After excelling as a Track & Field athlete for the last 20 something years of her life, Jessica was ready for a change. A recent graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, she knew there were more opportunities for her, besides competing.

With an idea in her head and a connection to Maccabi USA, Jessica applied for the Maccabi World Union 6-month internship and was selected to intern in the Sport Department for the 20th World Maccabiah Games this summer. The Sport Department is the beating heart of the Maccabiah Games as it works with all the different territorial organizations around the world.

Jessica’s first involvement with Maccabi USA was as a Track & Field athlete in the 19th Maccabiah Games. She credits the Games as “one of the best experiences she has ever had in her life” and is very excited for the internship opportunity to create new memories, embrace the spirituality of Israeli culture, and “discover the collectivistic community of Tel Aviv, something that is polar opposite than her home in the individualistic culture of Los Angeles,” Jessica said. Although she has a degree in psychology, Jessica is unsure of what her future career path looks like. She hopes this internship will help her “find her passion in life” and learn from the professionals around her.

The Maccabi World Union internship program allows individuals to make the vibrant city of Tel Aviv their new home, an aspect that Jessica is most excited for. Participants will also take Ulpan – Hebrew lessons so they will learn how to communicate in one of the two official languages of Israel.

The Maccabi World Union internship is split in 6 different departments: Marketing, Hospitality, Infrastructure & Logistics, Sports, IT Systems, and Transportation. Jessica will be joined by 13 other participants in the various departments to take part in supporting the infrastructure of the 20th World Maccabiah Games, the world’s 3rd largest international sporting event. Maccabi World Union hopes this opportunity will create enriching, valuable, and fun experiences for all the participants involved and establish a generation of strong leaders with deep values and motivation for the continuity of the Maccabi Movement and Israel.

To learn more about future internship opportunities in Israel, please contact Yogi Matok at ymatok@maccabiusa.com.

Previously:

20th Maccabiah USA Mission: Passport to Israel

Maccabi USA: A Transformational Experience with Dan Kurtz

Harry Swimmer – A CNN Hero

Keep Calm and Smash Hard: Maccabi USA Badminton with Nicole Frevold

Dan Kurtz: Maccabi USA’s Alumni Relations Director

Emily Seelenfreund: A Maccabiah Trailblazer

Ellie Greenberg: In Her Own Words

From Maccabi Canada to Maccabi USA: Ice Hockey with Greg Gardner

From Running in to Coaching at the Maccabiah with Jordan Schilit

Building Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse Program with Eve Levinson

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!

So your son, daughter, niece, nephew, granddaughter, grandson, father, mother, sister or brother has been chosen as an athlete for the 20th World Maccabiah Games. They deserve a pat on the back and endless amounts of hugs, kisses, and high-fives. Now is your chance to support them and join them on the journey of what it means to be part of the Maccabiah Games even if you respectfully are not an athlete.

Harold Friedman and Andrea Bochner, the 20th Maccabiah USA Mission Co-Chairs invite you to join the Maccabi USA family this summer for a “first class” experience in the beautiful country of Israel. The Mission will include the best of what Israel has to offer, including five-star hotels, delicious food, excursions and evening events. Harold and Andrea have developed a program that will maximize participants’ time and enhance their experiences in Israel during the Maccabiah Games.

After many years working with teens in the JCC Maccabi Games, Harold and Andrea decided they were interested in working with adults. The Supporters Mission is the perfect combination of both Andrea’s professional background in event planning and Harold’s volunteer experience with Maccabi USA. They are “excited about the opportunity to show people Israel, in addition to sharing the positive impact of the Maccabiah Games.”

The Supporters Mission will provide unique opportunities to learn about and explore Israel. There are multiple options for touring each day, so “whether someone is coming to Israel for the first time or the 50th, they will embark on new adventures and make new memories that will last a lifetime,” Andrea said.  

Mission participants will have the opportunity to enjoy the Maccabiah in the most fun and stress-free way possible. They will be offered exclusive transportation from the Opening Ceremony to the athletic venues during competition days, cocktail receptions, Israeli breakfasts (every morning), tours of Old City, Yad Vashem, a relaxing float in the Dead Sea, a hike up Masada, a B’nai Mitzvah ceremony, Kabbalat Shabbat at the Tel Aviv Port and many more tours and activities.

