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July 14, 2017

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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 14, 2017 Hillel Kuttler Robbie Felnberg and Hayley Isenberg, Jewish athletes from Harvard, make up one of the many couples participating in the 2017 Maccabiah Games. By Hillei Kuttler back to 1932. The 20th Mac- cabiah opened Thursday night RAMAT GAN, Israel (JTA)-- in Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium Danny Janel first noticedAlli- with a festive procession of son Silfen's smile in July 2013. approximately 10,000 athletes They were hanging out with from 80 nations. It will run other athletes in a hotel room through July 18. afeweveningsafterarrivingin Now, four years into a Israel. He was smitten,promising relationshipandas She had already noticednewly minted college gradu- him on the flight over. Half ates--Janel from Connecticut asleep, Silfen creaked open College, Silfen from Maine's her eyes just as Janel stepped Bowdoin College--the two to the rear of the airplane to New York City-area residents don tefillin, are back to compete in the "I spotted a good-looking Maccabiah. Jewish guy," Silfen remem- They aren't the only couple bered of that first glimpse, who met at the Games. Janel and Silfen had come Silfen's coach here, Sherry here to play for the basket- Levin, said she knows of 10 ball teams representing the pairs brought together by United States at the Macca- the Maccabiah. Levin recalls biah Games, the quadrennial chairing the 2001 U.S. wom- sports competition dating en'sbasketbaliteamwhenone of her players, Leslie Carlson, met Jordan Schlachter, a member of the men's team. They married in 2003. Not all the relationships last, of course. Someone who went out with a guy she met at a Maccabiah? Levin. Another basketball couple here is Robbie Feinberg and Hayley Isenberg, Maccabiah teammates of Janel and Silfen. They met at Harvard's fresh- man orientation for athletes two years ago. Discovering that the other was a Jewish ballplayer sparked a friend- ship and, eight months later, romance. "We'll be able to talk about this forever," Isenberg said of the two reaching the Mac- cabiah. The gold medalist in the Maccabiah romance pantheon is hoopster Todd Schayes, who at the 2001 opening ceremony displayed a placard publicizing his search for an Israeli wife. He didn't land a native, but an American, Diane Lipner, con- tacted him. They were married in 2003 and are in Israel now: Todd, a nephew of the late NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, coaches the American men's over-45 basketballers; Diane is playing masters-division tennis. "I truly wanted to find that one special person--andwhat better way than to mix athlet- ics and Judaism? The Mac- cabiah and Israel will always be part of the story," Schayes said of his stunt. About the Janel-Silfen ro- mance, Schayes said: "I love hearing stories like that. It's such a wonderful byproduct of the Games." Levin says the Maccabiah provides three key elements to foster romance among the participants: sports, Judaism andwhat for many is their first visit to Israel. "We're so open to the fact that we're all Jewish, and if it's im- portantforyouto meetand date a Jewish man or woman, then what a wonderful event," said Levin, gesturing toward the 1,100-member American con- tingent gathered here Tuesday for a raucous, pre-competition booster rally at Maccabi World Union headquarters. "The shared experience of the Maccabiah Games, and pride in country and heritage, brings everybody together. It's such an intense experience." So much so that Daniel Greyber, who captained the men's swimming team in 1993, returned to Israel two years later on a work-study program. He met his future wife, Jennifer, on a swimming outing in the Jezreel Valley. Now the rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in Durham, North Carolina, Greyber is serving as the American delegation's spiritual leader for the second consecutive quadrennial. "People are in an environ- ment they excel in and are excited to be in. It's a conflu- ence of factors that are unique and beautiful," Greyber said. That is especially so, he said, for those lacking strong Jew- ish affiliations. Opportunities abound. Athletes in the four age divi- sions (junior, open, masters and paralympics) mingle daily in their hotel lobbies, at meals and parties, on the street, at ceremonies, while touring and at the venues where the 47 sports are being contested. Heading into the Macca- biah, the American delegation experiences Israel Connect, a weeklong schedule of touring and organized discussions on Judaism and Zionism. The bus rides, visits to historical sites, hikes, rest stops, even a group b'nei mitzvah ceremony for those who never had Allison Silfen and Danny cabiah Games. one--this year, said Greyber, more than 200 people took advantage--make starting conversations easy. For Silfen and Janel in 2013, the opener was far less substantive. "I don't have your Snap- chat," Janel said he told Silfen. At a July4th party a few days later, he asked her to dance. They sat together at Shabbat services, took walks after din- ner, telephoned when their teams toured separately and shared buses on joint trips. "I was assertive," Janel acknowledged. "It was my first time in Israel," Silfen said. "We spent a lot of time together." After the games, and living 200 miles apart, they would see each other every few Hillel Kuttler Janel met at the 2013 Mac- months. In long telephone