Philadelphia, PA, December 2, 2008 – The first Maccabi USA Junior Gymnastics Invitational will be held this weekend, December 6 and 7, at the Bart Conner Gymnastics Center in Norman, OK. The Invitational will be held in conjunction with the Maccabi USA 18th Maccabiah Gymnastics Tryouts for elite Jewish Gymnasts who will represent the USA at the 18th Maccabiah Games in Israel, July, 2009.

The weekend will begin with a banquet for all 125 athletes and their parents on Saturday evening, December 6. The competition will follow on Sunday, December 7, with the two competitions. The first will be the Juniors Invitational, with Gymnasts ranked at levels 4-8 from the USA and Canada participating in the event, will follow all USAG sanctions. Next, the Maccabi USA Trials for its USA Gymnastics Team will follow, with elite Jewish Gymnasts, both men and women from the USA, competing to represent their country at the 18th Maccabiah Games in July. The competitions will be attended by Gold Medal Olympic Athletes Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci.

These events are the brainchild of Ben Fox, Gymnastics Chairman for the 18th Maccabiah USA Organizing Committee.? Fox, a Board member of Maccabi USA/Sport for Israel is excited about this event because, “It is a unique event that brings together families from all over the USA to experience sports, family and culture.? Not only will we have elite Jewish athletes competing for a place on the USA Team for the Maccabiah Games, but the Junior Jewish Gymnastics Invitational will allow younger athletes the opportunity to not only see the highest level of Jewish gymnasts in the USA, but to also compete for awards.”

There is limited availability for press to attend the opening banquet on the 6th as well as the competitions on the 7th.? For information on attending these events, please contact Ben Fox at (405)447-7500.

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 committed 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 (Games) 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 13 – 23, 2009 will be the world’s third largest international athletic competition.? Over 9000 of the world’s best Jewish athletes from six continents and over 60 countries will compete at the Games.