Growing up in a predominantly Jewish suburb of Maryland, Daniel Greyber was active in the Jewish community, but swimming was his main priority. In an effort to combine the two, Dr. Ricky Reff, who was President of the JCC of Greater Washington at the time, introduced Greyber to the magic of Maccabi. Greyber’s Maccabi career began at the 1986 The North American Maccabi Youth Games in Toronto and in 1988 he was approached to compete with the Maccabi USA at the 1988 Australian Maccabi Sports Carnival.
While Australia provided him with a taste for the Jewish sports world outside the United States, Greyber’s biggest desire was to compete in Israel for the World Maccabiah Games, and in 1993 his dream came true as he joined the U.S. delegation for the 14th World Maccabiah Games. These Games were a life-changing experience for Greyber whose competitive swimming career did not involve many Jewish athletes.
The opportunity to be part of the Open Swimming Team provided him with a Jewish community unlike anything he had experienced before – there was camaraderie that developed on his team. He can say with a lot of clarity that if it was not for his participation in these Games, he does not think he would be a Rabbi – the Games provided him with a “bridge between his life and core identity as a swimmer to his life and core identity as a Jewish person in the world.”
His most vivid memory of the 1993 Maccabiah Games is when he won the Gold Medal in the 100m Backstroke. When he reached back and touched first, his head shot out of the water and he looked around from the outdoor pool in Tel Aviv. The sun was setting on a perfect summer evening and he found the faces of his Israeli family watching in the crowd. He recalls an “incredible feeling of being at home,” in both the water as a competitive swimmer, and in Israel as a place where everyone was Jewish. In that moment he “understood that as a Jew, his life held a larger purpose to the Jewish people” and this impacted his decision to become a Rabbi.
As a veteran of the Games, and the Rabbi of the 19th World Maccabiah Games, Greyber finds that being the USA Team Rabbi is a convergence of “all the amazing things in his life” – he understands the power of this experience. His role as Rabbi is two-fold: to help the athletes frame the Games as something beyond a sports competition; and to help them think about their Jewish identities within the meaning of their lives.
Rabbi Greyber is encouraging people to sign up for the B’nai Mitzvah ceremony; registration will be open on April 1, 2017 on CareMonkey. The ceremony is a way for athletes and their families to find their connection to the Jewish People and to affirm and deepen their connection to the state of Israel. The purpose is not to see how many lines of Hebrew participants can memorize, but rather to give individuals an opportunity in a beautiful place to step forward and say, “I am here to celebrate my connection to the Jewish people and the Jewish religion.”
For more questions please contact Games Assistant Samantha Pulley at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly at 215.561.6900.
Maccabi World Union Internship: Jessica Goodkin
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!!