Covering Jewish Life in Orange County
Teen Bonding

My experience at the JCC Maccabi 2016 in Stamford, Connecticut

This year the Maccabi Games were hosted in Stamford, Connecticut. The Maccabi Games are recognized as one of the largest Jewish teen events in the world. The 2016 Maccabi Games have given 1,500 Jewish teens — from around the world — the opportunity to come together over a course of a week to compete and bond with each other through sports, art and making lifelong friends.

However, Maccabi isn’t about just the sports or the arts. It’s about making a difference in the world through Tikkun Olam. One major component that the Maccabi Games emphasizes is giving back to the community. All athletes and artists are required to take part in JCC Cares. This is a group in which athletes participate in activities through different organizations in which they are helping out the local community in some way. For example, this year I volunteered in a community center with children.

The Maccabi Games enable Jewish teens to compete in a sport, volunteer in the community and make friendships with fellow Jews from around the world. The Maccabi Games allow one to see how really universal the Jewish faith is, whether you are coming from the United States or somewhere across the sea, such as the UK or Australia. The Maccabi Games help one to achieve this goal by hosting social events every night. This year some of the social events included going car racing, “trampolining,” and the end-of-the-week dance, which is always a lot of fun. I love that every night each athlete and artist drops his or her competitive side to come together through different events and build relationships that will last a lifetime.

This was the first year that my sister, Sarah, was able to go with me to compete at Maccabi Games. I loved that we had the opportunity to do this together. Next year will be my final year that I can compete. I know I am so fortunate that I have had this experience, and I look forward to staying in touch with my fellow Maccabi athletes and artist for years to come.