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Philadelphia, PA, May11 – Jason Lezak, winner of seven Olympic medals in Swimming and Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel (MUSA), the sponsor of the USA Maccabiah Team, announce today that they have partnered to create the MACCABI USA – Jason Lezak initiative. This new program will raise funds for MUSA, a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization that uses sports to strengthen Jewish Identity, promote Jewish Continuity, foster Jewish Pride and create strong bonds with the State of Israel. MUSA is proud to confirm that Lezak will represent the USA at the 18thMaccabiah Games in Israel, July 12 – 23, 2009, foregoing the World Championships as a member of USA Swimming, at great personal expense, to support the Maccabiah Games.

“I now have the opportunity to go to the Maccabiah Games in Israel, fulfilling a lifelong dream of mine. This is a decision I made which is as much about giving back to the Jewish Community and exploring my heritage as it is about the performance on the world stage” said Lezak. “I’ll be representing my country and my heritage as a Jewish athlete and I’m very proud of that.”

As a member of Team USA, Lezak will appear at MUSA fundraising events, promote awareness of the organization’s Mission, organize grassroots community projects that promote a healthy and active lifestyle and much more.? Ron Carner, General Chairman of the USA Maccabiah Team stated, “Jason Lezak’s swimming accomplishments embody exactly what the Maccabiah Games are all about.? His acts of fortitude, strength and perseverance are shining examples of what MUSA aims to project.? His displays of courage will be an inspiration to the other 950 USA Maccabiah Team members.? We are proud and honored to have him as a member of the Team.”

“Jason is a great Olympian,” Carner continued.? “His passion for this cause is something, we as an organization want him to promote.? After following Lezak’s entire swimming career from his first JCC Maccabi Games to his incredible come-from-behind relay victory in the Beijing Olympics, we are honored to team up with him to help promote and provide support for programs that encourage children to pursue an active lifestyle.”

About the organization:Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel (MUSA) has an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs.? The organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, the Pan American Maccabi Games and the Maccabi competitions in Europe and Australia, as well as a co-founder of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America.? As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

About the Maccabiah Games:From the first Games in 1932, the Maccabiah has brought athletes and supporters from around the world to Israel for this premier sporting event of World Jewry.? Held every four years, the Maccabiah is an Olympic-style, sanctioned competition which is the third largest international sporting event in the world.? The Games promote the Maccabi ideals of Jewish strength, Jewish unity and the centrality of the State of Israel.

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