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JCC Games continue in Fort Lauderdale

Posted: 13-Aug-2015 by Maccabi NSW

Opening Ceremony at Fort Launderdale

Please note: Photos can be found on the Facebook page here

10 August 2015

By Michelle Israel

Evening all!!!

We have been privileged this evening to see another opening ceremony...and whilst longer in duration...saw emotion, fun, music and community expressed in such a way as to lave us speechless!

Held at the BB & T arena, which is home to the Florida Panthers (Hockey!), this evening saw a gathering of 10 000 people between athletes, management and spectators all there for a singular purpose...the opening of the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest

The parade of athletes saw Americans lead us out, followed by the internationals...Aussies first of course!!!!! It is always difficult, you hear the roar of the crowd, but can not hear what is being said...this evening we came down the stairs too busy watching where we were going to look up and wave :-)

The loudest cheer was reserved for the Israeli's and of course the local Fort Lauderdale delegation of about 280...

We were treated to some professional dancers, mascots and music. We remembered 3 very special members of the Fort Lauderdale community who had lost their own battles and were unable to be there with us, one of them was Amy Beth Rosenberg, who was instrumental in my early years at the JCC Maccabi Games...her sister is in fact one of the coach's this year...Amy was taken from us too early in life, but most certainly left her mark on the JCC community and all those who have since participated in the games.

The tribute to the Munich 11, was again poignant, no matter how many times you hear it or see it...this evening we were then privileged to hear Fred Berger speak. Fred's brother David was one of the 11 Israeli's who lost their lives in Munich 1972. Fred told us a little about David growing up and how he made aliyah to Israel, ostensibly because he had a better chance of competing in the Olympics for Israel rather than the USA (he did not make the team for the '68 Olympics)...tragically, David (2 days after competing), died...hearing this from his brother was very moving...I thank the Fort Lauderdale community for providing all of us with this opportunity. Fred finished by saying that if David was with us today, he would have said to the athletes, " Find your dream and follow it!"

We had anthems, we had brothers who played the cello and we had special effects that not only regularly scared us, but managed to take the chill off the very air conditioned arena...

Fort Lauderdale itself has interesting weather patterns, there is even a siren system in place for the flash electrical storms that can hit...1 blast means get off the field immediately, 3 short blasts means you can return...we shall see how many times the outdoor sports are disrupted this week.

One of the many great things about these games are the friends you make...I am delighted to see some of you forming bonds that will endure, I myself have been reacquainted with several friends from past really is all about sport bringing us together...

Day 1 of competition begins in a few hours...the humidity will be a big impact, we shall see how day 1 goes...until next time


11 August 2015

Evening catch cry from Fort Lauderdale I am afraid :-)

I did hear my first weather siren asking people to take shelter as the storm blew across the area...1 blast - take shelter, 3 blasts - ok to return to the open!!!! Not something we see back home!



On the first day of competition in Florida the swimmers were subjected to possibly the hottest conditions they may ever compete in.

-Jared Elbourne claimed silver in the 50m freestyle first up.

-Judd touched for silver in the 200m breaststroke with the first three places finishing within a second of each other. He then went on to touch third in the 100m butterfly (while being compromised by a goggles mishap).

-The next event of the day saw Damon do a 3 second improvement on his Dallas 500yds time... While Judd raced again, and along with with Isabella, they both claimed the first gold medals of the tournament! GO AUSSIE!

In summary, Florida has demonstrated it has a much bigger competition with depth which is being run under extreme weather conditions.


Basketball results:

1. 14's

Game 1: Australia 70 defeated Stamford 39 Game 2: Australia 66 def Greater Palm Beach 33

tomorrow sees the 14's playing Rockland and Fort Lauderdale before the re seeding happens heading into the finals


2. 16's

Game 1: Pittsburgh 56 def Australia 24

Game 2: Miami Beach/Stamford 64 def Australia 30


tomorrow sees the 16's playing kings Bay Y and Fort Lauderdale before the re seeding happens heading into the finals


Our evening entertainment was at Dave and arcade style venue with loads of entertainment for all...some of our athletes even did karaoke...sorry, I do not have the video...I am sure someone will :-)

Tomorrow sees host family night...until then.


12 August 2015

Evening all

Big day today...


16's Basketball

Finished the preliminary rounds with a 1 and 3 record, they are now seeded in the Blue finals (same as last week) Game 1 today v Kings Bay Y (who is incidentally who we play tomorrow) won 40 - 33 Game 2 today was a loss to Fort Lauderdale 66 - 34


14's Basketball

Game 1: Australia 55 v Rockland NY 37

Again a very even team effort by the boys saw us pull away in the second half after being only up 7 points at half time.


Game 2: Philadelphia 62 v Australia 39


We met a very strong Philadelphia side who are one of the favourites to win the competition.

Although outclassed the boys put in a tremendous effort to win the last quarter and the Philly coach complimented the team on how well they played,


The boys have won 3 out of 4  and will definitely play off in the top division.



