Forty years ago eleven athletes and officials were murdered at the Olympics in Munich.
As the media frenzy around this year’s London games ramps up from Over-Excited to Orgasmic, you can bet that at tonight’s opening ceremony, there will not be a minute’s silence to commemorate this appalling violation of what we are told is the Olympic Spirit. The Prime Minister doesn’t think it would be appropriate, apparently. Perhaps the corporate sponsors would be offended. Just imagine the outcry were such a memorial refused for athletes of any other nation murdered in the same circumstances. Ho hum. Do I smell hypocrisy? Perish the thought.
To show that this event will not be forgotten, Crox Minor and I (at her instigation) went to the beach, where we said the prayer below. Crox Minor threw a bouquet of flowers into the waves, and at 11 am we observed a minute’s silence.
‘May El Malei Rachamim – our God who is full of mercy – comfort and support all those who remember their loved ones who died while contributing to the Olympic spirit and healthy competition in the Games of the Twentieth Olympiad, held in Munich in 1972. For those whose lives were changed forever by the events of 5th and 6th September 1972, when terrorists invaded the peaceful village and eleven sportsmen were murdered, we pray that their forty years in the wilderness of their loss may be helped in some way by the knowledge that so many congregations around the world are thinking of them on this Shabbat.
On this Shabbat, we recall the names of:
Mark Slavin, 18, Wrestler
Eliezer Halfin, 24, Wrestler
David Berger, 28, Weightlifter
Ze’ev Friedman, 28, Weightlifter
Yossef Romano, 31, Weightlifter
Andre Spitzer, 27, Fencing coach
Moshe Weinberg, 33, Wrestling coach
Amitzur Shapira, 40, Track coach
Yossef Gutfreund, age 40, Wrestling referee
Yakov Springer, 51, Weightlifting judge
Kehat Shorr, 53, Shooting coach
May their memory always be for a blessing - zichronum livracha.’
(By Rabbi Richard Jacobi, Woodford Liberal Synagogue, from the Liberal Judaism website.)