The 19th Maccabiah Games opened at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on Thursday. The Maccabiah Games is the third largest sporting event in the world after the Olympics and World Cup Soccer.
Athletes paraded into the stadium, country by country, in alphabetical order by the Hebrew alphabet. About 9,000 Jewish athletes from more than 70 countries will compete in the Games.
The opening ceremony featured musical performances from the likes of Carly Rose Soneclar, runner-up on the “X-Factor,” and Miri Ben Ari, a Grammy-winning Israeli violinist.
More celebrities attended the ceremony including American Olympic gold medal gymnast Aly Raisman, who lit the Maccabiah torch. Israeli President Shimon Peres and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also attended the opening ceremony and addressed the crowd.
President Barack Obama delivered a video message to the athletes and spectators talking about the connection between the United States and Israel.
There are 1,100 athletes from the United States competing. Five athletes from Pittsburgh will participate including Destin Groff (swimming), Lily Feldman (soccer), Daniella Rabin (gymnastics), Keaton Baum (ice hockey) and Jesse Goleman (futsal).
The Chronicle will follow the Games and report on the progress of Pittsburgh’s athletes
(Andrew Goldstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)