MACCABI USA ANNOUNCES THE OPEN MEN’S RUGBY TEAM FOR THE 20TH WORLD MACCABIAH GAMES

Philadelphia, PA, May 30, 2017 – Maccabi USA Rugby Chair Dave Rudzinsky along with Head Coach Shawn Lipman, is pleased to announce the Open Men’s Rugby Team for the 20th World Maccabiah Games, which will take place July 4-18, 2017 in Israel. Maccabi USA will bring a team of 1,100+ athletes who will be part of the 10,000 Jewish athletes from 80 countries, participating in 43 different sports.  Coach Lipman will be assisted by USA Rugby legend and 2016 Olympian, Zack Test and former USA Rugby 7’s and 15’s standout Kevin Swiryn has been named Team Captain.

The athletes are Alex Appel of Malden, MA, Mystic River Rugby Club; Aaron Blatt of Tarzana, CA, Santa Monica Rugby Club; Jack Braun of New York, NY, Dartmouth Rugby; Jared Braun of Redwood City, CA, Olympic Club; Seth Cohen New York, NY, NYAC; Shawn Cox of Austin, TX, Austin Huns; Chance Doyle of New Orleans, LA, NOLA; Howard Goldsmith of Chicago, IL, Westside Condors; Sam Harrison of Colorado Springs, CO, Colorado College; Benjamin Hirschman of Boulder, CO, University of Colorado; Devin Ibanez of Brookline, MA, Scarborough Rugby (UK); Isaac Katz of Philadelphia, PA, Philly Whitemarsh; Michael Korn of Vail, CO, New England College; Joseph Krassenstein of Los Angeles, CA, Santa Monica Rugby Club; Tanner Mohr of Davis, CA, Olympic Club; Derek Patick of Columbus, OH, Columbus Rugby; Devin Pearl of Buffalo, NY, Buffalo Rugby; Mason Pedersen of Long Beach, CA, Austin Huns; Samuel Rabb of Dallas, TX, Dallas Reds; Benjamin Rotstein of Denver, CO, Glendale Raptors; Michael Rudzinsky of Reading, MA, Mystic River Rugby Club; Matthew Sarna of Fair Lawn, NJ, Rocky Gorge; Spencer Sarver of Redwood City, CA, San Francisco Golden Gate; Chase Schor Haskin of Pembroke Pines, FL, St Thomas Aquinas; Zachary Strom of Denver, CO, Glendale Raptors; Kevin Swiryn of Seattle, WA, Seattle Saracens/USA Rugby; Tristan Sylk of Penn Valley, PA, Philly Whitemarsh; and Roman Wilson of Norman, OK, Oklahoma.

Since 1932, over 62,000 athletes have participated in the Maccabiah Games, in a celebration of Jewish Strength and Solidarity. Team USA’s success is not only measured by the medals won, but by the impact that the Maccabiah experience had on their lives as well as the friendships they formed.

Maccabi USA builds Jewish pride through sports, generating the emotional intensity, high ideals, and powerful camaraderie of competition.  We connect athletes, volunteers, and supporters with the global Jewish community.  Our athletic, educational, and cultural experiences build Jewish identity, perpetuate Jewish continuity worldwide, and strengthen support for the State of Israel.

For more information, please contact Maccabi USA Program Director Shane Carr at 215-561-6900 or by email at scarr@maccabiusa.com.

About the organization:

Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) Organization with an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs.  The Organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, and the Pan American and European Maccabi Games, as well as a sponsor of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America.  As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities. It strives to provide Jewish athletes all over the world the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings. MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish Continuity, Zionism and Excellence in Sport.  Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.

Maccabi USA has been selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) as a Multi-Sport Organization (MSO). The nonprofit Organization becomes one of 35 MSOs nationwide to be recognized by the USOC for its ability to cultivate a national interest in sport and increase opportunities for participation internationally, nationally and at the grassroots level.

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MACCABI USA RUGBY LAUNCHES INAUGURAL HALL OF FAME

Philadelphia, PA, January 23, 2017 – The inaugural class of the Maccabi USA Rugby Hall of Fame will be inducted Friday, March 3, 2017 in Las Vegas alongside the USA Rugby Sevens, part of the World Series of Rugby. The inductees are Jeff Ebner (z”l), Craig Levine, Jeff Simon, and Jordan Weinstein.

