JCA takes Jewish teens to St. Louis for annual JCC Maccabi Games


By Jewish Community Alliance


                This past July, the JCA once again organized Jacksonville Jewish teens for the annual JCC Maccabi Games, which were held in St. Louis. For years, the JCA has spearheaded the Jacksonville delegation’s participation in this unique opportunity for Jewish teens to participate in a week of sports competition, social activities and Judaic programming.


                The JCC Maccabi Games, which are co-sponsored by the JCC Association of North America, Maccabi World Union, Maccabi Canada and Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel, is the second largest organized sports program for Jewish teenagers in the world. Since the first North American Maccabi Games in 1982, the annual event has brought the best of young, Jewish athletes together each summer for an Olympic-style sporting competition held in multiple cities throughout North America. Through its JCC parent organization, the JCA is at the forefront of connecting Jacksonville Jewish teens with other JCCs from across the world.


At this year’s games, the JCA delegation, JCA Makos, included 12 athletes and was accompanied by JCA Sports and Recreation Director Rio Robinson along with basketball coach Brian Sherman. The group shared competitive and social camaraderie with more than 1,100 athletes from JCCs all over the United States, including international delegations from Israel, Vancouver and Panama. The delegation included Jacob Glassman, David Hochman, Mackie Garwood, Kam Firpo, Jacob Abraham, Noah Rosin-Borrousch, Zach Mizrahi, Zach Rosin-Borrousch and Ayden Israel in basketball, followed by Jonah Bennett in mixed soccer and Jacob Rubin and Jonathan Homsky in swimming.


                All of the JCA youth athletes played great games, with the 16U basketball team nearly missing the championship in a back and forth game with Israel in the final four. Jonah Bennett’s mixed soccer team, consisting of other youth athletes from San Diego, Denver and South Jersey, came together to defeat the number one seeded Phoenix team in the opening round game and went on to beat a very skilled Panama team. In the end, the team came away with a silver medal. Jacob Rubin captured multiple medals in a strong field of 16U boy swimmers, including two gold and four silver medals. Jonathan Homsky, in the 14U swim, won an impressive seven medals.


                With every win and defeat, the JCA Makos showed great sportsmanship and held to the JCC Maccabi Games value of rachmanus, or compassion, throughout the week. Athletes were treated to daily social gatherings to foster friendship that included trips to the City Museum and Dave and Busters, as well as a huge closing ceremony with carnival and dance party.


                Building on such a successful summer at the JCC Maccabi Games, the JCA would like to share this opportunity to gain rewarding experiences and life-long friendships in the 2017 games, to be held in Birmingham, Ala., from July 30 – Aug. 4, 2017. Jewish teen athletes, ages 13 to 16, who are interested in competing in the coming games can contact JCA Sports and Recreation Director Rio Robinson at 904-730-2100, ext. 250 or rio.robinson@jcajax.org for more information.