So what are you waiting for? Visit the Maccabiah Supporters Mission website here for the full itinerary, mission options, flight and hotel details, FAQ, contact information, and of course, the link to register.

Questions? Contact Samantha Sultzer at Gil Travel, samanthas@giltravel.com, 215-568-6655 x380 or Sara Feinstein, Marketing Director for Maccabi USA at sfeinstein@maccabiusa.com, 267-627-5654, or directly to Andrea and Harold at mission@maccabiusa.com.

Previously:

Maccabi USA: A Transformational Experience with Dan Kurtz

Harry Swimmer – A CNN Hero

Keep Calm and Smash Hard: Maccabi USA Badminton with Nicole Frevold

Dan Kurtz: Maccabi USA’s Alumni Relations Director

Emily Seelenfreund: A Maccabiah Trailblazer

Ellie Greenberg: In Her Own Words

From Maccabi Canada to Maccabi USA: Ice Hockey with Greg Gardner

From Running in to Coaching at the Maccabiah with Jordan Schilit

Building Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse Program with Eve Levinson

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!

In 2001 Dan Kurtz boarded a plane for his first trip to Israel for the 16th Maccabiah Games as both an athlete and coach in the sport of Judo. The 16th Games were unique because they were run at the height of the Second Intifada. “The very experience of being in Israel during that time was incredible since the only tourism taking place was the Maccabiah Games,” Dan recalled.

The Maccabiah Games were a transformative experience for him, leading him to switch professions from art conservation to education; he wanted to make a greater impact on the world in a way the Maccabiah Games made an impact on him. Dan had the opportunity to go back to Israel as the USA Assistant Team Manager for the 2013 Maccabiah Games and the USA Team Manager for the 2015 European Games in Berlin, Germany. While in Berlin, Dan had another transformational moment of wanting to become more involved in organizations that served Jews and preserving the notion of “Us [Jews] still being here.”

When the Alumni Relations Director position became available, Dan’s dreams became a reality. He was recently hired as the Alumni Relations Director and sees his new position as a way to provide transformations for past participants since Maccabi USA was so transformational for him.

Dan hopes to re-engage alumni by providing them with opportunities to share their stories in schools or synagogues. Other ideas are to create a Maccabi USA Smartphone App with a specific alumni feature, notifying them of local events in their area and spotlighting them in the monthly e-newsletters. The Alumni Association is working to connect established alumni with their college senior counterparts by creating job opportunities through mentorships. The Association is also working on a major research project to identify the Maccabi USA impact on its participants, both quantitatively and qualitatively.

The Alumni Association programming is focused around regional events in cities densely populated with alumni and affinity groups (i.e. Masters Soccer). Events will highlight the movie “On the Map”, starring Maccabiah Games gold medalist Tal Brody and featuring the miraculous win of the 1977 Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Team against four-time defending European Champions, Soviet Basketball Team CSKA, which put Israel firmly on the map. The movie will be shown at the Maccabi USA Annual Conference in December and during the 2017 “NBA All Star Weekend” in New Orleans, LA, featuring Basketball Hall of Fame San Antonio Spurs Coach Nancy Lieberman and Tal Brody. The Association is also planning to screen the film in other cities. Additionally, the Association hopes to join with Maccabi Young Leadership (MYL) in Philadelphia as well as MYL chapters in other alumni-based cities to host happy hours, Shabbat dinners, and mentoring workshops.

Interested alumni looking to get back involved with Maccabi USA? Contact Dan Kurtz at dkurtz@maccabiusa.com or 215-561-6900 x4158, and keep in touch by signing up for the monthly newsletter here.

Previously:

Harry Swimmer – A CNN Hero

Keep Calm and Smash Hard: Maccabi USA Badminton with Nicole Frevold

Dan Kurtz: Maccabi USA’s Alumni Relations Director

Emily Seelenfreund: A Maccabiah Trailblazer

Ellie Greenberg: In Her Own Words

From Maccabi Canada to Maccabi USA: Ice Hockey with Greg Gardner

From Running in to Coaching at the Maccabiah with Jordan Schilit

Building Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse Program with Eve Levinson

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!

