Skip Navigation

Israelis You Should Know: Mati Oren

This is a place holder image for bridge blog posts without an image selected.

Name: Mati Oren 

Age: 32

Known for: Oren is one of 40 Israeli Special Olympians preparing to represent the country at the 2015 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

About him: Mati Oren was born on a kibbutz near Nazareth, where he has lived his whole life. He was born with severe medical problems, which required him to have eight surgeries before he was 4 years old. Though he was physically healed, Oren was then diagnosed with developmental and cognitive disabilities.

When he was 5, Oren began attending a special school in Haifa. Each year, the students would come to his kibbutz for a pool party, and the school staff quickly noticed Oren's natural talent in the water. They encouraged his parents to sign him up for the Special Olympics. By the time he was 12, Oren was attending weekly training sessions at the Wingate Institute, Israel’s National Center for Physical Education and Sport.

In 2000, Oren swam in his first European Special Olympics regional competition, held in Holland, where he won three golds and one silver medal. He went on to compete in the 2007 Summer Games in Shanghai and the 2011 Athens Games, where he switched to open-water swimming from pool swimming. He medaled in both competitions. The 2015 Games will be his fourth time competing in the Special Olympics.

In addition to swimming, Oren also works as a lifeguard on his kibbutz. He also enjoys playing soccer and riding bikes, but nothing compares to his love for swimming.

"Swimming is part of who I am," he said. "I plan to swim forever."

Tags: Stories , Partnerships and People

Previous Post

Next Post

More than 60 Fellowship supporters join Rabbi Eckstein and Fellowship staff on a tour of Israel, which includes visits to project areas and biblical and historic sites in the Holy Land.

Visit Israel

Here you’ll find an array of useful information on accommodations, transportation, exchanging currency, Israel's climate and customs, and much more. So get the most out of your trip to Israel with the help of The Fellowship.

Read More

About The Fellowship

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) funds humanitarian aid to the needy in Israel and in Jewish communities around the world, promotes prayer and advocacy on behalf of the Jewish state, and provides resources that help build bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews.

Read More