On, May 4, the Modiin MahJ Mavens hosted their third annual MahJ-A-Thon. The MahJ Mavens came into being about two and a half years ago when ESRA Modiin sponsored Mah Jongg lessons. Eight women learned the game together and quickly became enamored enthusiasts, coalescing into the Modiin Mahj Mavens. Since that time, the Mavens have played weekly games, not only becoming skilled players but also good friends.
Wanting to share their love of the game, the Mavens decided to sponsor their first tournament in 2013 under the auspices of ESRA Modiin. That first year we attracted 19 players. This year, 23 players participated from all over Israel including Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beit Shemesh and Shoham. The largest contingent naturally came from Modiin.
A total of nine hands were played, scores tallied and at the end of the evening, the proud winners were announced: Vickie Lecy, Susie Kaplan, Lisa Appelson and Shula Khen. All were presented with beautiful gifts handmade by Ethiopian women, a former project of ESRA's.
The biggest prize of all, however, was the joy of sharing the love of this ancient Chinese game with new friends from different places, skill levels and walks of life.
There is nothing like the sound of the tiles clinking together, the smiles around the table as people connect over this enjoyable game, the excited chatter of the players, and the happy cry of "MahJ!" from a lucky winner.
If you would like to learn Mah Jongg and participate in a delightful pastime, please contact Cynthia Barmor at 050 825 1923. With enough demand, more learning sessions will be arranged and hopefully more groups will form. And, with a little bit of skill and luck, there will be more MahJ-Mavens-in-the-Making!
Who knows? The Mavens may even be able to anticipate a National Marathon one day. Meanwhile, we look forward to seeing old friends and new at the Fourth Annual Modiin Mavens MahJ-A-Thon in May 2016!
Nehama Namal is the Modiin Mahj Mavens Coordinator, and Mahj-a-Thon Organizer
"My Mom's just been regaling me with the tales of her good time – and the fact that she got 100 points for the night. She totally enjoyed herself – thanks for organizing!"
Rivka Ester, daughter of Selma of Ramat Beit Shemesh
"Thank you! I had been looking forward to last night for months and it exceeded expectations. You all did a great job! If you're ever in the Tel Aviv area looking for a game, give us a call!
I would like to pay special tribute to our superb Modiin Mahj Mavens Coordinator, Nechama Namal, who is our group leader and guiding light, not only for overseeing our weekly games and the annual marathon (a huge undertaking), but also for her innovative initiatives, ideas and progressive thinking. The Modiin Mahj Mavens is a success largely due to her efforts and enthusiasm. Not only have we become seasoned players, but we have also succeeded in raising thousands of shekels to benefit Neve ESRA, our afternoon care center for children at risk. Every week, each Maven donates NIS 5 to play. Over the years, this has added up to a handsome sum. Together with our special events in this respect, such as the marathon or Mahj movie screening, we have been able to significantly augment funds raised by ESRA Modiin.
Co-Chair, ESRA Modiinr