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JCC Maccabi Games®

Program Overview

The JCC Maccabi Games® is an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer in North America. At the world’s largest Jewish Olympic-style tournament for Jewish teens ages 13-16, athletes will join more than 2,000 (vaccinated) athletes from delegations across North America, Europe, Latin America, Israel, and beyond!

2022 Games

Team East Bay applications are now closed. We are thrilled to be sending our tennis, volleyball, basketball, baseball, and soccer athletes to compete in San Diego to represent JCC East Bay!

Applications to compete for Team East Bay in the 2022 Maccabi Games are now closed.

If you would like to be notified of future communications regarding the 2023 Maccabi Games, please contact us via the ‘Contact Us’ section below.

To view a recording of our live Zoom info session from mid-January 2022, please click here. You can also view the slides from the session here.

What are The JCC Maccabi Games®?
The JCC Maccabi Games® are an international athletic competition for Jewish teenagers run much like the Olympics. Athletes can compete against Jewish teens from all over the United States as well as delegations from Israel, Great Britain, Mexico, Canada, and more. The Games are played with a focus on rachmanus (sportsmanship) with the intent to foster long-lasting friendships, memories, and connection to Judaism and Israel. This unique event is not only about being a part of the Jewish people; it comes with a mission–to make the world a better place and to make ourselves better people. We express these values or midot to help us remember the greater mission of the Games and Judaism. We emphasize tikkun olam (repairing the world), kavod (respect), rina (joy), ga’ava (pride), lev tov (big hearted), and amiut yehudit (Jewish peoplehood). The Games also promote community involvement and teamwork. The Games are one of the largest Jewish teen events in the world; each summer over 3,000 Jewish teens participate. Over 100,000 teens have benefited from the JCC Maccabi Games® since 1982. At this Jewish Olympic style event, each athlete participates in one of fifteen sports, social events, and an opportunity to give back to the community during this week-long experience, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Who is eligible to participate in the JCC Maccabi Games®?
Jewish teens between the ages of 13-16 as of July 31, 2022 are welcome to compete at the Games.

All athletes must be Jewish, which is defined as follows: One of the athlete’s parents is Jewish and the athlete is being raised Jewish or is a Jew by choice and is being raised Jewish. In the spirit of the Games, if the parent or child does not believe that they are Jewish on a year-round basis, then the child should not participate in JCC Maccabi Games®. In the athlete online registration, there is a declaration that contains the eligibility requirements; both the athlete and his/her parent(s) must sign this declaration.

All athletes must have current medical insurance and are up to date on all age-appropriate vaccines including the COVID-19 vaccine.

Where are the Games this year? What sports are offered?
The Games are in San Diego, California hosted by the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center.

Due to COVID, spots are limited and delegations are much smaller than in years past.

What are the COVID health and safety guidelines?
We will require proof of full vaccination by an approved vaccine for all participants at the 2022 JCC Maccabi Games®, inclusive of teens, coaches, delegation heads, volunteers, spectators, and age-eligible host family members who engage with the games, with no exceptions. As of this policy release (January 2022) full vaccination by an approved vaccine is defined as two weeks since the last dose including a booster of Pfizer/Bio Tech, Moderna, Astra Zeneca, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines. JCC Maccabi will re-assess as the Games draw closer whether additional booster shots will be required and reserve the right to add additional precautions including, but not limited to, testing, mask-wearing, and physical distancing, up to and including canceling the Games if necessary. As of January 2022, masks are optional outside and masks are mandated inside when not eating/drinking or competing

Testing Procedures prior to the Games:

  • Domestic Athletes/coaches/DH: PCR 48-72 hrs. prior to departure and will need to be uploaded to Repgack for confirmation of negative test. Antigen test before travel.
  • International: Same as above plus additional PCR before they depart San Diego.
  • Age-eligible host family members:  Testing before pick up.
  • Volunteers/Spectators: Negative test 48-72 hrs. prior.

What is the athletic competition like?
The competitive level of the participants will vary. There are teens that are elite athletes and then those that are there for the experience, the level of play is very diverse. Some of the sports will have different divisions based on skill levels. Throughout the week, players can expect to play at least four games/matches before tournament play begins on Wednesday. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded to the top three winners. Although it is competitive, the JCC Maccabi Games® emphasize the Rachmanus Rule, which is good sportsmanship and fair play. The experience is about more than just sports, it focuses on an all-around experience including friends, community service, social, and educational activities.

How often are Maccabi Games®? Can my teen return for the next games?
COVID aside, the Maccabi Games® are held every summer (usually end of July/early August), with the location changing each summer (past sites include: Orange County, Detroit, Orlando). Athletes are open to applying to be on Team East Bay back-to-back summers until they age out.

What is a mixed team?
A mixed team is composed of athletes from multiple delegations. This is common and happens when a delegation does not have enough athletes to field a full team. Where our delegation is unable to field a full team, athletes will be combined in a mixed team with one or more other delegations' players. Being on a mixed team can be a great experience and foster lasting friendships with Jewish teens around the world!

How does community service play a role in the Games?
Community Service is a key component to the JCC Maccabi Games® experience. Each set of Games includes a JCC Cares project where athletes step away from competition and workshops for a part of their day and work to improve the local community, through activities like planting a community garden, bowling with adults with special needs, or doing art projects one-on-one with children from underserved communities.

