Nearly 2,000 teens attend JCC Maccabi games in Fort Lauderdale


August 18, 2023

The JWB Jewish Chaplains entered the stadium to kick off the parade of athletes at JCC Maccabi Games® and Access opening ceremony in Ft. Lauderdale. The chaplains are participating in the JWB Jewish Chaplains Council®: Chaplain and Lay Leader Training Conference in Miami.

Following the historic JCC Maccabi Games in Israel, the world's largest Jewish youth sports event continued with JCC Association of North America's 41st JCC Maccabi Games® and Access events in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, August 7-11, hosted by the David Posnack JCC. The opening ceremony was held at the FLA Live Arena, with more than three dozen state, county, and local officials as well as prominent Jewish leaders attending. The Games are a dynamic experience of Olympic-style sports and volunteer service designed to strengthen Jewish teens' identities and connections to global Jewish peoplehood.

Nearly 2,000 Jewish teens comprising 64 delegations from the U.S., Canada, and six other nations around the world were gathering for the inspiring week-long events. For the first time, delegations from Argentina, South Africa, and Ukraine, which also sent a delegation to the recent Israel-based Games, were participating. Israel, Great Britain, and Mexico, countries that regularly participate in the Games, were also represented. The Games feature baseball, basketball, ice hockey, girls' volleyball, flag football, lacrosse, soccer, table tennis, tennis, swimming, and dance competitions. The Games' closing ceremony and celebratory dinner on Friday, Aug. 11, featured the passing of the JCC Maccabi torch to next year's host communities.

The JCC Maccabi Games are not just about sports and athletics but also serve as a spark to ignite Jewish pride and identity in Jewish youth and an opportunity for them to develop lifelong friendships with Jewish peers from around the world. JCC Maccabi plays a vital role in offering Jewish experiences to Jewish teenagers who otherwise would not have access to them. For 63 percent of teens, the JCC Maccabi Games is their only engagement with an organized Jewish youth event, global Jewish life, and Israel. The 350 coaches, delegation heads, and scores of volunteers who make the Games possible leave a lasting impression on the teens' sense of Jewish community and Jewish identity. For more than 40 years, across 111 host communities, and touching over 500,000 Jewish teens, families, and volunteers, JCC Maccabi has stood as one of the most significant Jewish peoplehood initiatives of our time.

In addition to sports, athletes engage in volunteer and community support experiences through JCC Cares, the service arm of the JCC Maccabi experience that brings to life the JCC Maccabi value (midot) of tikkun olam (repairing the world).

"I am filled with pride this summer as more than 3,000 Jewish teens from around the world take part in the JCC Maccabi Games, one of the foremost Jewish peoplehood initiatives of our time." shares Doron Krakow, president and CEO of JCC Association of North America. "We returned to Israel for just the second time in our history as we joined in the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the fulfillment of the Zionist dream. We continue in Fort Lauderdale for one of the largest such gatherings in recent memory.  For thousands of athletes, along with coaches, volunteers, host families and a wall-to-wall coalition of Jewish community organizations, this year's Games are an extraordinary reminder of the capacity for good across a diverse and dynamic Jewish community."

At the Games' conclusion, JCC Association of North America officially announced the host communities for the 42nd JCC Maccabi Games® in 2024. The Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit in West Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, will host the Games from July 28 to Aug. 2, 2024, for athletes ages 12-16. And in Houston, Texas, the Evelyn Rubenstein JCC will host the JCC Maccabi Games® and Access from Aug. 4 to 9, 2024, for athletes ages 12-16 and Access athletes ages 12-22. Detroit and Houston will be the 112th and 113th JCC communities to bring the Games home.


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