RA’ANANA -- In the corner of the gymnasium, about an hour before his team takes the floor against Ukraine, Canadian men’s volleyball player Josh Binstock stands over a teammate and stretches this teammate's arms and legs back and forth. Binstock, who competed for Canada in the London Olympics’ volleyball competition, doubles as team chiropractor.
“In the summer, I’m a volleyball player,” Binstock said. “And in the winter, I’m a doctor of chiropractic. I was always injured, so I figured if I could understand the human body and learn how to keep myself healthy, I could pass my knowledge to keep others around me healthy as well.”
On the court, Binstock plays on the frontline, where he slides left to right, patrolling the net. At 6’5 and nimble on his feet, he is a dominant shot blocker and intimidator.
“I started playing pretty late compared to guys I play on the national team with,” Binstock said. “I grew up playing hockey and baseball like a typical Canadian kid. I wanted to be a professional, but I wasn’t getting drafted or anything so I decided I’d try different sports and volleyball was one of them. I started having success and developed a passion for the sport. I wanted to push myself to see how good I could get and how far I could go.”
This year’s Maccabiah, sponsored by The Jewish Agency for Israel, is Binstock’s third. Even though he is an Olympian, the Maccabiah experience offers him a deep connection with his Judaism, which is why he continues to compete in the Games.
“I come [to the Maccabiah] every time I’m able,” Binstock said. “It’s a way for me to come back and connect with Israel. To be in the land of my ancestors, to connect with my Judaism and strengthen my bond with my faith is definitely something that is very important to me. This isn’t just about sports, it’s about connecting with Jews from other countries -- you’re enemies on the court and friends off the court. ”
Binstock is also is also impressed with the entire Maccabiah organization and said that aside from the Olympics’ scale, the Maccabiah measures up to it in every sense.
“The organization, the volunteers, the hotel, the food quality, and what goes into the opening ceremonies, it’s all very similar,” Binstock said. “When I went to the Olympics, I was proud that the Maccabiah rivals it.”
Relay BlogExperience Israel Olympian Josh Binstock is Team Canada’s Force at the Net (and the Trainer’s Table)"I come [to the Maccabiah] every time I’m able. It’s a way for me to come back and connect with Israel. To be in the land of my ancestors, to connect with my Judaism and strengthen my bond with my faith is definitely something that is very important to me" -- Josh BinstockExperience Israel