Maccabi Media Program

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 now scaled this project for the 21st Maccabiah.

Program Overview

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 student media group will report on the 21st Maccabiah in a variety of roles including play-by-play, color analysis, sideline reporting, videography, sports and feature reporting for web and social media, editing, and streaming live events. Under the direction of long-time 76ers broadcaster Marc Zumoff and several veteran professional mentors, this collection of current college students, recent college graduates, and high school students will receive hands-on support, education, and feedback from the media mentors while working in a fast-paced international environment.

Engaging in their passion for Judaism, Israel, sports, and journalism, this next generation of media influencers will share the daily experience of the Maccabiah with a broad audience back home, posting stories and video updates, features, results, and providing live-streamed game commentary. This coverage will make family, friends, and the larger Jewish community feel like they are a part of this special global event in real time.

Program Impact

Each embedded journalist will be provided monthly training seminars prior to the Games and participate in an immersive two-day workshop just prior to departure for Israel. In addition to gaining insight in logistics, travel, equipment, teamwork, and best practices for success, these aspiring media professionals will receive advice and guidance from established industry veterans who have volunteered to join our virtual sessions. This project will also serve Maccabi USA’s broader goals of developing young Jewish leadership and creating a platform to recruit new members to the Maccabi Movement in America. The 3-week trip also includes a six-day educational and cultural component called Israel Connect which focuses on building a connection to one’s Jewish identity and is the cornerstone of the US delegation’s experience. In addition to providing young Jewish students a foundation for their own professional careers, the Maccabi Media Program envisions growing in size and scale to send future student teams to the 2023 Pan-American Maccabi Games, the 2024 European Maccabi Games, and the 2025 Maccabiah in Israel.