Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Local water polo player going to Maccabi Games


Zev Halikman

Maitland residents King William and Pearl Halikman are beaming with joy. Their grandson, Zev Halikman, made the USA Maccabi Water Polo Team and will compete in the 20th World Maccabi Games in Israel this coming July.

"In life some of us will be lucky enough to find a passion that consumes us with infinite pleasure. I was lucky enough to find that six years ago when I began playing water polo," said 22-year-old Zev, who is a graduate of Lake Howell High School and is now a sophmore at Florida Atlantic where he is captain of the water polo team.

In that six years, Zev has relentlessly pursued improving himself in the game by playing year round, training with Olympians across the country, reading "bookshelves full of water polo textbooks," viewing hundreds of YouTube videos and "scavenging" the minds of every coach and player he has met, never shying away from an opportunity to improve his game.

And now, all his hard work has come to fruition. Last November, Halikman competed with nearly 30 water polo players, many of whom have played their entire lives. But despite only playing for six years and never being on an NCAA-sanctioned team, to put it in his words, "I've amassed enough skill, heart, and dedication to be chosen to represent the United States of America in the most significant tournament for Jewish athletes on the planet."

The World Maccabi Games, first held in 1932, are an international Jewish multi-sport event held in Israel. It is the third-largest sporting event in the world, with 9,000 athletes competing on behalf of 78 countries. USA Maccabi is the official sponsor of the USA Team to the World Maccabi Games.

"Zev is looking forward to the challenge, and is thrilled to have the opportunity to show solidarity with Israel and with Jews from all around the world," said King William.

Halikman's grandparents also explained that Zev has committed to fundraise to support the Maccabi USA mission of "Building Jewish Pride Through Sports," and they would also like to offer the Orlando Jewish community the opportunity to help sponsor Zev and support the Games through tax-deductible donations to Maccabi USA (a 501(C3) organization), 1511 Walnut Street, Suite 401, Philadelphia, Pa. 19102. Make checks out to Maccabi USA and put Zev's name on the memo line; or you can follow the link below to donate.


"There is something magical-a certain feeling that touches the heart and soul of everyone who participates, as well as its many supporters," Zev commented. "It's not a feeling that abruptly fades away at the conclusion of the competition, rather it changes lives."


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