Flashback to 2013 as Nicole Frevold boarded the plane to Israel for the 19th Maccabiah Games. Having never been to Israel before, she recalls not knowing what to expect – in terms of both the competition and the overall experience of the three weeks abroad. She was recruited for the Badminton team by fellow teammate and friend, Sam Schwartz.

Three years later, Nicole credits the Maccabiah Games as one of the most incredible experiences of her life. When asked about the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Maccabi USA, she instantly speaks of the Opening Ceremony, “It was amazing to look around the stadium and see thousands of people in the stands who were there for you, cheering you on; marching in with Team USA as well as the other delegations was a moment I will never forget.”

In addition to the Opening Ceremony, the competition made a significant impact on Nicole as an athlete. As an extremely competitive person, the tournaments were equally as important as experiencing Israel. Nicole won gold in Juniors Girls’ Singles and silver in Juniors Girls’ Doubles.

The Maccabiah Games allowed her to develop a deeper connection to Judaism and her Jewish community. In her opinion, the Maccabiah Games are the best scenario, “You get to travel to a different country, play in competitions in a sport you love, tour and sightsee historic sites and take in the culture of Israel.”

Currently, Nicole is a freshman at the University of New Hampshire and is hoping to compete again in the Open Division of Badminton for the 20th Maccabiah Games in the summer of 2017.

Maccabi USA is currently seeking qualified Jewish Badminton players to represent Team USA at the 20th World Maccabiah Games for Juniors Girls’ & Boys’ birth years 1999-2002 and Open Men & Women ages 18-35. To apply, click HERE, application deadline is October 31, 2016! For more information please contact Kim Mertens, Overall Badminton Chairman at kmertens2017@gmail.com.

 

Previously:

Dan Kurtz: Maccabi USA’s Alumni Relations Director

Emily Seelenfreund: A Maccabiah Trailblazer

Ellie Greenberg: In Her Own Words

From Maccabi Canada to Maccabi USA: Ice Hockey with Greg Gardner

From Running in to Coaching at the Maccabiah with Jordan Schilit

Building Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse Program with Eve Levinson

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!

Dan has always been enamored with Maccabi USA and its mission of using Sports to Build Jewish Pride and connect athletes to each other and their culture & heritage. Learn more about Dan and how he plans to build a broader Maccabi USA Alumni community.

Dan has always identified as a Jewish athlete. He started competing in Judo at the age of six and his teacher was a family friend, Lou Moyerman, who was already involved with Maccabi USA. As a young athlete, Dan had the opportunity to watch Lou prepare for the Maccabiah Games and knew how special it was; it became something he aspired to do. His first experience with the Maccabiah Games was as a coach/athlete for the Open Judo team at the 16th Maccabiah Games in 2001 where he won a team bronze medal. He had the opportunity to repeat that experience in the same role at the 17th Maccabiah Games in 2005, winning another team bronze medal.

shemon-perez-judo judo-210-a-3

(Dan pictured second from left on left photo and the left end on the right photo)

Dan has stayed involved with Maccabi USA as a manager, serving as Associate Team Manager at the 18th and 19th World Maccabiah Games in Israel and as the Team Manager at the European Maccabi Games in Berlin in 2015. When asked why he has stayed involved with Maccabi USA, Dan quickly replied, “The mission of the organization just spoke to me. Using sports to build Jewish Pride and help break the stereotypes that have hovered over Jewish athletes was very important to me. And of course, after having the opportunity to wear USA on your back as you march into the Opening Ceremony is an unforgettable experience; and I have done whatever I can to help others have that same life-changing opportunity.”

Dan’s first career was in art conservation and he had some amazing opportunities in that field. After the ISRAEL CONNECT program at his first Maccabiah Games in 2001, he sat on a beach reflecting on his recent experience and his life and decided he wanted to move his career in a direction where he could help others and contribute more towards society. Upon his return he moved into the education field where he held various positions in program development and implementation, consulting, and most recently as principal for a K-8 public school in Philadelphia.

After returning from Berlin as the Team Manager in 2015 and reflecting on the phenomenal experience he had just had, he felt he wanted to continue to make a greater impact on society in another role. During this time, he learned about the newly-developed Alumni Relations Director position at Maccabi USA and felt it would be a natural fit. This was the second time he changed career direction to focus on providing service to others after participating in a life-changing Maccabi experience.