Jeff Ebner (z”l), formerly of Springfield, OH, was a fly-half/center for the 1989 bronze Medal team. He was inducted into the Sciotto Valley Rugby Hall of Fame in 2006. Jeff began his rugby career at the University of Minnesota and also played with Des Moines, Dallas Harlequins and Dayton. He played all-star rugby for Heart of America RFU, Texas RFU and Ohio RFU. Jeff will be inducted posthumously. His son Nate Ebner of the USA Olympic Rugby Team and Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots will accept the honor on his behalf.

Craig Levine, of Eliot, ME, was a Hooker and gold medalist for Maccabi USA Rugby at the 1997 World Maccabiah Games, a silver medalist in 1993, Captain of the 1991 bronze Medalists, Head Coach of the 2009 bronze Medal team and 1995 Pan-Am gold Medalist in Rugby Sevens. He began his rugby career at San Diego State University where he played between 1988 and 1991. Craig also played for the USA National Rugby Team in 1998, USA Rugby East and was a two time Harp Super League All-Star. He was inducted to the Old Blue Hall of Fame in 2011.

Jeff Simon, of Northbrook, IL, Head Coach of the gold Medal Maccabi USA Rugby team in 1997, won silver as vice-captain and fullback/scrum-half in 1993, bronze as Fullback in 1989 and served as Rugby Chairman from 1998 to 2013. He played for the Chicago Lions from 1986 to 1994 and during several of those years played for both the Midwest RFU 15’s and 7’s All Star Teams; and was the 1990 Midwest 7’s MVP. Jeff’s rugby career began at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1981 and was on the first ever Texas Collegiate All-Star team in 1984.

Jordan Weinstein, of Uxbridge, MA won a bronze medal as a wing for Team USA in the inaugural rugby competition at the World Maccabiah Games in 1985, and served as Rugby Chairman from 1987 to 1995. He is considered the “Godfather” of Maccabi USA Rugby. Jordan was the chairman when the USA won its first ever Gold Medal in Maccabiah competition in 7’s at the 1995 Pan Am Maccabiah Games in Argentina. He was the impetus for the addition of Rugby Sevens at the World Maccabiah Games.

“We are inducting four great men into our first Hall of Fame class. All four epitomize commitment, sacrifice, winning and camaraderie. There were so many great choices, and as we do, we debated it heavily, but our Godfather, the first Head Coach of a US Gold Medal in rugby in the Maccabiah Games, a five time Maccabi medalist and our fallen brother, who grew the game and impacted so many, as personified by his son, a rugby Olympian and Super Bowl Champion, is a fine way to start a new tradition for a team, a family and a people who have so much great tradition,” said Jon Velie, Chairman of the Maccabi USA Rugby Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held Friday, March 3rd from 7:30-9:30pm at the Border Grill at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. To purchase tickets or for additional information contact Jon Velie at jon@velielaw.com or 405-821-5959 and visit www.usmaccabiahrugby.com.

About the organization:

Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs.  The organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, and the Pan American and European Maccabi Games, as well as a sponsor of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America.  As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities.  It strives to provide Jewish athletes the world over the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings.  MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish Continuity, Zionism and Excellence in Sport.  Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.

Maccabi USA is a U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Multi-Sport Organization (MSO). The organization is one of 38 MSOs nationwide to be recognized by the USOC for its ability to cultivate a national interest in sport and increase opportunities for participation internationally, nationally and at the grassroots level. 

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MACCABI USA – Building Jewish Pride Through Sports


Rugby Journal

Today we feature Dallen Stanford, captain of Maccabi USA’s gold medal winning Rugby 7’s team and captain of Team USA’s bronze medal winning Rugby 15’s team at the 2013 World Maccabiah Games. Read below to learn more about Dallen’s experiences with Maccabi USA both on and off the field.

 Q: What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Maccabi USA?

A: Wonderful memories of the fantastic organization that gave us the opportunity to travel to Israel, connect with our roots, make new friends for life, and represent the United States at the 2013 World Maccabiah Games.

Q: How did you first become involved with Maccabi USA?