calls, they encouraged each other in academics and sports. "We're both very goal- driven," Janel said. "Ali likes to push me a lot. She wants me to be the best I can be." "Playing in the Maccabiah Games and meeting Danny has strengthened my ties to Judaism," said Silfen, who served on the board of Bow- doin's Hillel. "After being here, I wanted to be connected to my Jewish roots." Their Jewish ties could soon deepen. Silfen is considering offers to play professionally in Israel, and Janel would join her if that happens. "We're living the moment, enjoying the experience," she said. "Our future is bright. I'm excited for what comes next." Dr. Itzak Brook giving a presentation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. By Itzhak Brook, M.D. First person One of the greatest chal- lenges of a medical corps team member is to care for captured andwounded enemy soldiers. I served as an army medic dur- ing the 1967 Six Day War in the battle over Jerusalem and as a battalion physician in the 1973 Yom Kippur War in the Sinai Desert. In both wars I cared for many captured and wounded enemy prisoners. The Six Day War in 1967 broke out two weeks before the end of my last year at Hadas- sah Medical School in Jerusa- lem. I had worked as a nurse in the emergency room of the Hadassah University hospital for the prior two years and I was stationed at that hospital when the war started. I also went out with the ambulances to evacuate the wounded back to the hospital and cared for them during the ride. During the first 72 hours we took care of over 500 wounded soldiers and civilians, among them many Jordanian and Egyptian prisoners of war. All the wounded received the same care at the hospital, whether they were Jordanian, Egyptian or Israeli. I cared for many enemy soldiers and struggled to save their lives. For me, they were human beings in need of medi- cal attention. Watching my medical-school teachers and the medical teams at Hadas- sah fight for the lives of men who were fighting against us set an ethical standard for me thaLI adhered to when I became a physician. As a battalion physician in the Yom Kippur War, I took care of several wounded Egyptian soldiers, providing them with the same level of treatment that I gave my own injured men. Even though I had mixed feelings about treating the wounded enemy soldiers, I saw them first and foremost as human beings in need of help.While my natural instincts and years of medical training urged me to help any wounded warrior to the best of my ability, I could not deny the feeling of animosity to- ward the enemy in the heat of battle. I managed to overcome these misgivings, however, in the hopes that our captured soldiers would be treated as well as we were treating the Egyptians. To me, caring for these enemy prisoners of war humanized our adversary, and I felt inner satisfaction that I could still honor the sanctity of the human life, avalue with which I had been raised. In particular, an experience with an injured Egyptian prisoner of war, a fighter pilot whose plane was downed by an Israeli jet, changed my perspective and humanized our adversaries. As I mended his broken leg and bandaged his burns, he showed me a picture of his family as a sign of gratitude. In the pictures were two young children, the same ages as my own two children. I realized at that moment that he too wanted to see them again. Following this encounter, it became emotionally easier for me to treatotherwounded Egyptian soldiers. Many of these wounded soldiers were visibly scared to death when I approached them. I could see the fear in their eyes, as if they expected that I would harm them. I wondered if their fear was based on knowing what they would have done to me should I have been a prisoner of war. I also assumed that years of anti-Israeli propaganda de- picted us as monsters. Most of these soldiers were tense and apprehensive throughout the treatment and looked in disbelief as we worked to care for their wounds. I was proud that I could overcome my an- ger and treat these individuals as I would have wanted to be treated in a similar situation. I knew that asa Jew and as a medical professional itwas my duty to do so. The medical corps of the Is- raeli Defense Forces (IDF) had always provided medical care for all injured soldiers even if they were their adversaries. This is one of the core values of the IDF and is also spelled out in the oath taken by all the physicians of the Israeli Medical Corps. (see picture of IDF Medical Corps oath) In- deed, thispolicy is being imple- mented today as the IDF has opened a field hospital near the Syrian bor- der and cares for victims of the civil war in that country. Even though there is an offi- cial state of war between Syria and Israel, over three thousand injuredandsick Syrian nationals have so far been treated at this hospital. It is my hope that those wounded enemy soldiers and civilians that we cared for in 1967, 1973, and today have served as emissaries for peace and reconciliation after they returned to their homes. Hopefully, their testimonies have advanced the cause of peace. Dr. Itzhak Brook served as a medic in the Six Day War and as a battalion physician in the Yom Kippur War. He is a professor of Pediatrics in Georgetown University. Dr. Brook is a speaker for the Israeli Embassy in Wash- ington, D.C., http://www. Speakers-Guide/Society- and-Politics/Pages/Itzhak- Brook.aspx) and authored the book "In the Sands of Sinai: A Physician's Account of the Yom Kippur War." The book is available at https://