbeing activities
- Encouraging participation in sport through annual carnivals and competitive sporting events at the state, national and international level.
- Engaging a wider demographic in activities centered on Health and Wellbeing with the purpose of increasing participation, growing membership and improving the health outcomes for the community.
- Working actively to support programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish continuity, support for the state of Israel and excellence in sport.
- Creating a sustainable and prosperous financial position for Maccabi across Australia that enables the organization to support the objectives and ambitions of the state bodies and clubs.
- To be forward focused and embracing of opportunities which ensure the longevity of Maccabi across the country.
Maccabi honor’s the following values:
“Connecting the Jewish Community through Sport and Wellbeing”
Maccabi Australia, together with our member states and affiliated clubs, exists to promote Jewish identity and continuity – connecting our Jewish community through sport and wellbeing
We are the largest Jewish grassroots organisation in Australia, with a history that spans almost a century, and thousands of members who connect every year through our clubs and programs.
Maccabi symbolises community, friendship, connection and competitive spirit. Just as sport maintains an important role in society, Maccabi has and will continue to play an intrinsic part of the fabric of the Australian Jewish community.
We provide opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to not only get active, but also form lifelong friendships.
We have a clear and bold Vision for Sport, active participation and wellbeing in the community. Through our club structure and the Maccabi Life program we provide more reasons and options for the broader community to engage in a healthy lifestyle.
A sustainable future for Maccabi has been created by
- Using Sport to promote social inclusion and cohesion
- Promoting exercise and regular activity as a positive benefit to both physical and mental wellbeing.
- Creating and supporting programs that will inspire the next generation
- Advocating and leading the way on relevant health and wellbeing matters
In the 1800’s sport was organised for a small group of Jews living in Australia. By 1912 there were 6 sporting organisations in Sydney.
In 1924, The Sydney Judaean Amateur Athletic Association (SJAA) wrote to Rabbi Israel Brodie in Melbourne asking if there was any interest in an interstate cricket match. The Judaean league of Victoria replied and the result was a cricket match between the two states in Melbourne in December 1924.
1925 saw the beginning of the annual sporting carnivals. The first was held in Sydney between New South Wales and Victoria in 4 sports for men: cricket, athletics, swimming and tennis. Women competed in the 1928/29 carnival for the first time. This carnival was held in Melbourne.
After the 9th carnival in Melbourne held in 1934 the Australian Judaean Sports Council (AJSC) was established to control Jewish sport in Australia and be responsible for the annual carnivals. It wasn’t until 1954 when it was decided that the seat of office of the Council would alternate on a 3 year basis between Melbourne and Sydney. The late Basil Isaacs became the first President.
In 1960 the name of the organisation was changed to Australian Maccabi Council and then again in 1974 to Australian Maccabi Federation.
In 1991 the name was changed to Maccabi Australia Inc. (MAI). In 2004, The Maccabi Australia constitution was changed. In 2007, a Board of Governors was formed and a Grievance Committee as well as a governance process was established.
Australia first competed at the 3rd Maccabiah Games in Israel in 1950 with one tennis player, Elias Honig. Since then, the participation at the Games has increased significantly and has hit a peak of 560 competitors in 2017. The most significant moment in Maccabi Australia’s history was the collapse of the bridge over the Yarkon River at the opening Ceremony of the Maccabiah Games in 1997. The collapse resulted in death of four Australian competitors and injury to numerous others.
The first Maccabi Australia Games (MAGS) was held in Canberra in 2004 and the first Maccabi Australia International Games (MAIGS) was held in Sydney 2006 with a large number of overseas countries competing. An Australian team competed at the Pan American Maccabi Games for the first time in 1991 in Uruguay and have sent a team to 7 Pan Am Games the most recent held in Mexico 2019. We have also sent teams to the European Games starting in 1983 and have been at another 4 since then, the last one in Budapest in 2019. Also, teams have participated in JCC/ Maccabi USA youth games
The 38th Junior carnival was held in Perth Western Australia and the 39th and 4oth Carnivals will be remembered as the @home Carnival impacted by the COVID-19 impact on travel.
Today , Maccabi Australia has 5 affiliated state bodies across the country – including New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. Maccabi Australia is a member of the Maccabi World Union, the Zionist Federation of Australia, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and the Australian Sports Foundation.
Maccabi Australia’s Board consists of a President, a Treasurer, plus a further five to seven Directors. The Presidents of Maccabi Victoria, Maccabi New South Wales and Maccabi Western Australia completes the MAI Board.
