Origins of an Israeli golf tournament
By Herman Weiss, MD
BEIT SHEMESH, Israel — I have been living in Israel for three years. I am still on all the ‘Old Country’ email lists and look on longingly about all the Golf Outings that are advertised at various times during the year. Whenever I participated in the day’s events, I always enjoyed the entire atmosphere, camaraderie, food, and of course the golf. If a trip stateside coincided with one of the various outings I would have attended I would try to work my hectic schedule into the outing, but more often than not it was not possible.
Living in Beit Shemesh, having a day job and not being an ardent ‘twice a week’ golfer, my golf skills waned and my rounds became few and far between. Which has been a shame because the year I made Aliyah, the Caesarea Golf Course reopened its’ beautiful Peter Dye designed championship course. I was able to play every few months but not more.
Shortly after arriving to Israel, friends and family started turning to us for advice on where to go and what to do as they found themselves on the JFK-Ben Gurion express once again. They are always looking for the ‘out of the way’, ‘off the grid’, ‘never did that before’, thing in Israel. Invariably the suggestion was met with ‘been there done that’. Until one year when my friend Simmie visited from West Hempstead. He was investigating different Yeshivot his high school senior was interested in attending the following year. He also knew there were quite a few others that were traveling to Israel the same Thanksgiving weekend. After an exhaustive yeshivah search he found himself with an afternoon free, and having done practically everything else in Israel, he wanted to play golf. A few phone calls later we had two foursomes and a tee time at the Caesarea course. We followed up the round at a restaurant in the Herzliya marina and one of the participants commented on what an absolutely great and different day this was.
This began the wheels turning in our heads, if; with a few quick phone calls we can organize a great golf day, why not make this into an annual event and raise money for a worthwhile cause.
Playing golf, eating food, having fun and all done in the name of raising money for a worthy organization, Ezer Mizion. Our relationship with Ezer Mizion began six years ago. Simmie introduced me to the organization and on one of our many trips we had packed some gift bags or brought some clothes and we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to tour their facility and deliver the goods to a welcoming recipient. We discovered that Ezer Mizion has its hand in so many areas. It may be a family whose mother is struggling with cancer and unable to cope or a frail octogenarian desperate to maintain his independence or perhaps a special child frustrated by failure. The prime division is its International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry. That tour was where we learned about the registry.
They had just initiated the testing of every IDF enrollee and their numbers of specimens in the bank was growing and so were their costs. They estimated if the number of people in the bank was 1,000,000 they would have a 97-99% certainty of being able to provide a match for any Jewish person that would, G-d forbid, need it. Clearly this was a suitable match for our fundraising efforts, saving one soul is akin to saving the world. Currently they are the fourth largest registry in the world behind the USA, Germany and Brazil and the largest Jewish registry.
Irv Hackel played an important role in helping us arrange for a speaker to come and give us words of inspiration while raising money for Ezer Mizion. Other events and circumstances led us to the logical next step, raising money for Ezer Mizion via a golf outing in Israel. As far as I know there are no other ones like it. With Simmie spearheading the US efforts and my being in Israel and arranging the logistics, we inaugurated the Annual Turkey Shoot Golf Outing in Support of the Bone Marrow Registry of Ezer Mizion.
This was not as simple as making a few phone calls, but everyone we spoke with was enthusiastic and eager to help. The golf course was happy to help us with the planning. Holy Bagel gladly jumped aboard as a sponsor and provided breakfast and lunch. After all said and done we had 24 golfers, had an incredible amount of fun and raised a lot of money.
Afterwards there was a unanimous agreement to make this an annual event. Many people who heard about it after the fact pledged to play the following year. Our hope is to make this an international success year after year. We already have commitments from 30 golfers and in addition to Holy Bagel, many other great sponsors. November 23rd is the date we are looking forward to, if you are planning your Thanksgiving trip to the Holy Land and find yourself with the same question of what to do, come and join us in Caesarea. This year we are also offering a day at the Dan Caesarea Spa for the non-golfers to enjoy.
For further info go to ezermizion.org and send me a note.
Preceding provided by Ezer Mizion
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