“I’d always hoped to have the opportunity to be more involved [in Maccabi USA] and didn’t imagine the possibility of working as a member of the professional staff,” Dan reflected when talking about what compelled him to apply for this new position. “I was excited about the opportunity to re-engage alumni with the organization and to keep those already engaged more involved in order to build a broader community of Maccabi USA nationally.”

“People have a lasting memory and emotional connection to their Maccabi experience,” Dan continued. “I want to find ways to help them ‘re-kindle’ that emotional connection and recapture that feeling of pride of representing your country and being at the top of your game. I want them to draw from that experience and tap into that seminal moment of their Jewish identity.”

Dan will work on building the Maccabi USA Alumni Association by creating an infrastructure and engaging alumni at the local level. He hopes to do this developing local chapters in key regions with the support of Regional Chairs. The chapters will program and market activities that will include alumni and sport-specific reunions, happy hours, meet & greet sessions, team send-off parties, competitions and games.

Everyone at Maccabi USA is excited to help and support Dan as he develops Alumni Association chapters and programming. To stay involved and engaged, make sure to stay connected through social media. You can connect with Dan and the Alumni Association on Facebook at Maccabi USA Alumni and on Instagram and Twitter @MaccabiAlumni.

Dan and his wife Lisa live in suburban Philadelphia with their children Olivia and Everett, who are both avid soccer players.

 

Previously:

Emily Seelenfreund: A Maccabiah Trailblazer

Ellie Greenberg: In Her Own Words

From Maccabi Canada to Maccabi USA: Ice Hockey with Greg Gardner

From Running in to Coaching at the Maccabiah with Jordan Schilit

Building Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse Program with Eve Levinson

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!

The first time Emily Seelenfreund played Wheelchair Basketball as an 11 year old, she was hooked. Born with Osteogenesis imperfecta, or Brittle Bone Disease, which is characterized by fragile bones that break easily, she never thought she’d be able to play sports at a high level competitively. “I fell in love immediately with the team aspect and competitiveness of basketball,” recalls Emily. That moment marked the beginning of a prestigious Wheelchair Basketball career for her, culminating with her participation at the 2013 World Maccabiah Games.

Emily played as much basketball as she possibly could, competing throughout middle school and high school, eventually earning a scholarship to play at the University of Alabama. During her time at college where she studied Political Science and History, Emily won three National Championships with Alabama’s Wheelchair Basketball program, was a member of the USA under-25 team that won gold at the 2011 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championships, and was selected as an alternate for the 2012 London Paralympics. After graduating from college, Emily moved to New Mexico to take part in the “Teach for America” program, figuring her successful Wheelchair Basketball career had ended.

university-alabama-national-champion-wheelchair-basketballjpg-b273111f1417dc0d

(Emily pictured center, wearing jersey #21)

While living and teaching on the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, Emily was approached by Stu Greenberg, USA Organizing Committee Paralympic Sports Chairman for the 19th World Maccabiah Games in 2013. He asked her to consider representing Team USA on a team that also included a few Canadian and Dutch players. “I was hesitant to go, it was going to be a crazy hard year of teaching for me,” remembers Emily. “Knowing it was the first time Paralympic Basketball was offered at the Maccabiah Games, I had to be there to represent the USA in Israel, a country that’s very important to me, as it is the birthplace of my grandfather and home to my aunt and cousins, at an event that is so much bigger than sports.”

Emily’s most memorable moment as a Wheelchair Basketball athlete occurred prior to the gold medal match at the 2013 World Maccabiah Games. “Before the championship game, we hadn’t had huge crowds. But the Maccabiah organizers posted ads and ran buses to that game, and the stadium was completely full,” said Emily. “Even though we eventually lost the game, what a special moment it was to come into this packed gym and see all that support.”

PARABAS Portrait Basketball M&W Paralympic M19

(Team USA from the 2013 World Maccabiah Games)

These days, Emily is in her second year at Harvard Law School, with the ultimate goal of working in Disability Rights advocacy after graduation. For now, she plans on applying for Team USA for the 2017 World Maccabiah Games, which will mark the first time that the United States has a solely American squad. “Being one of the first Paralympic Basketball players at the Maccabiah Games was very special,” remarks Emily. “I want to continue to build this wonderful program and be a part of its tremendous growth.”