Several observers attend Board Meetings as they hold significant positions in the organisation; these roles include the Chair of the National Fundraising Foundation, Chair of the Board of Governors and Head of Delegation for the Maccabiah.
The full Executive of Maccabi Australia meets a minimum of six times a year, continuing its commitment to strong governance, sound decision-making and national Jewish strategic leadership.
Rodney joined the MAI Board in 2020 and was appointed President in 2023. He has been involved with Maccabi since arriving in Australia in 1987 attending Junior and Senior Carnivals and being a member of a number sports clubs. He served on the Maccabi NSW Board for over 6 years including being President of Maccabi NSW.
Rodney is extremely passionate about sport and has been involved with Maccabi as a player, coach and manager. He is a keen footballer and represented Maccabi Australia at the Maccabiah Games in 2017 and 2022, the Pan Am Games in Argentina in 2008 and 2023 the MAIGS Games in Sydney in 2006.
Rodney worked at a couple of start up companies in Silicon Valley in the US, was a General Manager at Commonwealth Bank of Australia and ran a consulting business for a number of years.
Rodney is married to Kelly and they have two daughters who also love sport and have all represented Australia at the Maccabiah and Pan Am Games for netball.
In addition to sport, the family are very passionate about volunteering and giving back to the community. They were co-founders of the All In Giving Circle in Sydney, which helps not-for-profits to become more sustainable.
Jeff SherChairperson & M25 Head of Delegation
Jeff joined the MAI Board in 2009, having been involved with Maccabi since emigrating from South Africa in 1978. He has served the MAI board in various capacities including National Sports, Leadership and Strategy. As a swimmer and water polo player, Jeff has participated in 7 Maccabiah, winning 15 medals. At the 2009 Games he won 4 Gold Medals, 2 Silver and four years later performed even better, winning 5 Gold, 2 Silver in Masters Swimming across all freestyle distances including the Ocean swim.
He also won bronze medals with the water polo team in 1981 and 85. At the 2017 games was the Team Manager for the Masters swimming team. He has been a Club Secretary of the VIC Swimming Club and of the NSW Water polo Club. He was the recipient of the 2013 Maccabi National and Victorian Masters Sportsman of the year awards. Jeff has an MBA and significant experience in business leadership. He has been a CEO of an Australian public listed and an Executive Director of a South Africa-based transnational listed company. More recently he has been a strategic consultant to a number of significant retail and supply companies.
Marlon AronowitzTreasurer and Secretary
Debbie RutsteinChair Confederation Development
Debbie has been involved as a volunteer from an early age. She began her volunteering adventure at Netzer as a madricha, then was on the AUJS NSW committee as education officer. Soon after she was a pioneer volunteer at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She joined the Emanuel School Board in 2007 until leaving in 2016 where she had become Secretary. Whilst doing this she was a volunteer team manager and at times, coach, for her son and daughter’s Maccabi soccer teams which she did for over ten years. She was a member of the over 35 women’s Maccabi soccer team for three years.
In 2015 she joined the NSW Maccabi Committee. In 2017 she was the assistant youth manager for the Australian team at the Maccabiah Games. In 2018 she was elected to the MAI Board and chaired the MPP subcommittee. She is also sits on the NSW Combined Independent Schools Board, and the Emanuel School Marketing Committee in a voluntary capacity. In her professional life Debbie is a lawyer and has her own practice. In her spare time she loves to follow most sports and is a keen Swans and Roosters supporter. She hopes to ensure that Maccabi is a safe and welcoming place for all.
Belinda WolpertChair National Sport
Belinda emigrated to Australia from South Africa in 1999, together with her husband Julian. Together they have two children and live in Perth, WA. They are very passionate about their sport and enjoy volunteering in their community. Belinda has participated in sport for most of her life and feels that keeping active through physical activity and sport has many benefits for the body and mind. It offers social opportunities which helps to connect people through shared experiences and creates friendships.
Belinda commenced her Maccabi journey as coach and team manager when her children were in primary school. She has helped with Junior Carnivals across all aspects from Sports Coordinator in 2013, Billeting in 2016, Team Manager in 2017/2018, Carnival Manager in 2019 and assisted in running the next two @home Carnivals in Perth during Covid. She joined the WA Maccabi Executive in 2017, taking on the MPP national role and in 2018 became Vice President of Maccabi WA. Most recently she was selected as Team Manager for the Youth Boys Basketball team who travelled to Israel for the Maccabiah Games 2022 and brought home a bronze medal.
