“The Maccabiah Games were my first trip to Israel.  Seeing the country was incredible and it was an honor to wear the USA jersey and play in the first hockey game ever played in Jerusalem.  It was an experience of a lifetime.” – Greg Busch, Masters Ice Hockey, 20th Maccabiah

” I have been to Israel before the games, but I have never seen it through the lens that the games let me see it through, I saw it as a unifier, an equalizer.” – Nathan Milgram, Juniors Fencing, 20th Maccabiah

“I went to Israel not knowing anyone I was there with. Within days, we had become a family. Our team made life long friendships that we will all bring back to the states with us!” – Kendell Galor, ATC, 20th Maccabiah

“The depth of the Maccabiah World Games set our souls on fire.” –
Ellie Leitko and Davi Lennon, Juniors Girls Volleyball, 20th Maccabiah

It is the relationships you make that supersede anything else. The Games are always great, meeting people from the USA and other countries and sharing our common denominator, Judaism , is what it is all about. “ – Kenny Silverboard, Masters Manager, 20th Maccabiah

“Competing for your country and being Jewish, I was just so happy to be there and to be given this opportunity. It felt like you won a medal just for competing, and I felt like a winner just being there.” – Marcy Cohen, Masters Tennis, 20th Maccabiah 

“To be able to represent my sport, my country, and my religion has been the experience of a lifetime. I am so grateful to be in this beautiful country with nations around the world, all celebrating one thing.” – Hannah Berman, Open Golf, 20th Maccabiah

“These were my fourth Maccabiah games, though my first as a coach rather than an athlete. While each one was special, I have to say that from start to finish, the 20th Maccabiah now sits atop my list. My daughter, Emma, who was participating in her first Maccabiah, has continually said it was the greatest experience of her life. When I asked her why, she just says “Everything”. In looking at why this one was so special to me, the word “everything” makes sense.” – David Parks, Juniors Boys’ Soccer Assistant Coach, 20th Maccabiah

“I think it was one of the best experiences I have had in my life; it was a crazy experience to be able to play — and play in Israel. I hadn’t met more than one person in my life who was Jewish and played hockey.” – Yael Yonah, Open Women’s Field Hockey, 20th Maccabiah

“This was an awesome experience and I will continue to do it for the rest of my life”- Anna Salasky, Athlete, Juniors Girls’ Volleyball, 20th Maccabiah

“At the Maccabiah Games I reestablished my identity as a Jewish athlete, visited Israel for the first time in my life, and made a seemingly unlikely friend and mentor I never would have had the chance to meet had it not been for the Games. It was serendipitous that I found out about the Games in the first place- a friend of mine that I coached with at a youth camp at Stanford suggested I apply to be on the team back in July 2016. I took the leap of faith and applied, and I am forever grateful that I did. “ – Rebecca Mehra, Open Track & Field, 20th Maccabiah

“I have been involved with the Maccabiah Games for over half my life. Every time I go over and play in the Games I fall more in love with them and Israel. They will always have a special spot in my heart. The Games allowed me the ability to compete with both my daughter Stacey and my son Scott. To say that the Maccabiah is special to our family is really an understatement. I am so thankful to the Maccabiah family – thank you from the bottom of my heart.” – Debbie Adams, Masters Golf, 20th Maccabiah

“The 20th World Maccabiah Games experience was surreal. Connecting with other Jewish athletes from around the world, competing in a sport that all those associated with the event are so passionate about, coming together as a team with young men from around the USA, and enhancing Jewish cultural beliefs with that group of young men were all life changing events. I have been fortunate to find success in hockey throughout my playing and coaching career, but nothing that can compare to the feeling of winning a gold medal in Jerusalem.” – Jon Sandos, Juniors’ Boys’ Ice Hockey Head Coach, 20th Maccabiah

“The Maccabiah Games go beyond just sport and religion. They are worth every dime, every moment spent alone training, every tear, every broken bone, every self doubt.  The bond I formed with my teammates on this trip was unmatched.  Not only were we Americans and rugby players, we were Jews, and I’d never felt such a sense of community and belonging.  All I can say is if you ever get the opportunity take it and give it everything you’ve got–you will never regret it!” – Howie Goldsmith, Open Men’s Rugby, 20th Maccabiah

“It is hard to put into words how much it meant to be able to be a part of Team USA. I created long lasting friendships, was able to experience an unfamiliar culture, and was pushed out of my comfort zone in a meaningful way. Most importantly, my time spent in Israel went far beyond the game of basketball, and ultimately taught me how to be a better teammate, friend, and person. So, thank you Maccabi USA for allowing me to engage in this experience, as I will be forever grateful.” – Sophie Trachtenberg, Juniors Girls’ Basketball, 20th Maccabiah

“Israel was incredible and the friendships that I have made from all over the world will last me for years to come. I hope I have the opportunity again in 4 years.” – Tamara Statman, Open Women’s Softball, 20th Maccabiah

“Basketball was second fiddle on the trip for me, and I knew that from the second I landed.  Whether it was the fourth of July BBQ in Ramat Gan, spending hours on the beach in Haifa, having the opportunity to float in the Dead Sea, Maccabiah 2017 opened my head and heart to so much I had been hidden from previously.” – Casey Ring, Youth Men’s Basketball, 20th Maccabiah

“This was an experience of a lifetime that changed my connection with Israel and all the Jewish people in the world.” – Jordan Freed, Junior Boys’ Basketball, 18th Maccabiah

“Taking the exact same steps as Jewish People did 3,000 years ago throughout Israel, but now walking with athletes with whom you have so much in common, is an experience of a lifetime!” – Ari Richman, Juniors Boys’ Tennis, 18th Maccabiah

“Walking into the stadium at Opening Ceremonies with all of the USA Team and hearing the crowd shouting, “USA, USA!” sent chills up my spine. Here I am, 76 years old, feeling about 18 years old. After such a good experience, how can I not think about going to Israel?” – Joan Waldbaum, Masters Swimming, 11th Pan American Maccabi Games

“I have never met a group of my peers that I could connect with so easily in such a short period of time. I don’t know if it is because of our common Jewish backgrounds, or just pure luck, but I made friendships that I know will last a long time.” – Jenny Lewis, Open Swimming, 11th Pan American Maccabi Games

“I will never forget the opportunity [Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel] gave me through the Maccabiah Games to participate in a world-class event early in my career. And the excitement of meeting Jewish athletes from around the world and sharing with them the universal spirit of sports competition was a matchless experience.” – Mark Spitz, Swimming, 1965 and 1969