Maccabiah Games changed my life!
I can confidently say that the most surreal moment of my life took place at Teddy Stadium in July of 2013. The opening ceremonies are an unbelievable celebration of sport, community, and Judaism. It’s truly indescribable. Imagine walking into a stadium of 10,000+ people cheering you and your country on. The lights, the pride, the waiving flags, and the excitement- it was out of a movie. That night was the night that I realized why I have worked so hard and have continued to compete.
I was only 13 years old when I qualified for Canada’s Junior Tennis Team; 14 years old when I competed in Israel. As one of the youngest athletes there, I was a tad frightened, but definitely overjoyed. Having been my very first time in Israel, I was absolutely amazed at what a spectacular and breathtaking country it is. As soon as I stepped foot onto Israeli soil that summer, I knew that I was meant to be there. My time in Israel during the Maccabiah Games changed my life. It was incredible meeting new people from all over the world who had similar interests as athletes and a love for our shared Jewish heritage. Being in that environment gave me the confidence to be more social and open. I was able to come out of my shell in order to make new friends and create great memories. To this day, I have kept in touch with people from the US, France, Israel, and all across Canada.
It was three and a half years ago that I wrote an email to one of my coaches saying, “I am looking forward to going back to Israel in 2017 to participate in the 20th Maccabiah,” and who knew that I could predict the future!
I am excited and honoured to be returning back to Israel for the 20th Maccabiah, this time playing on Canada’s Junior Basketball Team. Having won two gold medals at the JCC Maccabi Games for basketball, alongside my coach Amy Sherman, I am ever so ready to compete in Israel this summer.
Not many people can say that they were only 14 years old when they represented their country, that they are going to the Maccabiah Games for a second time, and that they played in the “Jewish Olympics” in two different sports. I am glad to be that one person to accomplish so much. My goal is to one day be Canada’s flag bearer…. a goal that I am determined to work towards.
While in Israel almost four years ago, myself and the other 200 Canadian junior athletes each planted a tree. Once planting the tree, we were each told to take a nearby rock. We were then told to keep the rock, and return it to our exact spot when we come back to Israel… I am glad to say that I will be doing so this summer.