Belinda is always ready to assist with whatever Maccabi needs. You’re sure to see her leading our activities from fundraising to club activities and everything in between.
Outside of Maccabi, Belinda is an Early Childhood Educator with over 15 years of experience working at one of the five unique Independent Public Schools in Perth providing services to support students across the state with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). She has a passion for education and demonstrates strong interpersonal skills with a focus on developing and sustaining collaborative relationships.
Susannah SwiatloChair National Leadership
Susannah is born and bred in Victoria. She was active in Maccabi as a teenager participating in carnivals. Her involvement commenced again as a parent at the Maccabi Victoria Basketball club where she has been an active exec and committee member for the last 13 years and in more recent years involved with Maccabi Australia in JCC Games (2014-15) Pan American Games (2019) and Maccabiah Games 2022.
Susannah is a trained social worker with many years experience working in the Department of Justice – Correctional Services.
Susannah feels the Maccabi values of volunteerism, teamwork, respect and community align so closely with her own personal values and interactions & the Maccabi ethos of “connecting our Jewish community through sport and wellbeing” resonates very strongly with her as she focuses on being able to facilitate people to connect, share experiences, bond and create lifelong friendships.
Sam StruninChair National Marketing
Sam has joined the board of Maccabi Australia, with a brief to oversee the organisation’s Marketing/Branding portfolio.
Sam is a proven brand visionary and thought leader who comes to Maccabi Australia after holding the same portfolio with Maccabi Victoria for almost 8 years. Sam has been involved with Maccabi for more than 40 years, having played for the hockey, tennis and football clubs as a junior and continues to play tennis at the Maccabi Victoria Tennis Club.
Sam’s background in Marketing/Branding and digital design spans almost 30 years working with local, national and international brands including Red Cross, Trevor Barker Foundation, Adidas, Loreal, BMG Records, EMI Records, Lion Nathan, Fox FM and others. Sam also provides brand guidance to not-for-profit community organisations.
Sam is passionate about connecting our Jewish community through sport. He has a deep understanding and knowledge of Maccabi and believes strongly in the important roles Maccabi plays in the community. Sam sees his role to ideate, prioritise, develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to create brand messaging and awareness, increase social media followers, and drive membership and brand loyalty across Australia.
He is “Maccabi PROUD” and honoured to be charged with this responsibility and looks forward to sharing Maccabi’s amazing ongoing story through various campaigns, events, digital marketing, PR and intercommunity collaboration.
Lauren EhrlichChair Maccabi Life
Since her arrival back in Australia in 2000 Lauren has been a committee member of the Maccabi NSW Netball Club. She has held positions which have included the presidency, coaching coordinator, umpire coordinator, club secretary, coach (level2) and is a certified National C umpire. She is a past squash player winning at A1 level and has also played tennis at an international level.
Lauren is extremely passionate about sport in general and firmly advocates the Maccabi motto which is connecting our Jewish community through sport. She believes that this promotes the Maccabi identity and brings together people of all ages to participate at all levels in something they love.
Other community involvement includes:
- Past President Moriah College Parents and Friends Association. 2012-2017
- Attended 5 consecutive Maccabiot as athlete and manager positions and winning medals too! Most recently, Regional manager of the North.
- Head of delegation to Pan Am Games Chile-2015/2016
- Athlete / manager Pam Am games Brazil-2011/2012-Bronze medalist
- Medalist in tennis 2005/2009
- Recipient of volunteer of the year from Northern Suburbs Netball Association
Dean Mohr & Sharon RosemanCo- Presidents Maccabi Victoria
Dean Mohr has been involved in Maccabi throughout his sporting life, first as a participant in every possible activity from junior and senior football, to volleyball and table tennis and more recently as a supporting father and coach of his sons’ basketball and football teams. Nothing gives him greater pleasure than being involved in this capacity as he sees his passion for sport and fitness through the eyes of his children. In his professional life Dean is the Managing Director of Bodycare Workplace Solutions who are leaders in workplace health, safety and injury prevention around Australia and New Zealand.
Sharon Roseman has been involved with Maccabi/AJAX for as long as she can remember, beginning at Alma Rd where her dad was the Judo instructor, she had swimming lessons and played tennis. Netball became her sport of choice and over the years Sharon has been a player, coach and administrator. She sat on the committee which amalgamated AJAX Netball Club and North Eastern and was President of MANC for 9years. Sharon is Vice President of Stonnington City Netball Association and Director of their Representative Program.
