Josh Binstock: A Passion for Maccabi

If Maccabi Canada had a Hall of Fame, Josh Binstock would be one of its founding members.

The Maccabiah Games résume for the Richmond Hill, Ontario, native is long, decorated and most of all, very impressive. Binstock is a three-time member of Canada’s Men’s Open Volleyball team, which includes a historic silver medal in 2013. Those very same games, he was chosen as Canada’s flag bearer and heading into his fourth Maccabiah in a few weeks, he will compete in the Maccabiah Games’ inaugural Beach Volleyball tournament.

On top of all that, Binstock is a two-time Canadian Olympian (London 2012, Rio de Janeiro 2016) in beach volleyball, who is always on call as an ambassador for Maccabi Canada. He is someone who represents what the organization truly stands for: strengthening Jewish identity through sport.

For those whom have spoken with Binstock, he will be the first to tell you that his Maccabiah experience is chock full of great memories, playing a sport he loves, in a country he adores.

This summer, Binstock along with his partner Aaron Nussbaum, also a member of that silver medal winning team in 2013 and a current member of Canada’s National Beach Volleyball team, the dynamic duo will look at using their passion, their energy and their unbelievable skills and athleticism to bring home gold in a tournament that will be sure to draw attention from all Maccabiah enthusiasts.

Maccabi Canada recently sat down with Binstock to discuss his preparations for this year’s Games, his past Maccabiah experiences and to hear what pearls of wisdom he has to offer his fellow athletes.

Maccabi Canada: Given your past Maccabiah Games experiences, why did you decide to compete in another Games this summer?
Josh Binstock: Anytime I get a chance to go to Israel, I take it. I take something back from the experience every time. There is something about being around all of the athletes, but it is more about the other parts about the trip: the experience outside the Games, like seeing the tunnels in Jerusalem or standing on a street that’s 5,000 years old.

Maccabi Canada: Can you provide us with some memories from your 2013 Maccabiah Games experience?
JB: The last Maccabiah Games was definitely the most memorable. Leading the delegation into the opening ceremonies at Teddy Stadium was a moment I will never forget. It was also memorable because of the results. It was the best finish (silver medal) for the Men’s Open Volleyball team, which was historic in itself. Also, my dad coached the Junior Boys Baseball team and he was right behind me when we walked into the opening ceremonies. That was pretty cool and it meant a lot. My parents are a huge reason why I am where I am today.

Maccabi Canada: In Israel this summer, you will be representing Canada in Men’s Beach Volleyball with your partner, Aaron Nussbaum. What are your expectations for these Games?
JB: We definitely have the ability to win gold. Anything can happen on any given day and we know that is the nature of the sport. We are definitely striving for gold. The key for us is to stay disciplined, poised, optimistic and steady.

Maccabi Canada: Tell us a little about Aaron.
JB: He has a lot of physical tools and he is very quick and athletic. He is more explosive than me, but I think I am more strategic and methodical. We bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table.

Maccabi Canada: How have you been training for the upcoming Games?
JB: I had wrist surgery about three months ago to repair some torn cartilage and I have only been able to train hard over the last few weeks. I am sort of behind with regard to my training, but I am ramping it up now with only a few weeks left before the Games.

Maccabi Canada: What level of competition are you expected to play against?
JB: I have never played a tournament in Israel, but I have played teams from there before. They are usually good teams. I really don’t know much about our competition, but I know the caliber will be pretty high.

Maccabi Canada: What advice do you have for other athletes, including those representing Maccabi Canada, who will compete in the Games for the first time?
JB: The key is managing the distractions. The Games are big. You will have lots of people cheering you on and you can get easily distracted, you have to be able to manage where to focus your energy.

Maccabi Canada: Any advice for athletes when they are not competing?
JB: Go out and experience the Kotel and Masada. Take tours and see the country — step out of your comfort zone and get the most out of your Maccabiah experience because if you don’t, you might regret it. Those are the memories that will remain with you forever.