Tuvia Book
Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

What we can all learn from the Inspirational Israeli Powerhouse Paralympians

Athletes from Israel enter the stadium during the opening ceremony for the 2020 Paralympics at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Athletes from Israel enter the stadium during the opening ceremony for the 2020 Paralympics at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

The Israeli Paralympic team has been outstanding in Tokyo, as they are in all of the Paralympic games they compete in.  So far they have won nine medals, six of them gold, and broken three world records!  Israel always has a strong showing at the Paralympics and even hosted the games in 1968, at which Israel finished third on the medal table that year with 62 medals, of which 18 were gold.  Israel has won a staggering 129 gold medals at the Summer Paralympic Games since 1960!

Athletes from Israel enter the stadium during the opening ceremony for the 2020 Paralympics at the National Stadium in Tokyo, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

The Israelis and other delegates from around the world who are competing in Tokyo this year are people who have struggled and ultimately won against all of the challenges of the human body.  This was achieved through sheer determination, relentless training, will-power and perseverance, as well as support from family and friends.

The diversity of Israel has once again been highlighted at these games.  Interestingly, there are more women, eighteen, than men, fifteen, on the team.  Medal winners have included an Israeli Arab, Iyad Shalabi, and Moran Samuel, who is openly gay.  There is also a Druze woman in the Israeli team, Bashar Halabi. This multi-faith team proves that Jews and Arabs can live side by side.

Our heroes, some of whom were wounded in the defense of our homeland, some who were injured after birth, and some of whom were born with disabilities, all rose above them.  These special men and women who overcome war injuries and physical disabilities, fight to recover and overcome and go on to achieve great results for themselves and our nation are an inspiration to us all.    We can learn so much from these sporting role models.  These courageous individuals teach us all not to wallow in self-pity and that, “If there is a will, there is a way.”

About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He was a Senior Editor and Teaching Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. He is a research associate at the Hudson Institute. Tuvia is the author and illustrator the internationally acclaimed Israel education curriculum; "For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Studies" (Fifth edition, Koren 2017), and "Moral Dilemmas of the Modern Israeli Soldier" (Rama, 2011) and has a doctorate in Israel Education. His latest book, "Jewish Journeys, The Second Temple Period to the Bar Kokhba Revolt – 536 BCE-136 CE," will be published by Koren this year.
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