Winter has never been so Maccabi!

MAKKABI germany WInterGames 2023

The first MAKKABI Germany WinterGames 2023 at a glance

02.01. - 09.01.2023
Up to 350 participants

competition schedules

Winter has never been so Maccabi!

The MAKKABI Germany WinterGames will go down in history. With over 400 participants from 20 countries on 5 continents - including Ukraine, Israel, USA and Australia - MAKKABI Germany organized the Maccabi Winter Games in Ruhpolding / Bavaria from January 02nd to 09th, 2023 - the first MAKKABI winter sports competitions since 1936 On Sunday, January 08th, 2023, the historic event ended with a festive ceremony including award ceremonies. The most successful delegations were Germany (1st place, a total of 14 gold medals), Israel (2nd place, 12) and the Czech Republic (3rd place, a total of 13 gold medals).

"After a break of 87 years, we have set a milestone in the history of sport,” says Alfi Goldenberg, Chairman of the Organizing Committee and initiator of the WinterGames. “MAKKABI sent a powerful signal for Jewish identity and culture. We brought Jewish winter sports back to the heart of Europe. The MAKKABI WinterGames 2023 laid the foundation for more winter Maccabiot in the years to come.”

A milestone in sports history was set with the MAKKABI Germany Winter Games, a positive signal for Jewish sports as well as for the dynamic Jewish life in Germany and beyond. The last Jewish Winter Games took place in Poland in 1933 and in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1936 before they were banned by the National Socialists and then fell into oblivion within the global Maccabi movement. With the MAKKABI Germany WinterGames 2023, a tradition was revived with a signal effect far beyond the borders of Makkabi.

At the grand opening ceremony on January 2nd, Dr. Josef Schuster (President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany), Dr. Charlotte Knobloch (President of the Jewish Community in Munich and Upper Bavaria), Mahmut Özdemir (Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Homeland, Justus Pfeifer (Mayor of the Ruhpolding Municipality) and Carmela Shamir (Consul General of the State of Israel in Munich) inspiring words of welcome. MAKKABI Germany President Alon Meyer greeted the representatives from sport, society, politics and culture who were present. MAKKABI Germany Vice-President Alfi Goldenberg, spiritus rectus behind the WinterGames, gave an emotional opening speech that gripped all spectators Spectators who had traveled a long way were joined by athletes from the numerous Maccabi delegations, and the Maccabi fire was lit as part of this spectacular celebration. 

The participants competed in alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, laser biathlon, snowboarding, figure skating, snow volleyball and curling. A particular highlight was the snow volleyball competition at an altitude of 2.000 meters with the finals between Israel and Ukraine. But Maccabi is more than just sport: We made it possible for Maccabi athletes from all over the world to meet, and the special Maccabi spirit was palpable at all times.

A special moment for all participants was certainly the big Kabbalat Shabbat (beginning of the Jewish day of rest on Friday evening), also with many guests and numerous non-Jewish participants. Musically framed by the a cappella band KippaLive from Israel, there was a very special atmosphere up to the Havdallah (end of the rest day) on Saturday evening.

In addition, there was a diverse educational and supporting program. For example, Prof. Manfred Lämmer (German Sports University Cologne) and the Holocaust and Olympic assassination survivor Prof. Shaul Ladany (Israel) gave lectures on the history and present of the Maccabi movement and the 1972 Olympic assassination in Munich, which also included a exhibition presented throughout the week as well as a virtual reality offer from Bayerischer Rundfunk. This and other events were organized and carried out by the Central Council of Jews and the educational project “Together1” 

The Winter Games once again showed how open Maccabi is – all Maccabees could take part, regardless of religion or origin. "We are certain that the MAKKABI Germany WinterGames 2023 is the start of a long-lasting tradition, which, like the Maccabiah in Israel, is regularly held all over the world," says Makkabi Germany. During the Winter Games, the US Maccabi Association announced that it intends to host the next MAKKABI Winter Games in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Participating delegations


Maccabi Australia


Maccabi Australia



  • Alpine skiing
  • Snowboard
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Biathlon
  • Figure Skating
  • Icestockschiessen
  • Snow Volleyball

Maccabi Estonia


Maccabi Finland


Maccabi France

Great Britain

Maccabi Great Britain


Maccabi Netherlands


Maccabi Israel


Maccabi Italy


Maccabi Canada


Maccabi Mexico


Maccabi Switzerland


Maccabi Slovakia


Maccabi Ukraine


Maccabi Hungary


Maccabi USA


Maccabi Czech Republic


Dr. Joseph Schuster

President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany

I wish the athletes much success in the competitions and much joy in the great events surrounding the Maccabi WinterGames. For the guests and all of us, I hope for peaceful, happy and successful games. Maccabi Chai!

Board of Trustees

MDWG Photo Aigner

Ilse Aigner

President of the Bavarian State Parliament

But Maccabi - that was and is always more than a sports club. It is a feeling and an attitude. Fairness, tolerance, mutual respect, openness to the world, community spirit across generations and religions - that is Maccabi.

I wish all participants and the whole Maccabi family light-hearted games, much success and all the best!

©Daniel Schvarcz_IKG_20211209_527

Dr. Charlotte Knobloch

President of the Jewish Community in Munich and Upper Bavaria

The MAKKABI Germany WinterGames will take place in Ruhpolding in January 2023 with a planned 350 participants from Germany, Europe and beyond. For many years, the association has shown that sport can make an essential contribution to a successful democratic society and is vehemently committed to combating and avoiding anti-Semitism and exclusion of any kind.


Carmela Shamir

Israeli Consul General for Southern Germany

It is both an honor and a pleasure for me to support the MAKKABI Germany WinterGames 2023 as a member of the Board of Trustees. As Consul General of the State of Israel for Southern Germany, I am particularly pleased that the games will be held in Bavaria.

My wish for these historic Winter Games is that sport and team spirit connect people across cultures and bring them together.


Justus Pfeifer

First Mayor
of Ruhpolding municipality

It is a special pleasure for Ruhpolding to be the host. The MAKKABI Germany WinterGames 2023 offer an ideal setting to enable and intensify social interaction with the Jewish community, the international participants and the people of Ruhpolding. enable and intensify.

I am looking forward to exciting competitions and wish all athletes every success!