Maccabi USA is currently seeking qualified Jewish Paralympic Basketball players to represent Team USA at the 20th World Maccabiah Games on a Mixed Gender team for those ages 18-35. To apply, click HERE! For more information, please contact Stan Corn, Paralympic Basketball Chairman, at 804.221.3900 or stancorn@reagan.com.

 

Previously:

Ellie Greenberg: In Her Own Words

From Maccabi Canada to Maccabi USA: Ice Hockey with Greg Gardner

From Running in to Coaching at the Maccabiah with Jordan Schilit

Building Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse Program with Eve Levinson

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!

For the past few weeks, I have had the privilege of working alongside the Maccabi USA team at their headquarters in Philadelphia. I was tasked with “helping Maccabi USA improve its Marketing Communications platform by focusing on Digital Media.” The people I was surrounded with everyday created such a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and I am so grateful for their willingness to include me in their work environment. So – thank you Maccabi USA for the amazing externship experience you gave me!

As I stepped into the stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the 2015 Pan American Maccabi Games carrying the USA banner, I felt an enormous amount of pride. I heard “USA” announced on the loudspeaker and watched as the Americans in the stands cheered us on. I looked around and saw teams from Brazil, Cuba, and Uruguay…. So many people, how could they all be Jewish? After all the teams were called, the Opening Ceremony fittingly began with the Israeli National Anthem. I was dressed in stars and stripes, my neighbor in yellow and green, but there we were, together, singing the same words of Hatikvah.

IMG_0256

(Ellie is holding the left most banner and is third from the left)

That is the beauty of Maccabi; while my life is vastly different from the defender marking me on the field, we do share significant similarities. Nationality and language aside, we both love to play soccer and embrace our Jewish background.

Despite our similarities, I still had much to learn from these other Maccabi athletes.

My team faced Brazil in the finals. And while Brazil was our competition, they represented a type of sportsmanship I had never before experienced.

IMG_7178 r

As the final whistle blew, I ran to my teammates with excitement. We had just won the gold! But amid our celebrations, I failed to notice what was happening on the sideline.

The Brazilian captain had approached the referee and asked to present Team USA with their gold medals.

And suddenly, each member of Brazil’s team was hanging a medal around our necks. These girls were so encouraging and excited for us, clapping and celebrating; I doubt I will ever again encounter sportsmanship similar that exhibited by Brazil’s team.

E49B3280

Having experienced the 2013 World Maccabiah Games in Israel, I was tentative about traveling to Santiago for Pan Am. I had such an incredible experience in Tel Aviv, I could not imagine anything could compare. But I was wrong. Chile and Israel were each such unique, amazing Games, complete with different teammates and different experiences, but both with the same underlying concept: Building Jewish Pride Through Sports.

I applied for the 2017 Maccabiah games for the same reason I traveled to Chile this past December – the experiences Maccabi USA has given to me and the memories made while at these competitions are so unique, so fun, and so meaningful. I have made some of my best friends through Maccabi, and I hope that I can represent the USA next summer in Israel!

Maccabi USA is currently seeking qualified Jewish Soccer players to represent Team USA at the 20th World Maccabiah Games in the following divisions: Juniors Girls (Born 1999-2002) & Boys (Born 2001-2002), Youth Men (Born 1999-2000), Open Men & Women (Ages 18-35) and Masters Men (Ages 35+ & Ages 45+). To apply, click HERE! For more information, please contact Shane Carr, Program Director, at 215.561.6900 x. 4147 or scarr@maccabiusa.com.

 

Previously:

From Maccabi Canada to Maccabi USA: Ice Hockey with Greg Gardner

From Running in to Coaching at the Maccabiah with Jordan Schilit

Building Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse Program with Eve Levinson

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!

Greg Gardner was the first player EVER signed by the then-expansion Columbus Blue Jackets of the National Hockey League on May 4, 2000; he is now aiming to become the first Head Coach of Maccabi USA’s Open Men’s Hockey team to capture the gold medal at the World Maccabiah Games.

cbj_gardner

(Greg signing his contract with Columbus)

A native of Westside, Toronto, Greg is in his third year as the Assistant Men’s Ice Hockey coach at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania, his tenth year as an NCAA Division 1 coach. He grew up as many Canadian children do, with a hockey stick glued to his hands. He found his calling as a Goalie playing Triple AAA hockey and travelling throughout Canada competing, eventually earning a four-year scholarship to play at Niagara University in New York. He achieved great success there, leading the NCAA in goals against average during the 1999-2000 season and setting the record for the most shutouts in a season in the process.

