By Lenny Steinberg
From Aug. 5 to 10, 16 athletes and artists traveled to Southern California to participate in the 2018 JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest to represent Team Oregon. They joined 3,047 athletes, artists, coaches and delegation heads as they marched into Santa Ana Stadium in Orange County, CA, on Aug. 5 for Opening Ceremonies, more than at any other Opening Ceremonies in 36 years of JCC Maccabi.
They entered banners waving, brimming with hopes and dreams of the competition and showcase to come. To the sound of raucous cheers and near-constant applause, they marched in, delegation by delegation, from 69 JCCs across Canada and the United States, Panama, Israel, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
“During Opening Ceremonies, when I saw how many Jewish people came out to be a part of JCC Maccabi, I felt extremely proud of my Jewish heritage,” says Evan Horwitz, a member of Oregon’s 14u Boys Basketball team.
The competition was fierce but spirited. Pride in achievement was coupled with grace in both victory and defeat. Chests swelled in the face of dazzling musical talent, poetry in motion through dance and the creation of inspired works of art. JCC Cares, an opportunity for participants to enhance their experience by taking a few hours out of their daily schedule to partake in a community service project, found every artist and athlete working hand-in-hand with peers from local organizations. And all along the way came magical hang-time moments, each one strengthening the ties between North American Jewry and the state of Israel.
It was a remarkable experience for these 16 athletes and artists, and many are coming home having experienced great success in their skill or sport. Our teens came to compete, perform and meet new Jewish friends and, most importantly, to have fun! We are so impressed with our delegation and all of their accomplishments during the week. Here are some of the highlights:
Gold Medal – 16u Boys Baseball
8 Gold Medals – 16u Boys Track and Field
Silver Medal – 16u Boys Lacrosse
Bronze Medal – 14u Boys Soccer
Bronze Medal – Table Tennis Singles
Bronze Medal – Table Tennis Doubles
Incredible performance at ArtsFest in Rock Band
If you are interested in getting involved next summer for the 2019 JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest, contact me, Lenny Steinberg, at 503-535-3555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.