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JCC Maccabi Games®

Program Overview

The JCC Maccabi Games® is an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer.

During Summer 2023, Jewish teenagers will join more than 1,000 athletes from delegations across North America, Europe, Latin America, and beyond, for a week of competitions in Israel, followed by a two-week journey exploring all of Israel: from the beaches of Tel Aviv to the bustling shuk market of Jerusalem.

Next year the JCC Maccabi Games®, the world’s largest Olympic-style competition for Jewish teenagers will be in Israel July 5-25, 2023 as well as in Fort Lauderdale, Florida August 6-11, 2023 where the Maccabi Access Games will also take place. 

The JCC East Bay is proud to announce an open call for Jewish Bay Area athletes, ages 14-17 (as of July 25, 2023), to represent the East Bay at the 2023 Maccabi Games in Israel this summer July 5-25, 2023. Athletes will compete in Israel for 8 days with more than 1,000 Jewish teens from JCCs and communities across North America and around the world, then tour Israel for two weeks with a sport-focus throughout the remainder of their adventuring.

In North America, another 1,800 teens, ages 12-15 years old as of August 6, 2023, will participate in the previously announced JCC Maccabi Games and Access that will be hosted by the David  Posnack JCC in Fort Lauderdale from August 6 to 11, 2023.

For a chance to compete in the 2023 Maccabi Games with Team Bay Area, fill out the formal application below by Sunday, November 13. We highly encourage families to submit their application as soon as possible so we can build out our sports roster for Team Bay Area.

If you missed the informational sessions on zoom, you can watch the recording here and check out the slide deck here.

This FAQ section is for the Israel games. For questions regarding the Florida games please reach out using the 'Contact Us' section below.

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” or 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.

Where are the Games this year?

Israel: July 5-25, 2023

Who is eligible to participate in the JCC Maccabi Games?

  1. Jewish teens between the ages of 14-17 as of July 5, 2023 are welcome to compete at the Games.
  2. 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. 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.
  3. All athletes must have current medical insurance and up to date on all age-appropriate vaccines including the Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters as per CDC guidelines.

What sports are offered?
For Israel, sport offerings include: Baseball, Basketball, Girl's Volleyball, Soccer, Swimming, and Tennis. 

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.

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 JCC Maccabi?
Community Service is a key component to the JCC Maccabi Games experience. Each set of Games includes a JCC Cares project where athletes tep 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.

How will my child get to and from the Games?

Parents will be responsible for bringing their teens to the JCC where they will meet the Delegation Head and coaches who will accompany the delegation for the trip to Israel. At the designated day/ time the delegation will travel to the airport together OR parents will be responsible for bringing athletes to the designated airport where delegation staff will be there to check teens in and accompany the group to the Games. 

What is the fee for the JCC Maccabi Games?
The all-inclusive fee is $4,500 per teen. The highly subsidized rate is thanks in large part to a voucher that athletes will apply for via RootOne. If your athlete has already used a RootOne voucher recently, they may not be eligible to be a recipient of the voucher and thus would be required to pay more than the above stated amount. Registration includes submitting the completed registration, personal contact info, a $750 non-refundable deposit paid upon signing up, and agreement to the non-refundable remainder of the payment to JCC East Bay. Additional registration steps are required at later dates including medical forms etc. Please see the registration form or contact your delegation head for details.

What does the fee include?
JCC Maccabi is an all-inclusive experience. Program fees include Games registration, round trip flights from the Bay Area and the two week tour following the week of competition in the Games, transportation to and from the host community, as well as transportation throughout the Games, uniform, Team Bay Area gear, adult supervision and coaches, practices, meals, social events/team activities, and all other accommodations throughout the program. 

Are there scholarships available?
Limited scholarships are available locally for families in need of financial assistance. All funding is need-based and you can apply through a confidential process.

In order to apply, athletes will need to register as an athlete for Team Bay Area. Once registered, please email Brianna Sommer, briannas@jcceastbay.org for the financial aid application. We will do our best to support you and your teen(s).

Any athlete seeking financial aid is highly encouraged to apply for 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 at JCC Maccabi?
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. Head coaches are all over 21 and have passed extensive background checks.

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 Israel, all athletes will be selected to play for only one sport under Team Bay Area.

Where will my teen stay?
All participants will stay in a combination of dorms, hotels, and hostels.

Can you tell me about security at JCC Maccabi?
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 at JCC Maccabi
Yes, all food served at the JCC Maccabi Games is kosher and Shabbat will be respected.

Can I use my athlete’s school or camp medical form for JCC Maccabi
No. JCCA Maccabi Games 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 participant’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?
Yes! 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 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 visitor’s 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.

How can I sign up to be part of Team Bay Area at the JCC Maccabi Games 2023?
Registration is open NOW! Please contact your Delegation Head, Brianna Sommer, to secure your spot on Team Bay Area: briannas@jcceastbay.org.

How can I sign up my athlete to be a part of the Team East Bay delegation at the JCC Maccabi Games 2023 in Israel?
The formal application is nos live! The application is due Sunday, November 13. We highly encourage athlete/families to submit their application as soon as possible so we can build out our sports roster. If you missed the informational sessions on Zoom, you can watch the recording here and check out the slide deck here.

What is the refund policy?
All fees are nonrefundable. JCCA will not be offering refunds for the Israel trip - all families will be encouraged to opt into the travel insurance (JCCA will have a preferred provider) and any refunds would have to come through that trip insurance provider.

Can athletes extend their trip and stay with friends/family in Israel?

Yes, athletes are allowed to extend their trip and it is the family's responsibility to coordinate the change in return flight as well as covering any additional fees that may result from changing the travel arrangements.

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