Can we still apply if we do not live in the East Bay?
Yes, we encourage any interested athlete to apply! We will do our best to give families as much time and notice as possible if/when we need to coordinate tryouts and practices for the team sports.

How are teams selected?
Unlike years past, we are designing our teams based on the interest of the families, then crafting our sports options accordingly. As we have a smaller delegation this year than in years past, any athlete who wants to attend is encouraged to fill out the application form at the bottom of this F.A.Q. Since the Maccabi Games were canceled the past two years due to COVID, we will do our best to prioritize athletes who are aging out.

My child plays more than one sport and/or is interested in playing 16U when they could play 14U. What should we select in the application?
If your child plays more than one sport and/or is comfortable playing with 16U, please utilize the ‘select all that apply’ option when filling out the application. Knowing that athletes can play different sports will help us be more flexible in the creation of our final team roster.

If my child plays more than one sport, will they get to play more than one sport during the games?
As the games are a whirlwind of constant competitions in multiple locations throughout San Diego, all athletes will be selected to play for only one sport under Team East Bay.

How will my child get to and from San Diego?
We will be flying as a delegation from the Oakland airport to the San Diego airport. Please note that transportation to and from Oakland airport is not included. We are happy to assist in connecting families who would like to carpool and/or can recommend ideal public transportation options if need be.

What is the fee?
The registration cost is $2,000 per athlete.

What does the fee include?
Flight, accommodation, travel during the week of the games, jerseys (and other Team East Bay swag), kosher food, and entrance to the games.

Are there scholarships and/or financial aid available?
Please email us using the 'Contact Us' section below. We will do our best to support you and your teen.

Everyone seeking financial assistance is encouraged to utilize the national scholarship available through JCC Maccabi®. Please visit jccmaccabigames.org/richard-cohen-memorial-scholarship/ for more information on the Richard Cohen Memorial JCC Maccabi® scholarship.  

Are there adult chaperones?
Of course! There is a mandatory ratio of 1:8 adults to teens. We have a delegation head, and coaches, and chaperones. Every athlete is assigned to a coach/chaperone whether they are on a team sport, individual sport, or a mixed team with a coach from another delegation. Head coaches are all over 21 and have passed extensive background checks.

Please email us using the 'Contact Us' section below if you are interested in becoming a chaperone or coach.

Where will my teen stay?
All teens will stay with a host family for the week of JCC Maccabi® (Sunday-Friday). Many past participants have said that the host families are one of their favorite parts of the experience. Host families are part of the greater San Diego Jewish community. Host families are background checked, screened, and required to attend a mandatory orientation. Vaccines will be required for all members of a host family who will be eligible to receive it. 

Teens can request specific homes that meet their needs such as dietary restrictions and pet allergies. Teens can also request a specific roommate, however participants may not arrange their own housing or stay in hotels. The home hospitality experience is an important part of the Games experience, and we are very gracious to these host families as they serve as interim parents for the week transporting the teens to and from JCC Maccabi®, providing breakfast, doing laundry, and giving your teen an unforgettable home hospitality experience. Many teens will stay in touch with host families for years to come! 

Can you tell me about security at the games?
Security is taken very seriously at the JCC Maccabi Games®. Background checks are utilized for all adults involved, and all participants, spectators, coaches, host families, volunteers, etc. are required to wear a credential to access any JCC Maccabi® facility. The host community also works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Our family keeps kosher. Will my teen’s needs be met?
Yes, all food served at the JCC Maccabi® games is kosher and all activities will conclude prior to Shabbat.  Delegations will return home on Friday with plenty of time before Shabbat begins.

Can I use my teen’s school or camp medical form?
No, Maccabi Central will only accept the JCC Maccabi® Medical Form. 

What happens if there is a medical emergency?
In the case of a medical emergency, the Delegation Head will act as the teen’s guardian and will communicate with the parents to get any treatment necessary. Information such as the parent/guardian’s birth date and social security number is sometimes necessary to utilize insurance.

Can parents be spectators at the JCC Maccabi Games®?
Parents, family members, and friends are welcome to attend the Games as spectators. A spectator pass gives access to the opening ceremony and sport events. No one will be admitted to a Games site who is not wearing an approved credential. To register as a spectator, you will use the same website as when registering your teen. Please note registration fees and fee deadlines. 

While we encourage families to consider attending to support their teens, the athletes have programs and activities going on for the entirety of their time at the Games and thus only see visitors courtside at sporting events. At no point during the week can spectators or parents remove the teens from the program or take them off-site for any reason.

If you have any further questions, please email:

Brianna Sommer
Director of Youth & Teen Programs
briannas@jcceastbay.org

In Your Words

“In one week, the combination of meeting new people, celebrating my religion, traveling the country, and playing the sport I love changed my life. All thanks to the JCC Maccabi games®.”

Rylan Kobre, Team East Bay basketball player

JCC East Bay
2020-12-09T14:25:52-08:00

Rylan Kobre, Team East Bay basketball player

“In one week, the combination of meeting new people, celebrating my religion, traveling the country, and playing the sport I love changed my life. All thanks to the JCC Maccabi games®.”
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JCC East Bay