BALTIMORE — The first arrows Roxana and Rafael Gonzalez launch at the upcoming 19th Maccabiah Games will take flight from their fingertips, but also from Jeffrey Sudikoff’s imagination.
Roxana, 25, and Rafael, 24, are part of the first Cuban delegation to participate in the Maccabiah, a quadrennial sports competition that dates back to 1932. The siblings arrived July 3 in Israel from their native Cienfuegos to continue their archery training in advance of the games, which open July 18.
They and hundreds more athletes might never have reached Israel had Sudikoff not been at Ramat Gan Stadium for the opening ceremony at the 18th Maccabiah four years ago.
Sudikoff was struck then by the realization that Jews live in lands he didn’t expect. His “aha moment” came upon seeing Azerbaijan’s flag, which got him wondering which countries with Jewish populations did not send delegations to the games.