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Rachel Magerman is one of thousands of Jewish-American athletes who have competed in the World Maccabiah Games. For our latest Maccabi Memories, she shares highlights from her experience playing Field Hockey for Maccabi USA in the 2013 World Maccabiah Games, her memories of being the youngest player on the USA Pan Am Maccabi Field Hockey team in 2007, and she explains why she hopes to return to Israel for the World Maccabiah Games in 2017.

Rachel Magerman on Getting Involved with Maccabi USA…

I first got involved with Maccabiah because of my grandmother, Phyllis Magerman. She was a huge proponent of Maccabi USA and I wanted to experience for myself the excitement of the international Maccabi Games. I was the youngest member of the USA Field Hockey team at the 2007 Pan Am Maccabi Games and I was shocked by how open the other girls on the team were. They treated me with respect and made me feel at home on the team.

On Pre-Maccabiah Games Training…

We never actually trained as a team before the Maccabiah Games until we arrived in Israel for ISRAEL CONNECT, the cultural and education program prior to the Games. During this time we did a lot of drills that focused on team building. We had never played together as a team before, so the biggest struggle was being able to develop a connection as a team in such a short period of time.

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On the Maccabiah Games Social Experience…

Socially I could not have asked for a better experience. I was fortunate enough that my mother was my coach and my father was the chairman for Field Hockey, so I got to not only experience the Games with my teammates and fellow USA athletes, but I got to experience the Games with my family, as well. ISRAEL CONNECT was an incredible experience and I think that it really gave athletes the time to get to know one another independent of what sport they played. Once the games actually began it was difficult to spend time with people who were not staying in your hotel or in the same city as your team.

On Meeting Athletes from Other Countries…

I met the foreign athletes from other countries who played Field Hockey. I developed friendships with some of the Dutch field hockey girls and our teams would socialize together at night.

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On Sightseeing in Israel…

My favorite place we visited was the Dead Sea. It was unlike anywhere else I had ever been and the scenery was breath-taking.

On Maccabiah Games Highlights…

My proudest moment from the Games was being chosen to meet the Mayor of Jerusalem. It was such an honor and I will keep that memory with me for the rest of my life.

The Opening Ceremony is a really special experience. No other time in my life have I been in a place where so many people from different countries are interacting.

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A Recommendation for Future Participants…

The Maccabiah Games give you the opportunity to meet other Jewish athletes from all over the world. When I was in Israel, surrounded by other Jewish athletes from all walks of life, my Jewish identity was strengthened in a way that I did not know was possible. There is a connection that all the athletes share and it is really special. Playing in the Maccabiah Games was one of the most memorable experiences of my life and I hope that I have the opportunity to play in the next Games in 2017!

Previously:

Maccabi Memories with Noah Springwater
Maccabi Memories with Stuart Weitzman

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