Team Virginia Beach shares experiences of JCC Maccabi Games in San Diego

by | Sep 8, 2022 | Trending News

The JCC Maccabi Games returned for its 40th year last month in San Diego, California with five days of competition, building friendships, and Jewish identity.

Among the 1,300 teen athletes from 57 delegations and 67 JCCs across the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bulgaria, and Israel, seven teens were members of Team Virginia Beach.

Team Virginia Beach’s athletes, led by Tom Edwards, Simon Family JCC’s athletics director, competed throughout the week in flag football, basketball, soccer, swimming, and ice hockey (among the sports offered) at venues throughout San Diego County.

The teens all had positive experiences during the competitions, as well as in meeting and making new friends. Here, they reflect on the Games.

Ryan Bailey, 3v3 basketball

At Maccabi this year, I made new friends that will last a lifetime.

Ethan Jenkins, Ice Hockey

I had a great time at Maccabi. I did hockey. It was a ton of fun. I love doing the sports and meeting a lot of new people.

Jack Jenkins, Ice Hockey

At Maccabi I had a lot of fun playing hockey with a new team from Vancouver and meeting new people.

Sam Levin, Flag Football

What I love about Maccabi is that you make friends from so many places, and they don’t just last for a few weeks after Maccabi. I have stayed in touch with many friends from other sports, and friends I played on the field, and we will have stories that will last a lifetime. I also loved the level of competition I got to play against. I wasn’t just playing people who decided they wanted to try something new, it was people who genuinely cared and had a passion for their sport. I cannot wait to compete in Maccabi next year and in future years…not just as a player but also as a coach.

You’re going to make new friends that are not just with people that live near you or from your state, but across the country, and sometimes from across the world. And the adventures it gives you, like going to SeaWorld or going to a baseball game, like the Padres, that’s why I love Maccabi.

Nate Simon, Flag Football

Maccabi gave me a chance to branch out and make lots of new friends. I loved meeting new friends who play flag football while competing against other Jewish teens. You don’t just make friends from your area, but you can make new Jewish friends from all over the country. I am so glad I did Maccabi and got the chance to play Flag Football against other Jewish teens.

What I loved about Maccabi is that everyone is social, and you get to make all of these Jewish friends from all over the country, and some even live in Israel. It’s just really a fun experience.

Aliyah Stupar, Swimming

At Maccabi I made a lot of new friends, and I really liked competing in my sport. And I had a great time with my roommates and my host family.

Tamir Zach, Soccer

The Maccabi games bring everybody together and I was able to reconnect with my old coach. It is so wonderful for the athletes and their families to meet many new and old friends. It was my second Maccabi games.

What I liked about Maccabi this year was my team. They were very nice and supportive. I made a lot of new friends. And also, the Padre’s game was high spirit. It was very fun. The opening ceremony went by pretty fast this year, so that was really nice. And the dorms were something special, too. I wouldn’t have thought that they would be anything like it was.

JCC Maccabi Games 2023 will be held in Israel July 5–25 and in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. August 6–11. The Access Experience (for teen athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities) will be featured as part of the Games in Ft. Lauderdale. Team Virginia Beach is planning a delegation to both Games. An information meeting will take place Tuesday, Nov. 8 at 6:30 pm at the Simon Family JCC. For information, contact Tom Edwards at

Jewish News Staff