Jewish chaplain joins Olympics

Wednesday 18 January 2012

The Jewish chaplain at the University of Surrey has been appointed as a spiritual advisor to the London 2012 Olympics to help athletes reach their potential during the games.

Alex Goldberg has been a chaplain at the University since 2003 and his new temporary role will see him working alongside others from different faiths at the global sporting event.

He said he was delighted to have been appointed. He commented: “This is a great honour and I am deeply flattered to have been chosen.

“I sense that I was taken on by London 2012 as a result of my experience working for much of the last decade in a Multi-Faith Chaplaincy team here at Surrey. This is a credit to and endorsement of the Chaplaincy system that we have at the University of Surrey which as the Queen recently said 'is leading the way'.

“It’s not just athletes who may wish for some spiritual guidance but also it is very stressful for others at the Olympics including the world’s media. I am one of the few Chaplains to have been selected that lives outside of London.

“Here at the Surrey Sports Park at the University we have world class facilities and which have attracted Olympic athletes to use as a training venue so I am especially pleased to work closely with staff here.”

Alex will be part of the Olympic Village Management team in his role and will wear the official uniform which includes the option of a trilby hat.

He explained: “I shall be spending much time in other areas of the Park and in particularly the press areas.”

There are different Chaplaincy assignments including looking after the 20,000 journalists in the media centre, 16,000 coaches and athletes and the organisers of the London 2012 (LOCOG) staff.

Surrey Sports Park Chief Executive Paul Blanchard, said: “On behalf of all at Surrey Sports Park and the University of Surrey I would like to congratulate Alex on this fantastic achievement.

“From training camps here at Surrey Sports Park to the work Alex is doing at the Olympic Park, the University is making a mark on London 2012 that we can all be proud of.”

Team Singapore will train at Surrey Sports Park ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympics games as will teams from Antigua and Barbuda and Nigeria, Dominican Republic and the Spanish and Estonian swimming teams.
Notes for Editors:

While at the University of Surrey, Alex Goldberg has initiated the 60th anniversary Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration, Jewish Renewal Programme, Community Learning and Education programme and has been part of the Multi-Faith Chaplaincy team.

He has collaborated with other Chaplains on initiating the Auschwitz Study Visit and was part of the team who ensured the University had the country's first-ever Interfaith Officer in 2006. His Chaplaincy is designed to cater for all Jewish students and staff. Outside of the University Alex has a career in law, human rights and community relations. He is an advocate for the proposed Multi-faith Centre at the University of Surrey Stag Hill campus.

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