Philadelphia, PA (May 24) – The USA Open Fencing Team that will compete at the 13th European Maccabi Games in Vienna, Austria in July has been fully appointed.  The Games in Vienna will be the largest gathering of Jews in that country since World War II.

The Team is coached by Marshal Davis of Furlong, PA, a fencing alumnus from the University of Florida and also includes five university fencers including two from the University of Florida and two from Swarthmore College, where Davis is the Coach.  The other University students hail from Drew University, Penn State University and Stevens Institute of Technology.  Many of the six men and six women who make up the Team have qualified for and won National Fencing Championships and two were medal winners at the 18th World Maccabiah Games in Israel in 2009.

“From the moment that every USA fencer starts competing, they dream of being able to wear USA on their uniform and that in of itself, will be life-changing,” said Coach Davis.  “The Team will face some stiff competition as the Europeans are known for their strong fencing skills, however the overall experience of representing your country in an international competition with other Jewish athletes from throughout the Diaspora, will provide lifelong memories for every member of the Team.”

The twelve athletes come from six states and include Abigail Aldea of Germantown, TN; Emily Brandsdorfer of Dix Hills, NY; Spencer Brasch of Skokie, IL; Olivia Briffault of New York, NY; Emily Eder of Lenox, MA; Michael El-Saleh of Houston, TX; Shayna Gershman of Coral Springs, FL; Zachary Greenberg of Jamison, PA; Avi Leavitt of Boca Raton, FL; Edward Nass of Harrison, NY; Diana Tsinis of Little Neck, NY and James Weiss of Somers, NY.

Jeff Bukantz, General Chairman of the USA Organizing Committee for the 13th European Maccabi Games, a Maccabiah Fencer and Captain of the USA Olympic Fencing Team in 2004 and 2008, is delighted with the Team composition.  “This is a very strong group of young men and women who will have a great time competing with other Jewish athletes from throughout the Diaspora,” said Bukantz.  “I am thrilled that I will be able to watch some of the competition but more importantly, I am excited that each and every member of the Team will have a unique Maccabi experience, not just competing, but learning about the history and culture of the Jewish Community in Vienna.”

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 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.  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.