A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body – Part 1

The general subject of the unit that we are starting today is A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body.

Let’s talk about it.

A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body

  • What is the meaning of this saying?
    What does it suggest?
    Do you agree? Can you justify your answer?
  • Can you bring examples from your own experience?
  • Are sport activities important?
    For whom? Why?
  • Is competition an important factor?
  • Are the Olympic Games connected to this subject?
    In what way?
  • What do you know about the Maccabiah?
  • In what way is the Maccabiah different from other international competitions?
  • Where does the name Maccabiah come from?
    What is the symbolic meaning of the name?

Helpful Vocabulary

team   –   קבוצה

match   –   משחק

finals   –   משחקי גמר

score points  –   להשיג נקודות

championship   –   אליפות

award a gold medal   –   להעניק מדלית זהב

international games   –   משחקים בינלאומיים

representatives   –   נציגים

Getting Ready to Read

The following passage is about the Maccabiah.

Make sure you know the meaning of the following words before you read the whole passage. (Look them up in the dictionary.)





opening ceremony

Olympic records


Reading Passage

Read the following passage and then answer the questions that follow.

1. The Maccabiah was little more than a dream cherished by a fifteen-year-old boy over a period of ten years. It took a long time and endless efforts to turn the dream about international competitions among Jewish sportsmen – the Jewish Olympics – into reality.

2. It all started when Yoseph Yekutiel, a young newcomer who had been living in Tel Aviv for three years, happened to come across a book about the Olympic Games. After reading the book, he began to dream about Jewish sportsmen from all over the world meeting and competing in Israel.

3. Most people Yekutiel turned to considered his plan an impossible dream. The Jews didn’t even have an independent state, so why should they have their own Olympic Games? And besides, Jews and sports sounded like an unusual combination.

4. Yekutiel wouldn’t give up. In 1930 and 1931 he organized two delegations of cyclists whose aim was to raise money to build a stadium in Tel Aviv. The first delegation rode through Syria, Turkey, Italy, Poland, Germany and France, finally arriving in Belgium. The second one crossed the Sinai desert, reached Cairo and then went through various European capitals until it came to Paris. The basic idea was to promote the participation of Jewish sportsmen from all over the world in sports competitions in Israel.

5. Finally, on March 28, 1931, the first Maccabiah was officially inaugurated. 1500 sportsmen from twenty two countries marched from the Hertzlia High School down the streets of Tel Aviv in the opening ceremony. There may not have been great athletic achievements in that Maccabiah. No Olympic records were broken. Yet it was the beginning of a beautiful tradition. Every four years, Jewish sportsmen and sportswomen from Israel and the Diaspora come together to play and compete. They learn to know one another and strengthen the bonds between Israel and Jews who live in different countries.


1. Yekutiel’s dream was to (paragraph 1)

a. organize a Jewish international sports competition.

b. change the character of the Olympics.

c. help Jewish sportsmen participate in the Olympics.

d. turn international competitions into reality.

2. Copy the words that show that turning the dream of the Maccabiah into reality was a very difficult project (paragraph 1).


3. Complete the following paragraph – one or two words in each space (paragraph 2). 

Three years ———————————— he came to Israel, he ——————————- a book about the Olympics. Under the influence of ———————-, he began to dream about international competitions of —————————————————. 

4 The words come across in the second paragraph mean

a. cross

b. find by chance

c. go to the other side

d. meet

5. Explain the following sentence: Jews and sports sounded like an unusual combination (paragraph 3).


6. Complete the following sentence (paragraph 4).

Although most people rejected Yekutiel’s idea, ——————————

7. Complete the following paragraph – one or two words in each space – (paragraph 4).

The second delegation reached Paris after crossing ————————————- capitals. From Tel Aviv, they went first to the —————————— and then they continued ———————–

8. Complete the following sentence (paragraph 4).

The delegations wanted Jewish sportsmen from all over the world —————————————————

9. Copy the sentences that show that the Maccabiah sportsmen didn’t excel in the first Maccabiah (paragraph 5).
    2. —————————————————————————————

10. Paragraph 5 shows that a new tradition was created in 1931. Explain.


Vocabulary and Language Review

Fill in the blanks with a suitable word – one word only.

In the past, very ———————- people used to engage in sport activities. ———————- of them were professional athletes or sports fanatics. Today, most people are ———————- of the importance of sports for our ———————- and well-being in general. Doctors say that sports help prevent heart ———————-. Psychologists claim that sports are good for our mood and beauty experts say that if we ———————- regularly, we will look slim and young. As a result of all ———————-, the sports industry is ———————- bigger and bigger day by day. New health-clubs and body-building centers are opening in every neighborhood and many people are ready to spend a great ———————- of money in order to lose a few kilograms and add a few muscles.

And that’s all for today. More texts and suggestions in my next post.

Lea 🙂 




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