JCC MetroWest took a delegation of 10 local and two Israeli teenagers from Ofakim, MetroWest’s sister city, to participate in the JCC Maccabi Games and Artsfest that was held in Israel from July 25 through Aug. 4, the first time that events were held in the Jewish state.
More than 1,000 Jewish teenagers from delegations all over the world participated in the event. MetroWest had nine athletes who competed in soccer, swimming, and tennis, as well as three artists in broadcast journalism, dance, and rock band.
The Israel experience was more than just the traditional JCC Maccabi Games and Artsfest, as it included a host family weekend in Ofakim and three days of touring around Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The events began on July 26 in Kiryat Shmona in Northern Israel. After three days of competing and creating, the teens took a day off for a Day of Caring and Sharing on July 29. The MetroWest delegation was assigned the project of revamping a youth center in Kiryat Shmona, including cleaning, gardening, and painting; the results were amazing. The Maccabi participants donated 6,000 man-hours to various projects that benefited the host community.
Following the Day of Sharing and Caring, the MetroWest delegation took a bus ride to Ofakim for a visit with their host families. The weekend concluded on Saturday night with a karaoke pizza party for the teens and their new friends.
On Sunday, it was off to Hebrew University in Jerusalem for the finals of the sports competitions and Artsfest performances.
The Israel Experience concluded with three days of touring in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, including the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kotel; Yad Vashem; an underground munitions factory; and shopping in the Shook market. Opening and closing ceremonies featuring music by Israel’s HaDag Nahash, American Idol finalist Brett Lowenstern, and Yeshiva University’s Maccabeats.
Gold — 200M Medley Relay, 400M Free Relay
Silver — 50M Fly, 50M Breast, 400M Medley Relay, 100M Breast
Bronze — 200M Free Relay
Silver — 400M Free Relay
Bronze — 200M Medley Relay
Silver — 200M Back, 200M Medley Relay
Bronze — 400M Free, 400M Free Relay, 400M Medley Relay, 50M Back, 200M Individual Medley
Gold — 400M Free Relay
Silver — 400M Individual Medley, 400M Medley Relay, 200M Individual Medley
In addition, Nate Tsimikas won a silver medal in soccer as part of a mixed team and Andrew Nolff beat his opponent in a tiebreaker to earn the bronze medal in tennis.