The largest organized Olympic-style sports program for Jewish teens in the world, the Maccabi Games are held each year in venues throughout the country — and this year, for the first time, they’ll be held in Westchester. The JCC of Mid-Westchester, along with the Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester and the JCC on the Hudson, are hosting the 2009 Maccabi Games this summer. More than just a sporting event, the Maccabi Games hope to bring the international Jewish community together in solidarity and foster a lifelong dedication to Jewish values. All sporting events are open to the public at venues across the county; the opening ceremonies will take place at Madison Square Garden.
Four hundred local teens are among the 1,400 from North and South America, Israel, and Australia who will compete. All athletes are required to participate in the “Day of Caring and Sharing” event, which includes social action and service projects to benefit Westchester organizations. The games will feature several competitions in a variety of sports, including basketball, soccer, baseball, volleyball, in-line hockey, swimming, tennis, golf, bowling, table tennis, and dance. All sporting events will take place at schools and colleges, country clubs, and town parks and fields. Exclusive nighttime events only for the athletes will feature barbecues, live entertainment, and a carnival at the Westchester County Center, the Bronx Zoo, and Rye Playland.
Hosted by ESPN’s Chris Berman, the opening ceremonies at Madison Square Garden are expected to draw more than 12,000 people. The evening’s festivities include a parade of the athletes and coaches, musical performances by Broadway stars and talented youth from Westchester, as well as a special tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes who lost their lives at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Besides attending the opening ceremony and the games, consider volunteering as a great way to get involved in this historic event. Volunteers are needed during the weeks leading up to and during the games.
Where: Madison Square Garden and multiple venues throughout Westchester
When: Sunday-Friday, August 16-21
How much: FREE; pre-registration required
For more information: 914-472-3300 x200 or www.westchestermaccabi.org