Maccabi Game Szn
In a school overrun by international Jews, the spirit of the traditional American holiday season seems to fade into the background. Excluding the catchy music, all aspects of Christmas conflict Jewish values. On the other hand, Thanksgiving brings about an entirely different season, arguably the most important of the year, the Maccabi Games season. This annual athletic competition attracts Jewish students from schools all over Miami, including Hebrew Academy, Posnak, Krop, ATM, and primarily, Scheck Hillel. Competing in various sports, both in Hillel and its neighboring JCC, while representing their home countries, young children and adults alike enjoy the Olympic spirit and bask in the holiday that is the MAR JCC Maccabi Games.
Students, particularly those who attend Scheck Hillel, await the week-long Maccabi Games all year. Signing up the day registration opens, eager athletes fill up teams such as Venezuela, Perú, Argentina, USA, and Israel. To most of these competitors, Maccabi Games means more than just sports and trophies. It reminds many of their home countries and allows them to be proud patriots despite the thousands of miles separating them from their countries. The positive, friendly ambiance, with an underlying tone of competitivity and athletic prowess, is truly unlike any other, making Maccabi Games the most memorable time of year and giving it a special place in students hearts.
“Year-round, I fervently await the Maccabi Games,” said senior Benjamin Brenner, who has been participating in the games for over a decade. “I love the thrill of the game, the fierce atmosphere, and competing with and/or against my friends. Partaking in these games is my favorite part of the year, as I get to put on the orange Venezuela shirt and embrace my home while playing alongside my neighbors in Miami.”
For Freshman, Tatiana Wainer, “Maccabi Games is not only a time for me to be with my friends, but with my family too. All of my cousins participate, along with my brothers, and my mom, who is the captain for team Colombia.” She continues, “To me, it’s not only about the medals, it’s about the experiences. Playing on Colombia for 10 years has introduced me to new people who I am now proud to call my friends, and I have been able to lure others into playing alongside me. The familial, friendly, and pleasurable environment casts a shadow on the competitive background, which prevails only on the court or field.”
The Maccabi Games season is an extraordinary time of year, where students get to engage in amicable competition while representing their home countries. The different brightly colored shirts, all standing together under the light of a Jewish identity, is a remarkable sight showing the diversity in Miami’s Jewish community. This years 36th annual Maccabi Games was a booming success as the number of participants, from both Scheck Hillel and other schools, was at the highest it has ever been. Now, as people reminisce on the fun they had just days ago, they wait anxiously for what next year’s Maccabi Games may hold, and for the best time of year to roll around once again.