2023 JCC Maccabi Games FAQ

1. What are The JCC Maccabi Games?

The JCC Maccabi Games are an international athletic competition for Jewish teenagers run much like the Olympics. Athletes can compete against Jewish teens from all over the United States as well as delegations from Israel, Great Britain, Mexico, Canada, and more. The Games are played with a focus on “rachmanus” or sportsmanship with the intent to foster long-lasting friendships, memories and connection to Judaism and Israel. This unique event is not only about being a part of the Jewish people; it comes with a mission– to make the world a better place and to make ourselves better people. We express these values or midot to help us remember the greater mission of the Games and Judaism. We emphasize Tikkun Olam (repairing the world), Kavod (respect), Rina (joy), Ga’ava (pride), Lev Tov (big hearted), and Amiut Yehudit (Jewish peoplehood). The Games also promote community involvement, and teamwork. The Games are one of the largest Jewish teen events in the world; each summer over 3,000 Jewish teens participate. Over 100,000 teens have benefited from the JCC Maccabi Games since 1982. At this Jewish Olympic style event, each athlete participates in one of fifteen sports, social events, and an opportunity to give back to the community during this week-long experience, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

2. Where are the Games this year?

Middle School New Year’s Eve Lock-In

Registration for this event has closed.

  • Ages 14-17
  • Sports Offered: baseball, basketball, ice hockey, girls’ volleyball, boys and girls flag football, soccer, tennis, swimming, dance*
  • Highlights include:
    • Week-long JCC Maccabi Games in Haifa in partnership with Maccabi World Union. Olympic style sporting events, including competitions, opening and closing ceremonies, large cultural events, and more.
    • An unforgettable 12-day tour of Israel’s most culturally, religiously, and historically significant sites.
    • Exploring Israel through a sports lens, including opportunities to meet with influential Israeli speakers, coaches, and professional athletes
    • Participating in volunteer service projects
  • Ages 12-16
  • Sports Offered: baseball, basketball, ice hockey, girls’ volleyball, boys and girls flag football, soccer, tennis, swimming, dance*
  • Highlights include:
    • Olympic-style sport competitions, including opening and closing ceremonies, and a tribute to the Munich 11
    • Home hospitality with local Jewish host families
    • JCC Cares community service projects
    • Hangtime programming with Israeli schlichim
    • Evening social events
  • JCC Maccabi Access if for athletes with cognitive and developmental disabilities who will be competing in their own tournament parallel to the Games athletes

3. Who is eligible to participate in the JCC Maccabi Games?

  • In Israel, Jewish teens between the ages of 14-17 as of July 5, 2023 are welcome to compete at the Games. In Fort Lauderdale, Jewish teens between the ages of 12-16 as of July 31, 2023 are welcome to compete.
  • All athletes must be Jewish, which is defined as follows: One of the athlete’s parents is Jewish and the athlete is being raised Jewish or is a Jew by choice and is being raised Jewish. In the spirit of the Games, if the parent or child does not believe that they are Jewish on a year-round basis, then the child should not participate in JCC Maccabi. In the athlete online registration, there is a declaration that contains the eligibility requirements; both the athlete and his/her parent(s) must sign this declaration.
  • All athletes must have current medical insurance and up to date on all age-appropriate vaccines including the Covid-19 vaccinations and boosters as per CDC guidelines.

4. What sports are offered?

Israel Sports include Baseball, Basketball, Dance, Girls and Boys Flag Football, Girls’ Volleyball, Ice, Hockey, Soccer, Swimming, and Tennis.

Fort Lauderdale Sports include Baseball, 3v3 and 5v5 Basketball, Dance, Flag Football, Girls’ Volleyball, Ice, Hockey, Boys Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming, Table Tennis, and Tennis

5. What is the athletic competition like?

The competitive level of the participants will vary. There are teens that are elite athletes and then those that are there for the experience, the level of play is very diverse. Some of the sports will have different divisions based on skill levels. Throughout the week, players can expect to play at least four games/matches before tournament play begins on Wednesday. Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to the top three winners. Although it is competitive the JCC Maccabi Games emphasize the Rachmanus Rule, which is good sportsmanship and fair play. The experience is about more than just sports. It focuses on an all-around experience including friends, community service, social and educational activities.

6. What is a mixed team?

A mixed team is comprised of athletes from multiple delegations. This is common and happens when a delegation does not have enough athletes to field a full team. Where our delegation is unable to field a full team, athletes will be combined in a mix team with one or more other delegations’ players. Being on a mixed team can be a great experience and foster lasting friendships with Jewish teens around the world!

7. How does community service play a role in JCC Maccabi?

Community Service is a key component to the JCC Maccabi Games experience. Each set of Games includes a JCC Cares project where athletes tep away from competition and workshops for a part of their day and work to improve the local community, through activities like planting a community garden, bowling with adults with special needs, or doing art projects one-on-one with children from underserved communities.

