My Maccabi Dream
The Maccabiah Games always elicit feelings of warmth and excitement in the community. Individuals returning from Israel shared endless stories of competition, camaraderie in short, the realization of a life-long dream.
I’ve always been captive to these stories, hanging on every word of what everyone calls “the experience of a lifetime”.
In two weeks, I will have the honour of walking into Teddy Stadium as a member of Team Canada.
The Maccabi dream lives inside every member of our delegation and many other Canadians. Everyone has their own motivation for participating, but mine is for the future Maccabiah athletes, the boys and girls I work with on a daily basis.
At Maccabi Canada, we are way more than a quadrennial athletic competition, but we are the heart of community sports. Our Community Sports programs are weekly skill development clinics in basketball, soccer and volleyball. Youth, ages six through 15 begin each program uneasy and unfamiliar, but after weeks of practice, that nine-year-old, who has never picked up a basketball, sinks their first basket.
The expression on their faces personifies my dream; we are making a difference in the development of the youth, building the foundation on their athletic journey, their emotional growth and of course their level of confidence.
Our Community Sports Days are very similar, with the added benefit of Maccabi alumni returning to their communities to give back to the next generation. Each spring, across Canada, we work with the schools for a day of education and activity: speaking about living a healthy lifestyle as well as facilitating sports clinics for the students..
Watching members of Team Canada share their passion for sport and seeing their pride in being a part of an incredible organization fuels my ability to live my Maccabi dream and ensures that we continue to offer these programs in every Jewish community, from coast to coast.
As the Operations Director of Maccabi Canada, I have had a front row seat into the planning of the Games. I have attended many tryouts, witnessing first-hand the high calibre of talent who will comprise Team Canada – to the team in the office master the logistics of sending a delegation of nearly 600 to participant in the largest Maccabiah Games to date.
Kol Ha’Kavod, to the staff and the many volunteers, coaches, team managers, our Maccabi community, who are working 24/7 to deliver an incredible 20th Maccabiah Games.
When the Games do arrive, I will be able to take a step back and appreciate our entire delegation. As the co-head of the Junior village, along with Elnatan Levenstein, I will have the honour to stand by the Junior athletes and see firsthand the results of years of training: the triumph, the defeat, but most importantly the pride of being Jewish and Canadian.
I feel honoured to have been selected for this position and on behalf of the coaches, team managers and staff, we are excited to ensure each athlete has the experience of a lifetime.
For many athletes, it will be their first Games and for some, their first trip to Israel. Our rookies are not alone, as I will be right beside them, wide eyed and soaking it all in. Whether this is your first trip to Israel or not, no two trips are alike. There is always something new to see, new to learn, new people to meet that expand one’s depth and connection to Israel.
My lens is ready to capture every minute on and off the field.
We all claim time moves to quickly, and I, for the most part agree. As excited as I am to wave my flag while watching gymnastics or hockey competition, I am already looking forward to the fall.While the Games will have wrapped up, it is at this time the next phase of my Maccabi dreams begins, the start of our community sports and outreach programs begin anew, and the time where I, and the athletes can share our experiences of the games with more than 1,000 youth in our communities.
To share one’s pride and excitement of representing Canada in the Maccabiah games and to inspire the next generation to form their Maccabi dream – the Maccabiah games, is my Maccabi dream fulfilled.