Sharon is passionate about kids being involved in sport and particularly with keeping girls playing through their teen years and beyond. Her Maccabi highlight was as Team Manager of the Australian Open Netball Team at the Maccabiah Games in 2013 that won gold.
Amanda PenkinPresident Maccabi NSW
Amanda has always seen sports and exercise as a way to keep fit, develop specific skills and make friends. Sporting friendships account for many memorable and favourite times in her youth as well as seen her through some of the toughest challenges in her life.
Amanda has achieved junior Springbok colours for Judo and made state level for swimming and hockey in South Africa and has actively encouraged her kids to seek these opportunities in sport.
Amanda is married to David and together with their two kids competed as a family in the 2017 Maccabiah which was the first time a single family had all competed in one Maccabiah.
Amanda was involved in the Maccabi Amateur Swim Club and as committee member for 7 years and has been on the Maccabi NSW board since 2018. In 2019 she founded the Maccabi Life – Walkie Talkie club with her friends Nicole Katz and Nicky Klugman, a group that boasts over 1,000 members/followers.
She has held many senior positions in business in both South Africa and Australia working with Investec and CBA and currently runs her own consulting business.
Amanda is committed to taking her passion of building the Jewish community through exercise and wellbeing to the broader community.
Justine SharbaneePresident Maccabi WA
Justine Sharbanee joined the Maccabi WA Executive in 2006, but was involved in Maccabi WA many years before that as a Carnival participant and Youth Leader. She attended her first Senior Carnival in Adelaide as a very young (chaperoned) 13 year old in the WA Physical Culture team and then competed every year after that in physical culture, athletics and netball.
Justine represented WA in State team in 1981, 1982 and 1983 as a sprinter and went to the 12th Maccabiah games in 1985 for athletics. As she was living in Israel at the time she ended up represented Israel in the inaugural netball team at the 14th Maccabiah Games in 1993.
Justine was President of Maccabi Netball club from 2006 – 2011 and again 2016 – 2017. She was Junior Carnival Team Manager at the 28th Perth Carnival in 2010 and 2011, Junior Carnival Social Director in Perth Carnival in 2013. Most recently Justine was Team Manager of the Senior Women’s Netball team for the Maccabiah Games in 2017 where the girls won gold.
Out of Maccabi Justine has also been President of the Perth College Netball Academy 2012 – 2017, one of the largest clubs at Perth Netball Association, and worked in fashion marketing and tender proposals for Occupational Physicians.
Justine is married to Paul and has 3 children.
Jacquie SeemannChair Integrity and Governance
Jacquie has been a Maccabi participant since she swam in Maccabi carnivals and fenced for Maccabi as a child. She played indoor hockey, swam and debated for NSW at Maccabi National Carnivals as a young adult; and, as a parent, she managed her children’s futsal, football and netball teams, and was involved in junior team club committees for futsal and netball. Jacquie played football with Maccabi’s Senior Women from ages 42 to 54. She swam in the Masters competition at Maccabiah in 2022. She also loves skiing, hiking, spending time in the surf, and watching a variety of sports.
In her professional life, Jacquie is a partner at national firm Thomson Geer Lawyers. Her main specialties are employment, industrial, discrimination and safety law. Jacquie works in both the public and private sectors, and her expertise spans a wide range of industries including education, sport, health and aged care, community services, financial services, IT, retail and transport.
Jacquie and her team advise on individual and collective employment relationships from recruitment to termination and beyond. An experienced litigator, Jacquie has expertise in unfair dismissal, adverse action and discrimination claims; industrial disputes; and prosecutions for breach of safety laws.
Her sports law work has included developing Member Protection Policies and training materials; drafting constitutions for clubs; drafting coach and player contracts; advising amateur and professional clubs about player, parent and coach misconduct; and advising clubs about employment matters.
From 2014 to 2022, Jacquie was Maccabi NSW’s Honorary Solicitor. She is also a Committee member of Or Chadash Synagogue.
Jacquie is married to Alan (a former AJAX footballer), and they have four adult children (who are thankfully still playing sport).