8. How will my child get to and from the Games?

Parents will be responsible for bringing their teens to the JCC where they will meet the Delegation Head and coaches who will accompany the delegation for the week. At the designated day/ time the delegation will travel to the host community together. OR Parents will be responsible for bringing athletes to the designated airport where delegation staff will be there to check teens in and accompany the group to the Games.

9. What is the fee for the JCC Maccabi Games?

The all-inclusive fee is $1,900 per teen for Ft Lauderdale and $4,500 for Israel. Registration includes submitting the completed registration, personal contact info, a $600 non-refundable deposit paid upon signing up, and agreement to the non-refundable remainder of the payment to The Weinstein JCC. Additional registration steps are required at later dates including medical forms etc. Please see registration form or contact your delegation head for details.

10. What does the fee include?

JCC Maccabi is an all-inclusive experience. Program fees include Games registration fees, transportation to and from the host community and during the Games, uniform, Team Richmond gear, adult supervision and coaches, practices, meals, social events/team activities, and all other accommodations throughout the program.

For Israel, it includes flights to and from and the 2-week tour following the week of competition.

For Fort Lauderdale, it also includes a pre- weekend for all athletes to get to know each other and celebrate Shabbat together the JCC Maccabi way.

11. Are there scholarships available?

Limited scholarships are available locally for families in need of financial assistance. All funding is need-based and you can apply through a confidential process.

To apply please email [email protected]

There is also a national scholarship available through JCC Maccabi. Please visit jccaccabigames.org/richard-cohen-memorial-scholarship/ for more information on the Richard Cohen Memorial JCC Maccabi scholarship.

12. Are there adult chaperones at JCC Maccabi?

Of course! There is a mandatory ratio of 1:8 adults to teens. We have a delegation head, and coaches and chaperones. Every athlete is assigned to a coach/chaperone whether they are on a team sport, individual sport, or a mixed team with a coach from another. Head coaches are all over 21 and have passed extensive background checks.

13. Where will my teen stay?

In Israel, all participants will stay in a combination of hotels and hostels.

In Fort Lauderdale, the week of JCC Maccabi (Sunday- Friday) all teens will stay with a host family. Many past participants have said that the host families are one of their favorite parts of the experience. Host families are Jewish homes that are part of their greater JCC communities. Host families are background checked, screened, and required to attend a mandatory orientation. Vaccines will be required for all members of a host family who will be age eligible to receive it.

Teens can request specific homes that meet their needs such as dietary restrictions and pet allergies. Teens can also request a specific roommate. Participants may not arrange their own housing or stay in hotels. The home hospitality experience is an important part of the Games experience. We are very gracious to these host families as they serve as interim parents for the week transporting the teens to and from JCC Maccabi, provide breakfast, laundry, and give your teen an unforgettable home hospitality experience. Many teens will stay in touch with host families for years to come!

For the JCC Maccabi pre-weekend, teens will stay with the DELEGATION in a hotel.

14. Can you tell me about security at JCC Maccabi?

Security is taken very seriously at the JCC Maccabi Games. Background checks are utilized for all adults involved and all participants, spectators, coaches, host families, volunteers, etc. are required to wear a credential to access any JCC Maccabi facility. The host community also works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.

15. Our family keeps kosher. Will my teen’s needs be met at JCC Maccabi?

In Israel: Yes, all food served at the JCC Maccabi Games is kosher and Shabbat will be respected.

In Fort Lauderdale: Yes, all food served at the JCC Maccabi Games is kosher and all activities will conclude prior to Shabbat. Delegations will return home on Friday with plenty of time before Shabbat

16. Can I use my son or daughter’s school or camp medical form for JCC Maccabi?

No. Maccabi Central will only accept the JCC Maccabi Medical Form.

17. What happens if there is a medical emergency?

In the case of a medical emergency, the Delegation Head will act as the participant’s guardian and will communicate with the parents to get any treatment necessary. Information such as the parent/guardian’s birth date and social security number is sometimes necessary to utilize insurance.

18. Can parents be spectators at the JCC Maccabi Games?

Yes! Parents, family members, and friends are welcome to attend the Games as spectators. A spectator pass gives access to the opening ceremony and sport events. No one will be admitted to a Games site who is not wearing an approved credential. To register as a spectator, you will use the same website as when registering your teen. Please note registration and fee deadlines

While we encourage families to consider attending to support their teens, the athletes have programs and activities going on for the entirety of their time at the Games and thus only see visitor’s courtside at sporting events. At no point during the week can spectators or parents remove the teens from the program or take them off-site for any reason.

18. How can I sign up to be part of Team Richmond at the JCC Maccabi Games 2023?

Registration is open NOW! Please contact your Delegation Head, Myles Phelps at [email protected] or (804) 545-8630 to secure your spot on Team Richmond.