Ex-Southern African Jeff Geffen devoted 48 years of his life to promoting and fostering the Israeli badminton industry in Israel in general, and in Ashdod in particular. These days he still plays for his own pleasure, and is still very involved in the industry.
Jeff Geffen recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award "Yakir Maccabi" from the “Maccabi” Sport organization for his contribution to Israeli badminton in a moving ceremony.
Jeff founded and served as Chairman of the National Badminton Association for ten years. In addition, he managed the Israeli national team for 15 years, and helped organize many Macabbiah games. He still contributes to and helps the Department of Badminton in Ashdod. He also founded the "Museum of Badminton" in Ashdod, reflecting the history of the club from the sixties onwards.
Joseph (Jeff) came to Ashdod in 1963, two years after he immigrated to Israel from South Africa with his wife and two small children. In those days he worked as a pharmacist in charge of the medical offices in the city and later moved to work in Israeli pharmaceutical giant "Teva", where he worked for 22 years until he retired. But the real passion of his life has been badminton - a sport that that has brought a lot of respect to the city of Ashdod in large part, because of Jeff.
Still fit and active at the age of 88, Jeff continues to play badminton for fun and to keep fit. He also still serves as Chairman of the club in Ashdod. Speaking of what drives his success, Jeff says that he is a believer and, as his mother taught him when he was young , he still thanks G-d every day for his good health.
Jeff's late wife Doreen (Devorah) z"l, was also a member of Maccabi Ashdod and was active in the badminton arena, having won tournament and league medals. Off the court she helped to organize many National badminton championships, and contributed in this sphere to the Maccabi Games of '77,'81, and '85.
In addition to being a housewife, English teacher, mother, grandmother and later also great-grandmother she was active volunteering with the disabled Army veterans in Ashdod, helping people in need and new immigrants.
In appreciation of her contribution to local badminton the Ashdod Sports Authority decided that as of 2013 the annual Ashdod Open Badminton championships will be held in her memory.
Jeff remebers the late Doreen Z"L:
"I wish to add a few words about my beloved Doreen z''l [ Mommy to all 4 generations of us in Ashdod]. She was my best friend and life inspiration. She contributed much more to Ashdod than I did. As a high school English teacher she was a 'legend' in Ashdod. On retiring she voluteered teaching English to disabled I.D.F. veterans,helping people in need, new immigrants and also helping at our shul.
She exercised twice a week and played badminton once a week until her very last day. With all this she had time to look after all 4 generations of us in Ashdod and had a great influence on all of us. The fantastic example she set is helping me to cope.
I attach a picture of the two of us. We were always together-not only on the badminton court !"
Telfed congratulates the Geffen family for their achievements in this sphere and meaningful contributions to Israeli sport and society.
For more information and the impact of his role in introducing Badminton to Israel, see an online interview with Jeff Geffen here