Attending the largest Jewish youth event in the world, four Columbus teenagers joined 13 other participants from Akron and Cincinnati to form Team Ohio and compete in the 2017 JCC Maccabi Games in Albany, New York. 660 total athletes competed in team sports from August 6 -11, working on sportsmanship, competition, and community building.
Team Ohio brought their own boys basketball team and represented girls basketball, soccer, baseball, tennis and star reporters joining other teams from around the country. From Columbus, Stefan Schiff won the silver medal in boys tennis and two star reporters earned gold medals for their efforts.
Jake Lichten, Stefan Schiff, and Benjamin Rosen were awarded Midot Medals for sportsmanship bestowed by the Lead Volunteer of the 2017 Maccabi Games. These medals are given to select few athletes and artists who are exemplary leaders and embody the values of the JCC Maccabi experience -sportsmanship, respect, joy, kindness, Jewish community, and service.
Besides athletic competition, the teenagers participated in community gatherings and enjoyed evening activities such as bounce houses, laser tag, bowling, arcades, and a farewell party. The teens also participated in a JCC Cares project, filling lunch bags with raisins, applesauce, and other snacks for local homeless shelters, complete with Thanksgiving cards.
“Kids go to interact with other Jewish teenagers from across the country, building a Jewish community,” said Nathan Fox, Columbus JCC Recreation Director and Team Ohio delegation head, “Many from Team Ohio got to compete alongside Jewish teens from Pittsburgh, Albany, and Northern Virginia as part of their teams. It was an awesome way for them to form relationships on the foundation of what they have in common – Judaism.”