Written By Noam Watt
And so it all begins. The inaugural Maccabi Media Team has touched down in Israel, embarking on a three-week journey to cover Maccabi USA in the 21st Maccabiah.
“All the anticipation is manifesting itself in this one moment,” says Logan Schiciano, a rising sophomore at Northwestern. “This is it. It’s time to put all this work into action.”
Hailing from the East Coast to West Coast and so many places in between, our team of 14 student journalists and five mentors has spent the last two days training in Philadelphia. It started in February with monthly meetings via Zoom, as little icons on a screen with a shared passion for media, sports, and Judaism. And once in Philadelphia starting on July 3rd, we familiarized ourselves with our camera gear, reviewed our workflow, practiced our live event streaming, brainstormed story ideas, and most importantly bonded through intense iterations of two group games: “Person, Place, Thing,” and “Scattegories.”
We completed our own training camp on July 5th and have already posted dozens of features on the Maccabi USA website. Now the months of preparation come to a head. On Tuesday morning we bussed to Newark and took off for Israel – almost ten hours in our plane filled with teams getting ready to compete.
“I’m excited and nervous, it’s my first time flying overseas,” says Alex Burstein, a rising senior at Lane Tech High School in Chicago. Burstein said the training camp was a lot of fun, and “it’s going to set up for a great few weeks.”
We will take the day Wednesday to settle into Israel, staying at Kibbutz Shefayim just a half hour outside of Tel Aviv. On Thursday, we’ll join the US Delegation for Israel Connect, a six-day program that will take us to various sites around Israel, exploring the history and our connection to the land.
Part of our responsibility is to cover the results of the competitions, but just as important is telling the stories of the 1,335 delegations members from the United States.
“I’m most excited to get to know more athletes in Maccabi USA,” says Lauren Rub, a Syracuse University Class of 2022 graduate and Miami native. “Meeting some of the ice hockey team at the airport in Newark was very exciting and I cannot wait to tell their Maccabi stories.”
This is the first media team to cover the Maccabiah. And now we work for the next three weeks, at least after a nap. You know, the jet lag is setting in.
Noam Watt is a Class of 2022 Graduate from the University of Connecticut. He is a native of Lexington, Massachusetts and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org