Philadelphia, PA, April 30 – Jeff Bukantz, General Chairman, 19th Maccabiah USA Organizing Committee, announces the appointment of the USA Team to compete at the Games in Israel, July 18 – 30. The Team, over 1130 strong, will be the largest traveling delegation EVER to travel from the USA to compete in an International Olympic Committee-sanctioned event. There will be an additional group of over 300 friends and family that will travel with Maccabi USA to cheer on the Team.
“I have been absolutely humbled by the incredible work of the hundreds of volunteers that have been working diligently over the last few years to recruit and organize the Team,” said Bukantz. “To organize a Team this large and its support staff is just an awesome achievement! Our Sports Chairmen have done an outstanding job to enable this Team of Jewish athletes the opportunity to participate in the Maccabiah Games and experience the culture and beauty of Israel. As a former athlete, I know firsthand the feeling of amazement the Team will feel from the moment they step off the plane, and I am so proud to have the opportunity to march into the Opening Ceremony with such a talented group of athletes.”
As of today, there are 1132 Jewish American athletes and coaches that will comprise Team USA. They come from 37 States, the District of Columbia and Israel. The States are: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington. The largest number of athletes comes from California (262) and New York (210).
Team USA includes athletes and alumni of many of the top colleges and universities in the country, including all eight Ivy League schools, MIT, Stanford and Northwestern. The USA Team is comprised of 82 Open, Juniors, Youth, Paralympic, Masters and Grand Masters divisional teams participating in 31 different sports. Olympian Garrett Weber-Gale will participate as a member of the Open Swim Team. Other professional athletes include Zach Test of the USA Rugby 7’s Team; Zac Rosen and Bryan Cohen, both playing Basketball for Israel; Eric Nystrom, left winger for the NHL Dallas Stars, will be the assistant coach for the Open Ice Hockey Team; and retired NBA athlete Danny Schayes will coach the Masters Men’s 35+ Basketball Team.
The sports that Team will compete in are: Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Chess, Cycling, Equestrian, Fencing, Field Hockey, Futsal, Golf, Gymnastics, Half Marathon, Ice Hockey, Judo, Karate, Rowing, Rugby, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Soccer, Softball, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Ten Pin Bowling, Tennis, Track & Field, Triathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo and Wrestling. This will be the first time that Equestrian Open Women’s Water Polo will take place at the Maccabiah Games. Basketball, comprised of eight divisions, has the largest number of teams, with Open Men’s and Women’s, Juniors Boys’ and Girls’. Youth Men’s; Paralympic; Masters Men’s 35+ and 45+ teams competing.
The Maccabiah Games are about more than sports competition. They are an opportunity for Jewish athletes from around the world to convene in Israel for an elite athletic competition and to explore their common culture and heritage in the historic Jewish Homeland. The Open, Juniors and Youth divisions of Team USA arrive in Israel one week in advance of the Games to participate in the ISRAEL CONNECT (IC) cultural and educational program that is unique to Maccabi USA. The IC program provides these athletes with the opportunity to tour the historic and religious sites of Israel as members of Team USA so they can bond with each other, their culture and Heritage and experience the magic and beauty of Israel.
“We take athletes that happen to be Jewish, to compete in the Maccabiah Games,” Bukantz commented. “But we return home with Jewish athletes who have a renewed sense of pride in their Judaism and increased support for the State of Israel.”
The Maccabiah Games are the third largest international sporting event in the world, after the Summer Olympics and the Pan Am Games. There will be over 8,500 participants from 70 countries at the 19th World Maccabiah Games.
If you would like more information about the Games or to schedule an interview, please contact Sara Feinstein at 215.561.6900 x119 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the organization:
Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with 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 sponsor 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. It strives 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. Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.