“It was time that this event happened in Berlin”

The 14th European Maccabi Games (EMG) are taking place in Berlin from 27 July until 5 August 2015. More than 2,000 Jewish athletes from 36 countries will compete in 19 sports from football to fencing to chess. To accompany the games Tamar Lewinsky and Theresia Ziehe are producing a series of portraits with interviews, introducing a new member of the German delegation from Berlin every day here on the blog. They conducted the interviews on the grounds of the TuS Maccabi in Berlin’s Grunewald where Stephan Pramme also shot the portraits.

Tom Meshulam (23), futsal

Young man sitting on a table with a lot of soccer balls at his feet

Tom (23) futsal © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo: Stephan Pramme

Tom, was does it mean to you that the European Maccabi Games are coming for the first time to Berlin?

For me personally, it’s very special. It’s a ‘home game’ because I’m from Berlin. I grew up here and celebrated my bar mitzvah here. Now more than 2,000 athletes will travel here from around the world. It’s going to be a great experience. I think it’s time that, after Vienna and Rome, this event happens in Berlin. One doesn’t always need to put the past in the foreground – it’s important to look forward.

What are the requirements for participation in the EMG?

You have to be good at your sport and make it onto the team. We’ve known each other on the futsal team for a number of years already, and we all get along well. Aside from athletics, it’s about enjoying the experience and having fun. You have to be Jewish, of course, and prove it. But you don’t have to be a member of a Jewish community or of a Maccabi sports club.

Is there a typically Jewish sport?

A typically Jewish sport? Hard to say. Jews excel at all kinds of sports: here in Germany, particularly at chess and swimming. But I couldn’t say that one sport is typically Jewish.

Tamar Lewinsky, curator of contemporary history, and Theresia Ziehe, curator of photography, are keeping their fingers crossed for all their interviewees at the European Maccabi Games!

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