Let the Maccabiah Games begin

More than 9,000 athletes from 85 countries are expected to participate in the 20th Maccabiah Games in Israel, held July 4-18. The opening ceremony, touted to be the biggest one yet, will be held July 6 at the Teddy Kollek Stadium in Jerusalem. This year the host city is Jerusalem, but venues hosting a variety of sports will be found throughout Israel.

Often called the “Jewish Olympics,” the Maccabiah Games take place in Israel every four years. Athletes will take part in 45 sports and the competition is the world’s third-largest sporting event. There are four categories of competition: youth, open, masters and Paralympic. The games are open to Jewish athletes from around the world and to all Israeli citizens, regardless of their religion.

Maccabi USA, is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization who sponsors the athletes on the United States Team. The volunteer organization seeks to enrich the lives of Jewish youth in the United States, Israel and the Diaspora through athletic, cultural and educational programs.

This year, the United States is sending the most athletes ever (more than 1,100) to the games. There are 17 athletes that will be competing on the U.S. Team who have their roots in Arizona. These athletes are:

Sam Beskind of Tucson, Catalina Foothills High School, men’s basketball

Tali Castle of Scottsdale, Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, juniors track & field

Ethan Cohen of Paradise Valley, Chaparral High School, youth men’s soccer

Brett Epstein of Chandler, men’s 45+ soccer

Natasha Friedman of Phoenix, Simmons College, women’s soccer

Madison Kirsch of Scottsdale, Chaparral High School, junior girls’ gymnastics

Samantha Krew of Scottsdale, BASIS Scottsdale, juniors swimming

Noah Lewkowitz of Phoenix, masters men’s 35+ soccer

Rachel Meyer of Tucson, University of Arizona, Taekwondo

Evelyn Micco of Scottsdale, Horizon High School, open women’s gymnastics

Brett Miller of Thatcher, Ironwood Ridge High School, men’s gymnastics

Jack Ratterman of Scottsdale, Chaparral High School, youth men’s soccer

Aaron Rosen of Scottsdale, Explorer Middle School, juniors swimming

David Rosenfeld of Paradise Valley, masters ice hockey

Paul Rubin of Scottsdale, masters men’s fastpitch softball

Joseph Schwartz Tucson, University of Arizona, men’s softball

Tamara Statman of Phoenix, University of Arizona, women’s softball

Best of luck to all the athletes competing!

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