By Karen Billing
For the past week, Jewish athletes from around the globe, including a contingent from Israel, have been competing in the Jewish Community Center Maccabi Games.
It’s the first time that San Diego has hosted the games, which have been held in North America since 1982. The games, which wrap up Friday, are billed as the Olympics for young Jewish athletes, yet represent much more, promoting a sense of community and pride in their religion.
Through Friday, more than 2,000 athletes will have competed in everything from baseball and table tennis to flag football and dance.
This year, teams traveled from cities like Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Miami and Houston and countries like Mexico, Canada and Israel to compete for medals.
“We feel it’s very special for San Diego,” said David Wax, president of the JCC. “It’s just a wonderful thing, the spirit and energy of the kids. Of course there is competing but it’s about the experience, getting these kids together.”
By far, host San Diego had the biggest delegation of athletes with 300 strong with Carmel Valley accounting for 68 athletes; La Jolla followed close behind with 36.
Spots throughout the county hosted the competition, ranging from The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla, La Jolla Country Day School and, in Carmel Valley, Cathedral Catholic, Canyon Crest Academy and the San Diego Jewish Academy.