August 9, 2007
Maccabi Games debunk myths about Jewish athletes
(Page 2 - Previous Page)Gottlieb was named the Orange County Player of the Year in 1995, when he was a senior at Tustin High School. Later, he starred at the University of Notre Dame and Oklahoma State; won a gold medal as MVP of the 2001 Maccabiah Games in Israel; and played professionally in Europe, Israel and the United States, including the Lakers' summer team.
All of which goes to show that Jews could still earn a living playing professional sports if that were their desire, but few make the journey in this era, given the significant presence of Jews in government, law, business, medicine and the media, all surer paths to economic and social success.
At a time when a typical American youth's knowledge of history begins with the death of Kurt Cobain, we can't be shocked that many kids are more interested in Paris Hilton, reality TV and their iPods than in learning about Jews of the past, even the Jews of the Greatest Generation who served valiantly in World War II, helped to defeat the Nazis and founded the State of Israel.
Though most kids haven't heard of Barney Ross, Hank Greenberg, Sid Luckman or even Spitz, these men are part of our history. By participating in the JCC Maccabi Games, Jewish teens will gain a sense of pride in their own physical achievements and hopefully go on to explore the past, a past filled with struggle, triumph and glory.
For more information, visit http://www.ocmaccabi.org.
Let the Games Begin
The JCC Maccabi Games are returning to Southern California for the second time in their 25-year history, with the sophomore visit scheduled for Orange County, Aug. 12-17.
The Merage Jewish Community Center in Irvine is hosting the annual Olympic-style athletic competitions for Jewish teens, ages 13 to 16, which also feature opening and closing ceremonies. More than 60 athletes from the greater Los Angeles area and 312 from Orange County will be among the 2,100 athletes, coaches and chaperones representing 57 delegations from the United States, Canada, Australia, Great Britain and Israel.
The JCC Maccabi Games were first established in the United States to act as a feeder to the World Maccabiah Games in Israel, with the first North American Youth Maccabi Games taking place in 1982 in Memphis, with 300 athletes participating. This year, three cities are hosting the Maccabi Games -- including Baltimore and Houston -- attracting a total of 4,000 athletes.
The 25th anniversary also marks the first Maccabi visit to Orange County, which comes three years after the opening of the Merage JCC and one year after the creation of the center's Orange County Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
"We are thrilled to be hosting the games," said Merage JCC President and CEO Dan Bernstein, who is a three-time medal winning Maccabi athlete. "It gives us the opportunity to show off our fine JCC facility and to the athletes, coaches and chaperones all that Orange County has to offer."
Los Angeles hosted the Maccabi Games in 1995.
Team tournaments this year include basketball, in-line hockey, soccer and volleyball, while individual programs are slated to include bowling, dance, golf, swimming, table tennis, tennis and track and field. While the Merage JCC is a major site of the games, competitions will take place at 13 different venues throughout Irvine and Newport Beach.
The Maccabi opening ceremonies will take place at the Honda Center in Anaheim on Sunday, Aug. 12, with ESPN radio host Doug Gottlieb serving as master of ceremonies. Anouk Spitzer, daughter of slain fencing coach Andre Spitzer, will present a tribute to the Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Olympic athletes Janet Evans, Jason Lezak, Mitch Gaylord and Dwight Stones will take part in the torch lighting.
-- Staff Report
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