A Slam Dunk for Teens from America and Israel

With over 10,000 young athletes coming to Israel for the 21st World Maccabi Games which were held July 12-26, what could be better than having the American athletes meeting Israeli teens on their own turf? Perhaps this turf was not the beautifully equipped sports facility, or air conditioned basketball courts they are use to in the States. Maybe this court was a small, uncovered, outdoor field with two very tired-looking hoops located in the heart of the overcrowded city known as Bnei Brak. Yet, despite the 90 degree temperature and blaring sun, this basketball event became one of the most memorable and impactful days for the young Americans visiting Israel this summer! 

On Sunday, July 10, a delegation from the female basketball team of the Maccabi USA Games joined the girls basketball players from the Emunah Achuzat Sara Children’s Residential Home located in Bnei Brak, for a day of sports, fun and solidarity. Athletes from both teams participated in training drills, basketball clinics and practice games under the direction of Tamir Goodman, director of the Israel Hoops for Kids program and his staff. In addition to sharing in their mutual love of basketball, the American delegates learned about life in Israel and what it is like for children who reside in a Residential Home. Known as the “Maccabi Ambassador’s Clinics” the United States based organization wanted to enhance their participants’ experience in Israel by immersing them in local programs that enlightened them to the issues confronting their Israeli counterparts. 

Along with the sports activities, the athletes enjoyed a full “Israeli lunch” and participated in numerous interactive  projects such as jewelry making and cookie baking.

 “Maccabi USA [was]  honored to bring the Ambassadors Clinic program to Israel as part of the Maccabiah. We look forward to working with World Emunah and the Israeli Volleyball Association in executing basketball and volleyball clinics which will bring American and Israeli youth together in a fun and impactful way. We also hope that the July 10 clinics will serve as the foundation for future Maccabiahs and Maccabi international competitions. Am Yisrael Chai!”, says Arnie D. Fielkow, Maccabi USA Vice President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans.

Indeed – This day was a true Slam Dunk for All!

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