Team Philadelphia athletes represented the five-county, Philadelphia region in basketball, soccer, tennis, swim, dance, hockey, track and field, table tennis and golf. With over 100 medals, this was one of the most successful set of Maccabi Games for the JCCs of Greater Philadelphia.
Among the highlights for Team Philadelphia is the more than 30 medals won in Richmond by the nine-member track team, the 44 medals won in St. Paul by the Philadelphia swim team and the silver medal performance of the boys hockey team, their best finish ever in the Maccabi Games.
"We are so proud of our athletes and coaches," said Beth Segal, Local Delegation Head for Team Philadelphia. "I never cease to be amazed, not only at the athletic ability of our team, but at their exemplary sportsmanship and Maccabi spirit. My sincere thanks go to our coaches for volunteering their time and to our athletes for being true ambassadors for the JCCs of Greater Philadelphia."
The families of many athletes travel to the different host cities to cheer on Team Philadelphia. This year, a great grandmother was among the spectators in St. Paul. Betty Graboyes made the trip west to support her great granddaughter Melissa Kaufman who competed in swim. "It was very emotional to see the devotion, camaraderie and intent of purpose of these youngsters," said Mrs. Graboyes. "It was a privilege to be there."
The JCC Maccabi Games is an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer in North America and is the largest organized sports program for Jewish teenagers in the world. The Maccabi Movement began in 1895 when the first all-Jewish sports club was formed in Constantinople. The first world Maccabiah Games were held in Israel in 1932. Now, this two week competition takes place every four years and has featured many world class Jewish athletes including: Mark Spitz (swimming), Mitch Gaylord (gymnastics), Ernie Grunfeld and Danny Schayes (basketball), Brad Gilbert and Dick Savitt (tennis).
Today, over 6,000 teens, ranging from 13 to 16 years of age, participate in the JCC Maccabi Games each summer. The Games are co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, Maccabi World Union, Maccabi Canada, and Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel. The JCCs of Greater Philadelphia serves over 60,000 children, adults, families and seniors in the five-county Philadelphia region.