Celebrating 36 Years of JCC Maccabi
“Friends and brothers – wake and arise!….Get organized!….Train not your spirit alone, but your muscles as well. Stand strong and upright and study diligently and enthusiastically. We will have need of your strength and knowledge…” – Theodor Herzl
“A mind which wishes to be brave, healthy, and noble, had better be in a sound, fit, and upright body.” – Henrietta Szold
Planning is now underway for the 2018 JCC Maccabi Games® and JCC Maccabi ArtsFest®, which will be held in California. The Merage JCC in Orange County will be hosting athletics and the Alpert JCC in Long Beach will be hosting ArtsFest.
Created in 1982 as a partnership between the JCC Association of North America, Maccabi USA, Maccabi Canada, and Maccabi World Union, JCC Maccabi is a combination of the JCC Maccabi Games®, an athletic competition, and JCC Maccabi ArtsFest®, an artistic event.
The games began in 1982 in Memphis with 300 participants; ArtsFest launched in Baltimore in 2006.
Today, JCC Maccabi is the world’s largest week-long gathering of Jewish teenagers. As the largest Jewish youth event in the world today, there are over 3500 teens participating from delegations including North America, Israel, Great Britain, Venezuela, Mexico, Panama, Argentina, Poland, Hungary, Australia, and Brazil. The JCC of Greater Baltimore has hosted JCC Maccabi five times since 1992.
The goal of JCC Maccabi is to bring together Jewish teens from diverse backgrounds—affiliated and unaffiliated and religious and more secular homes—to challenge themselves athletically or artistically in a supportive environment that fosters mutual respect, sportsmanship and teamwork.
JCC Maccabi participants also take part in community service efforts and other programming throughout the year that strengthen bonds with their Jewish heritage, community and Israel.
JCC Maccabi youth cultivate a deep understanding and appreciation of Jewish values and enrich their Jewish identity in an informal setting. They establish relationships with other Jewish peers as well as adult role models in a positive Jewish environment. For many teens, JCC Maccabi is a gateway to other social, volunteer, and leadership opportunities.
The Mid-Atlantic Junior and Mini Maccabi games were established by several East Coast JCC’s in 1998, to draw youth to JCC Maccabi. The Junior Maccabi Games are offered for ages 11 to 12 and the newer Mini Maccabi for ages 9-10. This one-day regional tournament – to be hosted in Baltimore on May 6, 2018 – will bring together more than 750 Jewish athletes from 15 JCCs from Virginia up through New York to compete in several different sports.
Rebecca Chinsky, Sr. Director Recreation and JCC Maccabi, participated in JCC Maccabi as an athlete from 2001 to 2003. She joined JCC Maccabi’s coaching staff in 2010 and coached soccer and basketball through 2014. Rebecca started working full-time for the JCC in Spring 2015 where she took over as the Baltimore Delegation Head for JCC Maccabi.
JCC Maccabi is like a second family to me
“JCC Maccabi is like a second family to me,” says Rebecca. “Every summer we come together and celebrate with each other. We have a passion to promote Jewish ideals, to share this with teenagers and create friendships, memories, and lasting bonds through sports and the arts.”
“JCC Maccabi is a community – a creative, lasting community. Our teens receive community service hours. They become intimately involved in giving back.”
According to Michael Gordon, JCC Maccabi Program Director at JCC Association, “JCC Maccabi touches Jewish teens from all over the world in a way that keeps them connected for years to come. We are not your average sports tournament or arts festival; the teens and coaches aren’t only here for the love of the game but to explore and strengthen their Jewish values and identities.”
Mark your calendars!
During the 36th anniversary year, the JCC of Greater Baltimore will celebrate the JCC Maccabi movement through a series of 36 events that culminates with sending the JCC of Greater Baltimore delegation of teens to Orange County and Long Beach, CA in Summer 2018.
Throughout this year we will celebrate the artists, athletes, alumni, volunteers and families that have helped make JCC Maccabi a successful program.
The 36 events will include programs already offered by the JCC or in tandem with other community partners. Our six JCC Maccabi signature events include:
The JCC Maccabi family is a community that embraces the past in order to move forward, and always remembers, in its opening ceremonies each year, the eleven Israeli athletes massacred at the Munich Olympics in 1972.
The spirit of JCC Maccabi is captured by 6 midot (Jewish values): Joy (Rina), Repairing the World (Tikkun Olam), Pride (Ge’avah), Jewish Peoplehood (Amiut Yehudit), Respect (Kavod), and Open Hearted (Lev Tov). These midot are at the heart and foundation of JCC Maccabi, and teens aspire to receive a midot medal throughout the week through their actions and adherence to these values, in lieu of a strictly competitive mindset.
Our kids have compassion and respect for one another
Michael Gordon says, “JCC Maccabi participants learn to see the world through the lens of our midot, and this helps them to continue to build upon their own Jewish journeys – knowing that this shouldn’t be the end but a new beginning.”
“Our kids have compassion and respect for one another which is shared through our Rachmanus rule. No one is here to run up the score or just to win the game but on the contrary, to compete and foster sportsmanship and a shared commitment to one another. We are truly a community and this community is unbreakable. Once you participate in JCC Maccabi, you develop a passion for it that lasts a lifetime.”
Each year the JCC of Greater Baltimore provides over $550,000 in need-based scholarships for children, teens, and families. Currently, several of the teens participating in JCC Maccabi rely on financial aid to remain involved. In order to ensure that no teen who wants to participate is turned away because a family’s inability to pay, the JCC is soliciting funds from corporate sponsors, foundations and individual donors. Interested donors should contact Esther Greenberg at email@example.com, 410.559.3545.
Tryouts for JCC Maccabi, Junior Maccabi and Mini Maccabi run October 15 through November 5, 2017. For more information, visit www.jcc.org/maccabi. There will also be tryouts for remaining openings in March 2018.
The JCC of Greater Baltimore is also looking for volunteers to serve on our Local Delegation Committee to help plan for the 2018 Baltimore JCC Maccabi Experience and to assist with the Mid-Atlantic Junior and Mini Maccabi Games on May 6, 2018. If you are interested, please email Rebecca, firstname.lastname@example.org.