In 1996, during the summer before his sophomore year of college, his father approached him with an idea. “A newspaper advertisement came across my dad’s desk for something called the Maccabiah Games,” recalled Greg. “I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I drove to Montreal and made Team Canada.”

Generally the only Jewish athlete on his teams throughout his youth and college, Greg’s experience in Israel in 1997 helped shape him into who he is today. “Playing in the Maccabiah Games is an incredible memory and one I’ve carried with me forever,” exclaimed Greg. “It’s an experience that can’t properly be explained unless you are a part of it.” In an ironic twist, Greg led Maccabi Canada to the gold medal in Open Men’s Ice Hockey at the 1997 World Maccabiah Games, defeating Team USA in the finals.

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(Greg in 1997  wearing a USA jersey (center)… He swapped jerseys with Team USA’s Goalie)

Despite his success on the ice, Gardner’s best memories from the Games happened off the ice. They include: Going to the Western Wall and travelling throughout the desert with his teammates, walking on the border of Lebanon through Metula, and traversing Masada. “Winning a medal is/was important,” explained Greg. “But it’s really about connecting with Israel and forming relationships with Jewish athletes on your team and from around the world.”

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(Team Canada posing on a tank in Israel at the 1997 World Maccabiah Games)

As the Head Coach of the USA Open Men’s Ice Hockey team at the 2017 World Maccabiah Games, Greg’s goals are twofold. He wants to provide his team with the right environment for them to experience a lifetime of memories, and of course to win a gold medal. “The goal is to bring the team together quickly, have an experience of a lifetime prior to playing Hockey and then perform at the highest level possible during the competition,” said Greg. “I feel blessed to have this experience and opportunity to be a role model for these young men at the Maccabiah and in Israel.”

Maccabi USA is currently seeking Jewish Ice Hockey players for a Juniors Boys’ team, for those born between 1999-2002, an Open Men’s team, 18-39, and a Masters Men’s team, ages 40+. To apply, click HERE! For more information, please contact Shane Carr, Program Director, at 215.561.6900 x. 4147 or scarr@maccabiusa.com.

 

Previously:

From Running in to Coaching at the Maccabiah with Jordan Schilit

Building Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse Program with Eve Levinson

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!

By his own estimation, the 2005 World Maccabiah Games changed Jordan Schilit’s life. “Going to Israel (in 2005) as an athlete truly opened my eyes to the whole Jewish experience and gave me a chance to find one of my greatest passions, Track & Field,” recalled Jordan. “The sport was new to me at the time. Those Games made me want to do something meaningful with Track & Field.” Today, Jordan is the Assistant Coach for the Men’s & Women’s Track & Field team at Middlebury College in Vermont and will serve as the Head Coach for Team USA’s Juniors Track & Field team at the 2017 World Maccabiah Games!

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(Jordan at the 2005 World Maccabiah Games)

After the 2005 Games, Jordan was hooked on the sport and would begin a career filled with personal and team achievements. Schilit attended Haverford College as an undergraduate, helping Haverford win their first ever NCAA team championship, and was a six-time NCAA Division III All-American in both Track & Field as well as Cross Country. After graduation, he competed professionally for the prestigious Nike Oregon Track Club Elite. In his own words, much of his success throughout his career stems from his coach in 2005, Todd Wolin. “I attribute a lot of my success to him and what he taught me in Israel,” exclaimed Jordan. “I didn’t even think about running in college, and here I am as an All-American, in many ways thanks to the direction and guidance I received from Coach Wolin.”

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(Jordan with Nike Oregon Track Club Elite)

In 2013, Jordan returned to Israel with Team USA as a member of the Open Men’s Track and Field team. Coming into those Games, he felt very confident in his abilities as a runner, having just graduated from Haverford with his aforementioned decorations. Unfortunately, Jordan contracted mononucleosis prior to the Games and knew he wasn’t going to be able to perform to his standards. That didn’t stop Jordan from sharing a very special moment with his family.

