Honored: 2001
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died: May 24, 2022

Robert Spivak was president of Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel from 1981 to 2001. During that period he was also general chairman of the U. S. teams that competed in the 1985, 1989, and 1993 Maccabiah Games in Israel.

Under Spivak’s guidance, U.S. participation in the Maccabiah Games increased from 350 athletes in 1981 to more than 600 in 2001. He initiated an athlete endowment and sponsorship program to perpetuate Maccabi USA’s future. He is also responsible for the Maccabiah Games pre-camp, a unique enrichment week prior to competitions that provides American
athletes the opportunity to focus on Judaism, heritage, and Holy Land historical sites.

Early in Spivak’s 20-year tenure as Maccabi USA’s president, the organization became a co-sponsor of the North American Maccabi Youth Games, which became the JCC Maccabi Games, a Maccabiah-like sportsfest and cultural in-gathering for athletes 16 years and younger.

Spivak’s Maccabi USA also became a participant in the Special
Olympics, an active supporter of the Israel (Ilan) Sports Centre for the Physically Disabled in Ramat Gan, and underwrote the Russian émigré housing program at the Wingate Institute. In addition to initiating and supporting numerous other important youth and adult projects in Israel, Maccabi USA, with the Jewish National Fund (JNF), launched a sports and recreation facility project in 1994 in Ben Shimen Forest at Modi’in (between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv).

The Philadelphia insurance and securities executive has been a delegate to the United States Olympic Committee and served on the board of directors of the International Maccabiah Committee (IMC), the American Friends of Haifa University, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Jewish Community Center of Philadelphia, the Delaware chapter of the Jewish National Fund, and Boy’s Town Jerusalem.

Spivak co-chaired the Organizing Committee of the 1979 Pan-American Maccabi Games and has been a board member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame since 1981.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually, honoring those individuals who have made significant contributions to the State of Israel and society through sports.

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