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Press Release – 17 January 2005

Israeli Deaflympic team welcomed by the Jewish community

January 17, 2005

On Tuesday January 11, 2005 the Israeli Deaflympic team attended a community welcome held at the Jewish Museum of Australia. Co-hosted by the State Zionist Council of Victoria, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria and the Jewish Museum of Australia, with the help of Maccabi Victoria and Jewish Care, the Israeli team were given a warm reception by members of the community.

Tony Lupton MP addressed the team with warm words of support and encouragement as did Dr. Danny Lamm, President of the SZC and Mr Michael Lipshutz, President of the JCCV. The main theme of all their addresses; anachnu itchem – we’re with you!

Mr David Lanesman, head of the Israeli delegation to the 2005 Melbourne Deaflympics was overwhelmed by the community support and thanked those present for making the team feel so special and welcomed.

In a special announcement at the community welcome, it was made known that in a conference held in Melbourne just before the commencement of the Deaflympics, Mr Lanesman was elected as Vice-President of the official World Deaflympic Committee – the first ever Israeli to hold such an honoured position.

One of the team’s highlights during their stay in Melbourne was the visit to the Royal Melbourne Zoo organised by the State Zionist Council and the Jewish Community Council of Victoria. Although the koalas and wombats slept through the team�s visit, the kangaroos gave a superb performance and entertained the team for over half an hour.

The Israeli team comprised 5 athletes, their coaches, managers and security staff. Overcoming issues of funding and distance, the contingent of 14 people enjoyed success in their events, with swimmer Yael Raz reaching the butterfly finals. More importantly, the experience of participating in an elite, international sports competition, representing Israel was a source of great pride, not only for the team but for the Melbourne Jewish Community.

Whilst their were initial concerns that communication would be a challenge, volunteer interpreters and the good will of the team and their hosts ensured that there were no communication issues. Translating from English to Ausland sign (Australian sign language) to Hebrew signing or the other way around, all with a smile, ensured that everyone was always on the same wave length.

Click here to view photos.