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Philadelphia, PA, May 31 – Maccabi World Union (MWU), the governing body of the International Maccabi Movement, will honor Toni Wortman with its most prestigious and exclusive honor, the Yakir Award.  The Yakir award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated their dedication and commitment to the ideals of the Maccabi Movement and the Jewish People. It is the highest accolade that the Maccabi Movement bestows for exemplary lifetime achievement. The Yakir Award recipients are selected once every four years and no more than 12 are selected at any time.  Wortman joins 10 other Maccabi leaders from throughout the Diaspora as a member of the 11th Class of Yakir recipients.

“Toni has been a dedicated leader, who has motivated thousands of young American Jews to excellence and pride both as athletes and as Jews,” said Ron Carner, President Maccabi USA. “I am, and have always been, proud to have her as one of our leaders and friend.  She truly deserves this great honor.”

Toni Wortman, Immediate Past President of Maccabi USA and currently a Vice-President with MWU, began her involvement with Maccabi USA as the Co-Chair of Culture and Education during the 12th Maccabiah Games in 1985.  Twenty-four years later, she marched into Ramat Gan Stadium at the head of Team USA, the largest traveling delegation from the Diaspora at the 18th Maccabiah Games in 2009. Prior to her election as President, Wortman held positions of First Vice President and Vice President and has been a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of Maccabi USA since 1993.

“I am truly honored and so very proud to be named a recipient of the Yakir Maccabi Award,” Wortman said upon learning she had been selected as an honoree. “I feel blessed to be a member of the Maccabi Family and to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of Jewish athletes around the world.  It is a privilege to be in the company of the other incredible international leaders who have been selected to receive the Yakir Award. I have worked and grown with them in the Movement over the past 25 years and it is so gratifying to be able to share this with them.”

Wortman’s energy, attitude and vision propelled her to the Presidency of Maccabi USA in 2001 and her leadership have enhanced every aspect of the organization. She is a caring, open team-builder, which has been a key to her success.  She has been able to make an emotional connection with athletes, leadership, volunteers and donors.  Providing athletes with life-changing Maccabi experiences in Israel and around the world has been one of her highest priorities.

“Her passion and commitment to the cause shows she is a volunteer extraordinaire,” said Bob Spivak, Chairman Maccabi USA, upon learning of this honor.

Wortman will be the seventh honoree and the first woman from the United States to be bestowed with the honor of the Yakir Award in 2013.  In accordance with Maccabi tradition, the formal 11th Yakir Awards Ceremony will take place during the 19th World Maccabiah Games on July 22nd, 2013 in Israel.

About the organization:

Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs.  The organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, the Pan American Maccabi Games and the Maccabi competitions in Europe and Australia, as well as a sponsor of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America.  As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities.  It strives to provide Jewish athletes the world over the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings.  MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish Continuity, Zionism and Excellence in Sport.  Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.

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