Annual Jewish sporting event promotes sportsmanship and kinshi

2,000 plus athletes will converge on to the Sanford L. Ziff Campus of the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center beginning Saturday, November 17 through Saturday, November 24, for Hebraica’s XIII Annual Maccabi Games, sponsored by JGB Bank.

Known for being the largest annual Jewish sporting event in the Southeastern United States, the Maccabi Games were first organized in Miami, in 1982, when a small group of Latin Jewish immigrants decided to continue the tradition of these Games that were so popular in their native Latin American countries. The Games, for them, not only provided a setting for children and adults to compete in a variety of team and individual sporting events, but also provided an opportunity for socialization and camaraderie within a Jewish context.

From its inception in South Florida, athletes register for the games by country of origin thus allowing them to maintain cultural ties to the countries from which they emigrated. Hebraica’s first Maccabi Games thirty-one years ago had a registration of 350 children and adults. Today, 2,000 plus athletes, ages 4 – adult will be divided onto 7 country teams – Argentina, Colombia, Israel, Mexico, Peru, USA and Venezuela. There will also be 6 college Teams. The Games have become a reflection of South Florida’s large and diverse Latin Jewish population while it also embraces participation by the total Jewish community.

“The Maccabi Games is an amazing activity that brings together the Jewish community in South Florida. Through the Games, we get to embrace our Jewish identity,” notes Dr. Leonardo Frydman, co-captain of the Mexican team. “The Games create an incredible social environment like no other for our children.

“Under the leadership of Maccabi Games co-chairs, Helen Beda, Rully Moskovitz, Isail Wagenberg, and Salo Wagenberg supported by a cast of dedicated volunteers and MAR-JCC staff,” says Gary Bomzer, MARJCC Executive Director, “our Maccabi Games has become a showcase program to our community that not only boasts more than 2,000 registered athletes, but also brings thousands of spectators to the MAR-JCC to enjoy watching the competition.”

For information and sponsorship opportunities for the Maccabi Games, check out the MAR-JCC website at or call 305- 932-4200, ext. 139.

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