AFTER a memorable week of exciting social and sporting activities, the 31st Maccabi Australia Junior Carnival came to a close in Sydney on Tuesday, with organisers and participants heaping praise on the biggest sporting and social event on the Jewish calendar.
Carnival manager Danny Hochberg said the event lived up to its billing as one of the best in recent memory.
“Put it this way, nothing’s gone to plan, but it’s been brilliant. The Carnival is a moving beast, when you’re on the ground things change all the time and you need to be able to adapt,” he told The AJN.
“The kids wouldn’t know a thing, but they’ve had the most unbelievable experience.”
Victorian participant Bailey Melzak said: “It’s been a great experience. I’ve made a lot of new friends and the events have been really fun. My favourites were probably the harbour cruise and the foam party.”
NSW participant Jordan Ulif added: “Everything has been really fun. The sport has been great, there have been awesome parties and I’ll definitely think about going next year.”
From the newly introduced sports of Ultimate Frisbee and AFL 9s, to the popular mud run and beach day, participants have been on the go non-stop living the Junior Carnival life.
“[The response] has been unbelievable,” Hochberg said.
“If you look at the social activities, they’ve been brilliant and extremely well executed.
“The important thing is that [the participants] all have a good time, but the key to a Carnival is the sport and I think we’ve taken a dramatic step forward in this Carnival by changing the way sport is played.”
As with every Carnival, there have been minor hiccups, but the most impressive aspect for Hochberg is the way the state managers and their youth leaders have handled it all and bonded as a team.
“If you ask me, has there been logistical and other issues, of course there has, but we’ve managed them all really efficiently and I don’t think looking back on it that it’s been anything but an extremely successfully executed Carnival, ” said Hochberg.
“There were two great aspects to it, one is the way we’ve worked together and bonded so strongly and when issues arose between management they were resolved. And the second one is the smiles on the kids’ faces.”
With the Jewish community of Perth set to host next year’s Carnival, Hochberg said they can take several lessons from the way Sydney hosted event.
“Perth is always a smaller Carnival therefore it has a slightly different character,” Hochberg said.
“I hope that Perth adopts the tournament style sports that we’ve started, I think the kids participate much better and it’s more exciting for them … [and] they could do a couple of feature events like we’ve done, like beach day or the mud run.”
Photo: Henry Benjamin