Philadelphia, PA, May 13 – Maccabi USA will be bringing a Team of over 900 to the 18th “Chai” Maccabiah Games to Israel in July. In addition to the athletes and coaches, Maccabi USA will be bringing Medical, Management and Photography Teams. The USA Team will join 7000 Jewish athletes from over 60 countries to participate in the world’s third largest international athletic competition. Maccabi USA will be bringing over 200 supporters, family and friends for a total of over 1100 people.

Team members come from across the USA and represent 38 states and the District of Columbia. The states include: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. California, with 218 Team members, represents 24% of the Team. The Team is rounded out with USA residents from Canada and Israel.

There will be 88 Teams participating in 26 sports, including: Baseball, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Cycling, Fencing, Field Hockey, Futsal, Golf, Gymnastics, Judo, Karate, Rowing, Rugby, Soccer, Softball, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Ten Pin Bowling, Tennis, Track & Field, Triathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo and Wrestling.

Team Members are students or graduates of over 200 Colleges and Universities from around the world including: Boston University, Brandeis, Brown University, Bucknell University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Duke University, Emory University, Fordham University, Harvard University, Indiana University, Ohio State, Penn State, University of California and University of Pennsylvania.

“Due to the hard work of our 100+ member Organizing Committee, we have been able to assemble a Team of the finest Jewish athletes in the USA, including Olympian Jason Lezak,” said Ron Carner, General Chairman, USA 18th Maccabiah Organizing Committee. “They [athletes] have earned the honor of representing the USA at the 18th Maccabiah Games with the participation of over 60 nations. The Mission Statement of Maccabi USA is to “preserve and perpetuate the next generation” and we are certainly doing our utmost to accomplish this goal.”

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.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities. They strive to provide Jewish athletes the world over the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings. MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish continuity, Zionism and excellence in sport.

“Now more than ever, we need to get involved and commit to building a proud Jewish Identity among our young people in the U.S., Israel and the Diaspora,” stated Ron Carner, General Chairman, USA Maccabiah Team. “The Maccabiah is not just about sports, but about providing for these young people a Jewish awareness of who they are, where they come from and where they are going.”

The World Maccabiah Games are a quadrennial event that takes place in Israel. The 18th World Maccabiah Games, scheduled for July 12 – 23, 2009 will be the world’s third largest international athletic competition. Over 8000 of the world’s best Jewish athletes from six continents and over 60 countries will compete at the Games.