Dale SmorgonChair National Foundation
Dale is the CEO of Innovative Retail Pty Ltd, a leading supplier of children’s entertainment a family investment company. He is a passionate lover of many sports and played for AJAX Football Club for many years at both junior and senior levels, including being part of the 1999 Reserve Grade Premiership team. Dale has three sons, two of which are active in both Maccabi Basketball Club and AJAX Junior Football Club.
Dale joined the Foundation Board in January 2015.
Harry ProcelChair – Board of Governors
Harry joined Maccabi AJAX Athletics in Victoria in 1967, and competed as an athlete for 25 years becoming a Life Member in 1985. He attended 15 Senior Carnivals over that time. Harry served as a Board Member of Maccabi Victoria for 18 years, and was awarded Life Membership in 1992. He is an inaugural inductee to the Hall of Fame in 2000 and became a legend in 2016.
Harry was on the Board of Maccabi Australia for 22 years and was president from 2005-2011. He has represented Australia at nine Maccabiot, including three times as ‘Head of Delegation’. Harry served as ‘Head of Delegation’ to the Pan American Maccabi Games and two JCC Maccabi Games in the USA and one European Maccabi Games. In 2010 Harry was awarded Life Membership of Maccabi Australia – only the sixth Life Member inducted.
in 2013 Harry was inducted as a Maccabi Yakir on the world stage. He was Chairman of the international Sports Committee of the Maccabiah from 2014-2018 and is currently Chairman of Sport for Maccabi World Union.
Terri KahanFinance Manager
Terri has been with Maccabi Australia for 3 years and has moved up the ranks from Bookkeeper, to Finance Manager and is now the Operations & Finance Manager, leading the finance and operations of the Organisation, while being accountable to the Board via the President. She owned and operated a retail chain for 23year and sold it in 2015. Terri is an invaluable member of the team. Her passion for the brand, outstanding values and effective management skills, together with her always willingness to assist all and her can-do attitude are appreciated by all.
She provides leadership of the organisation and drives the strategy through a values-based culture and with respect for the volunteer nature of the Maccabi organization across Australia. Terri leads the MAI team made up of the Sport Project Manager, Maccabi Life Program Manager, Members Protection Officer and the Donor Management Manager as well as play a key role in working with Maccabiah organising committee to ensure that the strategic objectives of the organisation are delivered.
Laurence MillerSports Manager
Laurence’s Maccabi story began when he emigrated from South Africa as an 11 year old in January 1996. As a kid growing up he was welcomed into the Maccabi family playing for the AJAX Football and Cricket Clubs as well as the Maccabi Basketball Club. As a 16 year old, he changed codes and moved to soccer to play for the North Caulfield Maccabi Senior Football Club where he was involved in 3 promotions in 5 years helping the club achieve the highest level in its history, culminating in captaining the Senior team from 2009-2013.
HIs Maccabiah journey began as an athlete after being selected for the Australia Open Football Team in 2005 and 2009. In 2016, he joined the Maccabiah Management Team as the Sport Operations Coordinator of the largest Australian Team to participate in Israel at the 2017 Maccabiah Games and since then he has continued his association with Maccabi Australia in a Sport Development role as well as the Sport Manager for the 2019 Pan American Games and 2022 Maccabiah Games.
Joleen ZuckerMaccabi Life Program Director
Joleen brings with her a wealth of knowledge in Corporate Events, Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility having had a 18 year career with Westfield. Immigrating from Sourh Africa in 1986 she grew up in the north shore where her childhood and teenage years were spent dancing and playing tennis and netball competitively.
Graduating from UNSW with a Bachelor of social science and policy she started her career at Westfield in Shopping Centre Marketing later moving into Events, Corporate Social Responsibility and Fundraising. Her premier event, the annual Charity Golf and Tennis Invitational along with other campaigns raised more than 5 million dollars for Charity partners supporting families of children with disabilities.
Joleen is extremely passionate about all elements of health and well-being and with a strong sporting background she understands the long term benefits and positive impact it has on your life
MAI was developed to enable the organisation to leverage the national capability and to unify the organisation under one banner. The MAI board exists to serve the imperatives of the States and assist them to deliver value and meaning to the Clubs.
The State bodies are responsible for engaging with the clubs to assist with the development of programs and events. The State offices also play a significant role supporting the clubs with administration, governance and membership matters
Each Club has its own constitution and is responsible for the operational management of the club and the competitions, events and training that its members engage in.
The key message here is that MAI is only involved in matters that have national implication and or have universal benefit. The extent of the centralisation of activity is determined by the States.