MACCABI USA TO BRING LARGEST SPORTS DELEGATION EVER TO WORLD MACCABIAH GAMES

Philadelphia, PA, June 5, 2017 – Jeff Bukantz, General Chairman, 20th Maccabiah USA Organizing Committee, announces the appointment of Team USA to compete at the Games in Israel, July 4-18. The Team, over 1,100 strong, will be the largest delegation EVER to travel from North America to compete in an International sporting event. There will be an additional group of over 300 friends and family from the Maccabiah Supporters Mission that will travel with Maccabi USA to cheer on the Team.

“In just over three weeks, over 1,110 members of Team USA will arrive in Israel for the experience of a lifetime at the World Maccabiah Games” said Bukantz. “The Maccabiah is the world’s third largest sporting competition, and there will be over 10,000 athletes from 80 countries participating. I have been humbled to serve as General Chair and head of Delegation for Team USA for the second time. An Organizing Committee of 125 dedicated volunteers has worked diligently for the last 18 months to make the athletes’ dreams come true. This talented group of Jewish athletes will get to experience the culture and beauty of Israel during our ISRAEL CONNECT program and then begin the Games with the emotional march into the Opening Ceremony at Teddy Stadium in historic Jerusalem. And then, the Games begin. GO TEAM USA!”

As of today, there are 1,126 Jewish American athletes and coaches that will comprise Team USA. They come from 42 states, Australia, Barcelona, Canada, the District of Columbia, Japan, and Sweden. The States are: Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The largest number of athletes comes from California [241] and New York [222].

Team USA includes athletes and alumni of many of the top colleges and universities in the country, including all Ivy League schools, Georgetown, MIT, Stanford, and Northwestern. Team USA is comprised of 71 Open, Juniors, Youth, Masters, and Grand-Masters divisional teams participating in 34 different sports. Olympian Eli Dershwitz will participate as a member of the Open Fencing Team, and Olympian Anthony Ervin will participate as a member of the Open Swim Team. Other Olympian athletes include Zach Test of the USA Rugby 7’s Team, Head Coach of Open Men’s Rugby 7’s.

The sports that Team USA will compete in are: Archery, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Chess, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Field Hockey, Futsal, Golf, Gymnastics, Half Marathon, Ice Hockey, Judo, Karate, Lacrosse, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Rowing, Rugby, Soccer, Softball, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Track & Field, Triathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo, and Wrestling. This will be the first time Lacrosse and Juniors Boys’ Water Polo competitions will take place at the Maccabiah Games. Basketball, compromised of eight divisions, has the largest number of teams, with Open Men’s and Women’s; Juniors Boys’ and Girls’; Youth Men’s; Paralympic; Masters Men’s 35+ and 45+ teams competing.

The Maccabiah Games are about more than sports competitions. They are an opportunity for Jewish athletes from around the world to convene in Israel for an elite athletic competition and to explore their common culture and heritage in the historic Jewish Homeland. The Juniors, Open, and Youth divisions of Team USA arrive in Israel once week in advance of the Games to participate in the ISRAEL CONNECT (IC) cultural and educational program that is unique to Maccabi USA. The IC program provides these athletes with the opportunity to tour the historic and religious sites of Israel as members of Team USA so they can bond with each other, their culture and Heritage and experience the magic and beauty of Israel.

The Maccabiah Games are the third largest international sporting event in the world, after the Summer Olympics and Pan American Games. There will be over 10,000 participants from 80 countries at the 20th World Maccabiah Games.

If you would like more information about the Games or to schedule an interview, please contact Dakota Marine at 215.561.6900 x4156 or dmarine@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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It is more than just a wall.  It is a symbol of resilience, perseverance, sacrifice, and faith. For thousands of years, the Jewish people have been hunted, imprisoned, forced to convert, and been the victims of mass extermination. The dominant Western civilizations of history- the Greeks, the Romans, the Spanish, and the Germans all had plans to crush the Jewish spirit and erase the Jewish culture. In the end, all of the great and powerful empires of history have fallen, but the Jewish people have remained. I put my hand on the rocks that, 2,000 years ago, guarded the epicenter of Jewish life. The 2,000 year story of Jewish strength and perseverance is still being written, and Judaism continues to thrive in the face of all adversity. The Maccabiah Games signify a rebirth of the Jewish image, a sign to the world that the Jewish people are capable of amazing feats of strength and athletic ability. As part of the US delegation to the 2017 Maccabiah Games, my teammates and I carry on the torch of Jewish heritage, and strive to honor the history and struggle of our ancestors as we work to bring light, peace, and understanding into the world.

Previously:

The Magic of Maccabi with USA Team Rabbi Daniel Greyber

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!!

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 spulley@maccabiusa.com or directly at 215.561.6900.

Previously:

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!!