The Opening Ceremony at the World Maccabiah Games are special for nearly everyone involved, with thousands of Jewish athletes from around the world marching into Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem supported by tens of thousands of Jews. “Somehow, I spotted my parents in the crowd,” remembers Jordan. “It was a very special moment for me to go over and jump the barriers and take a picture with them. I will never forget that.”

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(Jordan and his parents Karen and Keith at the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Maccabiah)

Jordan hopes to impact his athletes in 2017 the way his coaches did for him in 2005 and beyond. “For many, this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I want to offer all the knowledge I have, and really want to effect and impact their lives like Coach Wolin and others did for me,” exclaimed Jordan. “The whole Maccabi experience is coming full circle for me, and I couldn’t be more excited!”

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(Jordan running for Haverford College)

Maccabi USA is currently seeking Jewish Track & Field athletes for Juniors Boys’ and Girls’ teams, for those born between 1999-2002, as well as Open Men’s and Women’s teams, ages 18-35. To apply, click HERE! For more information, please contact Shane Carr, Program Director, at 215.561.6900 x. 4147 or scarr@maccabiusa.com.

 

Previously:

Building Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse Program with Eve Levinson

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!

For the first time in history, Lacrosse will be played at the World Maccabiah Games, and Team USA has tasked Eve Levinson to lay the roots for the long-term success of Maccabi USA’s Lacrosse program.

This isn’t the first time Eve has started a program; she was the first Head Coach for Philadelphia’s JCC Maccabi Games Lacrosse team in 2010, and again in 2011.  She was also the first Head Women’s Lacrosse Coach for Mercer University, who compete in Division 1 of the NCAA. “I am thrilled to be at the forefront of another Lacrosse program,” remarked Eve. “It’s an honor to put your own stamp on a program and build it in the way you think it will have lasting success.”

Eve Mercer

At the JCC Maccabi Games, Eve enjoyed watching her players interact with their opponents. “I watched my athletes connect with girls from around the country who were Jewish athletes, which many of them weren’t used to,” recalls Levinson. This is one of her ultimate goals for the upcoming Maccabiah Games – to encourage her girls to foster these types of relationships.  “The Maccabiah is all about learning about your Jewish community, making this experience much more than just competition.”

Make no mistake, Eve wants to leave Israel and the first-ever Maccabiah Lacrosse competition as gold medalists. That being said, it was the third thing she mentioned when asked what she was looking to accomplish in Israel. “It’s always fun to win, especially for your country,” she explained. “But, I want to make sure our girls come together as a team off of the field and build their personal Lacrosse community, both in the United States and abroad.”

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(Eve with her team from the 2010 JCC Maccabi Games)

In addition to serving as Maccabi USA’s Chairperson for the Lacrosse program, Eve is also on the board of Maccabi Young Leadership’s Philadelphia chapter.

Maccabi USA is currently seeking Jewish Lacrosse players for the Juniors Girls’ team for those born between 1999-2002, and the Open Women’s team, ages 18-35. To apply, click HERE! For more information, please contact Shane Carr, Program Director, at 215.561.6900 x. 4147 or scarr@maccabiusa.com.

 

Previously:

Maccabi USA Baseball with Eric Holtz

From the Maccabiah to Maccabi Young Leadership

Maccabi USA Cricket led my Former Israeli National Team Cricketer

Judo: A Family Affair with Adam Moyerman

Tennis in Santiago with Natasha Dabrowski

Maccabi USA Golf with Dan Frankel

Swimming for a Purpose with Sarah Solomon

Maccabi USA Field Hockey with Rebekah Abrams

Breaking the International Maccabi Games Golf Scoring Record at the European Maccabi Games

Ori Hoffer on Preparing for his First Maccabi USA Experience

Half Marathon with Melissa Perlman

Women’s Soccer with Catie Chase

Coaching at the EMG with Scott Garson

Maccabi USA Soccer with Morry Steinbach

Prepping for the European Maccabi Games with Zak Elfenbein

Maccabi Memories with Caroline Post

Maccabi Memories with Dallen Stanford

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Halpern

Maccabi Memories with Charly Santagado

Maccabi Memories with Matthew Monheit

Maccabi Memories with Lenny Krayzelburg

Maccabi Memories with Rachel Magerman

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater

Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

 

Like Maccabi USA on Facebook and follow Maccabi USA on Twitter and Instagram!!