A: I had known about the Maccabiah Games for many years, as my uncle (Alec Levin) won the Gold in Rugby for Team South Africa at the 1981 World Maccabiah Games.  I learnt about Maccabi USA from a friend and teammate, Kevin “Meat” Armstrong, who played for Team USA at the 2005 World Maccabiah Games.  Upon moving to America, I played Rugby for the Occidental Olde Boys in Los Angeles, where Kevin was my teammate.  He recommended I get involved prior to the 2009 Games.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take part in the 2009 World Maccabiah Games, as I was busy representing the USA in Rugby 7’s as part of the IRB Sevens World Series schedule.  A few years later legendary rugby player Shawn Lipman, captain of Team USA’s 1997 Rugby team, which went undefeated, was named the Head Coach of Team USA for the 2013 World Maccabiah Games.  Shawn contacted me to captain the squad, and that is when the exciting journey began!

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Q: What compels you to stay involved with Maccabi USA?

A: The connections made with all those involved in the Rugby program are life lasting, and through sharing such a profound experience in Israel, one is compelled to stay and contribute where possible.  Recently, the USA Eagles hosted the New Zealand All Blacks in Chicago.  Events like these always host a massive Maccabi USA Rugby reunion, and keep that connection we have with each other.

Q: How would you describe the Opening Ceremonies?

A: The Opening Ceremony was like nothing I have ever experienced!  It was such a fantastic atmosphere with thousands of athletes coming together and celebrating one of the greatest sporting events in the world.  Seeing a video message from President Barack Obama play on the big screen made me realize how recognized and important the Maccabiah Games were on the global stage.

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Q: Describe your personal Maccabiah experience, both on and off the field.

A: I was very impressed with the skill level of all the teams in the Rugby competition.  Going in we knew it would be difficult to take 30 individuals from across the USA and create a cohesive team in a short space of time. Our coaches and staff did an amazing job preparing us for the 7’s and 15’s events, and it was very special that we were able to defeat Israel 17-14 to win Team USA’s first Rugby gold medal since 1997.  Although we narrowly lost to Australia in the semifinals of the 15’s competition, we finished strong with a win over Great Britain to capture the bronze medal.

On the field, my most memorable moment would have to be immediately after the final whistle of the gold medal game in the Rugby 7’s competition, when our whole team dove on us after we won.  It was extra special for me being honored as the MVP 32 years after my uncle had won the gold.  Off the field, there were many memorable moments for me.  The week-long spiritual journey we experienced through the ISRAEL CONNECT program was unbelievable. The Opening Ceremony in front of 40,000 people was such a magical moment together, socializing with Jews from other countries. Lastly, being chosen alongside four other Team USA captains to meet the Mayor of Jerusalem was a special honor for myself.

Rugby MVP

Q: Describe the relationships you developed with other Jewish athletes from around the world.

A: I started playing Rugby at 6 years old, and have been fortunate to travel the world through this amazing sport.  The people, places and memories along this journey have been unbelievable.  This experience was very different; Our unique background as Jewish Rugby players bonded our squad, and is the main reason why this competition was unlike any other I have experienced.  Bonding with Team USA athletes in sports other than Rugby was special as well.  Team USA’s Rugby and Water Polo teams have a longstanding tradition of supporting one another at the Games, and we did our best to continue that tradition.  Prior to the beginning of USA Water Polo’s gold medal game against Israel, the Israeli national anthem played, but they did not play the United States’ national anthem.  To lift our “teammates”, the entire Rugby team stood up in the stands and sang the national anthem, without any accompanying music! This type of support was returned, which meant a tremendous amount to us.  Finally, playing against my country of birth, South Africa, was amazing to me as I shared connections from my time growing up with many of their athletes.

Q: What would you say to an athlete who asked you if they should compete in the Maccabiah Games?

A: It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and even though there might be other factors effecting one’s participation, it will be one of the best decisions that you could ever make in your life.

I’d like to thank Maccabi USA for everything they do for Jewish athletes, and the important connection to Israel they make. I also want to thank our coaches Shawn Lipman, Gregory Schor Haskin, Co-Charimen Jeff Simon and Josh Kaplan, management and staff;  David “Buzzy” Ridzinsky, Suzanne & Barry Seidel, Sarah Sall, David Danker, Ben Wells. Marc Stcherbina, and John DiBattista.  Lastly, thank you to those 30 sensations that made up our squad, and to Vice-Captain Aaron Loring David. #FinishStrong #FTB.

Maccabi USA is currently seeking Jewish Rugby players, ages 18-35, to compete at the Pan American Maccabi Games for the Open Men’s 7’s and/or 15’s Rugby teams. For more information, please contact Shane Carr, Program Director, at 267.627.5647 or scarr@maccabiusa.com.

Previously:

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

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