The Maccabiah is all about bringing the Jewish community together. Despite being the world’s second-largest sporting event and one of the largest gatherings of Diaspora Jewry anywhere, the ability for supporters to travel to Israel and experience the Maccabiah first-hand is limited. Maccabi Media was created to address this concern and increase Jewish engagement with the Maccabiah both at home and in Israel. Maccabi USA first piloted this program at the 2019 European Maccabi Games in Hungary with one student journalist. Embedded with the American delegation, he participated in all team activities and provided written and photographic coverage of the athletes and Games. Inspired by his success, we scaled this project and brought 14 students to Israel to report on the 21st Maccabiah in the summer of 2022. It was a remarkable and rewarding success and now we look to build the program as a staple for future Games.
Maccabi USA held a nationwide recruiting search in 2021 for aspiring sports media professionals and selected 14 young journalists from a pool of more than 60 talented applicants. The inaugural student media team documented the 21st Maccabiah and the organization’s cornerstone program – Israel Connect – in a variety of roles including play-by-play, color analysis, sideline reporting, videography (shooting), sports/feature reporting for web and social media, editing, and live game streaming. Under the direction of long-time 76ers broadcaster Marc Zumoff, Media Coordinator Neal Slotkin, and several veteran professional mentors, the students received hands-on training, support, and real-time feedback from the media mentors while working in a fast-paced international environment. In addition to engaging in their own passion for Judaism, Israel, sports, and journalism, this next generation of media influencers provided critical coverage that made family, friends, and the larger Jewish community feel like they were part of this special global event in real time.
At its core, Maccabi Media is a career-development program designed to better position student journalists for long-term success in a competitive industry. Prior to departure for the 21st Maccabiah, MMP team members participated in virtual monthly seminars featuring notable veteran media professionals including Gary Thorne. The students also attended an immersive two-day training camp in Philadelphia which focused on streaming and video production workflow, travel and event logistics, equipment preparation and usage, and team bonding. Future MMP teams will undergo similar training to properly cover each Maccabi USA delegation and build a solid media foundation for their broadcast careers.
The Maccabi Media Program serves Maccabi USA’s broader goals of developing young Jewish leadership and creating a platform to recruit new members to the Maccabi Movement in America. MMP envisions growth in size and scale to send future student teams to the 2023 Pan-American Maccabi Games, the 2024 European Maccabi Games, the 2025 Maccabiah in Israel, and future events.
To learn more about Maccabi Media, please contact Program Coordinator Neal Slotkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.