Irony of Ages
The time for the next Maccabiah, that is the Jewish Olympics, is fast approaching. Every four years, Jewish athletes from the Diaspora and Israeli athletes meet in noble sportive combat. The whole circus is organized by the Maccabi World Union.
The name of the games is taken from the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jewish revolt against the Greeks and Hellenized Jews in the second century B.C.E.. Those guys reestablished Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel for a few generations, until the Romans moved in, and for millennia the only celebration of their efforts was the minor holiday of Chanukkah.
When early Zionists, eager to wash away the stigma of Jewish weakness and humiliation in their attempts to create a new Jew, established this sporting event celebrating the Muskeljude, the Maccabees seemed like an obvious choice.
That’s all very nice I guess, but isn’t it ironic (in the Alanis Morisette-way), that the original Maccabees actually risked their lives revolting against the very same Greek culture that stands as the model for the modern games that carry their name?