The Maccabiah Games in Israel isn’t simply about sporting achievements – for the lucky few it can also be about falling in love! Andrew Sherwood speaks to two married couples who fell in love at the Games…
Friday, 10 July, 2009, approximately 6.30pm in Bavli Tel-Aviv. Dov Katz was training with the open table tennis squad. He recalls: “I saw what I considered to be the most beautiful lady I had ever met and I asked her for directions.” Less than two years later, he and Perry Dayan were married.
Picking up the story, he says: “Perry was living in Tel Aviv and was waiting for a Sherut, one arrived but there was no room and we had a chance to talk a little more. She gave me her number and eight days later we went on a date. Perry was training to be a lawyer and with me being partner of a law firm, we had lots in common.
“I stayed in Tel Aviv after the Maccabiah for work, so we had time to get to know each other. She visited the UK six weeks later, and we both realised that our relationship was special.
“We got engaged on 1 January 2011 on the top floor of our hotel room in the Dan Carmel in Haifa, which is where her parents are from, and Perry moved to London in August 2010 where she studied for her Bar Exams. The following February we got married.
The now husband-and-wife teamed up for the European Games in Vienna in July 2011 with Dov leading the open team to three gold, three silver, and three bronze, while Perry more than played her part, with her being the team’s co-ordinator.
James Katz was born on 5 April, 2012, which the parents describe as being a ‘true Maccabiah baby, and both mum and James flew out at the weekend to join dad for the 19th edition of the Games.
Neil Taylor and Abbi Pinnick were married a couple of months ago, the ceremony solidifying a relationship which began four years ago.
Neil, who is the manager of the junior rugby team at this year’s Maccabiah, was the junior track and field manager at the 2009 Games, and recollects how the two met, saw their realationship blossom, before became husband and wife on the eve of this year’s Games.
“The junior track and field manager at the 2009 Maccabiah, I was living in Manchester at the time and sorarely came down to London. I was though there for our kit day at JFS, and whilst there, the junior management team set up a charity, a scheme to help disadvantaged youths in Israel and to help participate in sport. They had an initiative called ‘Shoes for Jews. One of the members of the committee was to speak to the juniors about this initiative – this happened to be Abbi! When I saw her, my jaw dropped, she was amazing but I thought had no chance. I found out she was an open netball player so as a junior manager our paths would rarely cross. I noticed her once out at the Maccabiah, but thought she was out of my league…she didn’t even notice me once!
“We came back from the Maccabiah, I’d done a good job as the track manager and was recommended to be a manager for the 2010 JCC games in Denver. Finding out that Abbi was going to be the manager of the swimming team, I jumped at the opportunity to actually meet her. At our first meeting she was late (and I’ve never let that go since!), but we found an obvious connection between us. With me in Manchester and her in London, I wasn’t sure she would be interested, but sure enough after many Skype conversations, phone calls and regular visits, we made it official. I couldn’t believe my luck!!
“We went to Denver where we were both very successful as managers and our relationship flourished.
“Abbi’s a physiotherapist who loves sport, while I’m a sports science teacher who loves sport. The proposal came when I took Abbi on a surprise birthday weekend to Bath. I couldn’t believe I found a girl who was interested in sport and she couldn’t believe she found a northern Irish Jew!”
Maccabi GB would like to hear from anyone else who met at a Maccabiah Games. If you met your future husband or wife at a Maccabiah, please get in contact with Daniel Morris at: email@example.com