Similar to Day One the weather at the pool was hot and humid… All swimmers turned out to put in sterling performancs.

Noticeable were Isabella Coghlan (2nd), Jared Elbourne (2nd) and Taya Carp (3rd) in their respective 200 meters freestyle events.

Isabella was denied silver in the female 400IM for an incorrect turn… The race which then followed saw Judd putting on a super performance to be only tipped out to get silver in the same event.

Finally,  Congratulations to Jesse Nissen for getting his long arm arms working and earning a gold medal in the 100m backstroke.


This evening was host family night...

Tomorrow we have another day of swimming, preliminary finals in basketball and then everyone participates in the JCC Cares program in the afternoon.



13 August 2015

Today saw some very inspirational efforts from the Australian athletes, both on and off the sporting arena. Our swimmers continued their medal haul and our basketballers had tough competition resulting in (unfortunately) their elimination from competition...however, all the athletes showed care and compassion with the JCC Cares projects.

The basketballers went bowling with some children with very special needs, and all of our athletes came away with a sense of achievement in making someone else smile, even if for a little while...The Fort Lauderdale JCC Maccabi website has many pictures.

Our swimmers, atttended a project entitled Feeding South Florida...and again enthusiastically went about making a difference in this world...

For all Australian athletes, this afternoon saw them bring much nacchus to the world, themselves, their parents and Maccabi Australia...I was very proud of them all!!!!!!



14's Basketball

Game 1: Australia 61 def Kings Bay Y 50

Game 2: LA Westside were too good for us 63 to 37


16's Basketball

Kings Bay Y def Australia 63 - 41



Judd again shone with two medals - a bronze and silver.

Jared also gave him a run for his money coming a close second in the 200IM.

Today was the last day of competition for Damon, who left for home. Many thanks to Damon who demonstrated the Australian JCC Maccabi spirit and strived to embody the 'midot' of being a participant.

In case you did not catch it, the U16 basketball boys were interviewed last week in Dallas, the article can be found at

Our evening tonight was at a venue called the Hard Rock Live...there was music (even with ear plugs, I will still able to hear and sing along), some dancers (including the Miami Dolphins cheer leaders and some very cool dancers with coloured lights...and the biggest glo-sticks I have ever seen...there were tables set up for jenga, there were other games and of course the inevitable snacks...

Host families picked up the kids from the venue...


The adults, then had their trading night...there will be very few who come home with Australian gear...and there are some ruthless bargainers out there...the athletes have already been trading and it will be very amusing Friday to watch them check their luggage...because on top of their trades many of them have been shopping up a storm!!!

Until tomorrow, and the final report from me...have a wonderful day



14 August 2015

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It seems such a short time ago that I was writing about arriving in Dallas, and now we have competed in 2 JCC Maccabi Games (Dallas and Fort Lauderdale)...reflecting on many highs, and seeing the growth in our young athletes I feel as though the trip has been a huge success, not just for the sporting side, but for the realisation that these young ambassadors have done you all proud.

Yesterday's Basketball result...for U14's; Australia 61 v Kings Bay NY 50

In the top division the boys played their best game of the tournament so far coming from behind to assert themselves over very good opposition. A sensational effort by the boys who have gone one better than they did in Dallas


LA 63 v Australia 37


This was always going to be tough assignment, the Australians having played at 8am and finishing their game around 9.20 then fronting up at 10.45 against one of the top 3 undefeated teams who had a bye into this game due to their superior ranking.

Despite the score the boys played well against a really good LA side.


The 14U boys can hold their heads high and they have been widely complemented on their basketball by opposition coaches and the team has continued to improve throughout  and can only benefit from paying really good teams, bring on Maccabiah in 2017


Today's swimming;

The final day (Swimming Day 3), our swimmers again showed great promise for Maccabi Australia into the future. While the girls were just off the mark in their events, the boys (Judd and Jared) medalled.

In the final event Judd pulled off the swim of the meet tipping out his nemesis for Gold in the final 50yds of the 200IM. This was another great swim by Judd and ensured he was to be paying excess baggage for the trip home with all his bling.


The two meets have clearly demonstrated our Jewish swimmers are competitive, have the Australian JCC Maccabi spirit and strived to embody the ‘Rachmanus' of being a participant.


Closing ceremony tonight saw us at the NSU Taft Center, we had dancing, casino style games, food, donuts and more donuts!!!!!!! We honoured the midot medal winners (Damon Glick being one of them), saw the passing of the Games torch from Fort Lauderdale to Stamford, Conneticut, watched the official games video (a few Australians featured), and then left the arena in true South Florida fashion - to a rain storm...


My highlight from these games? Is the camaraderie evident across all of our athletes, their care of each other and their willingness to assist at any point. They played hard, they had an amazing experience, were polite, well behaved and an absolute inspiration. These athletes are our future, and I believe, represented you and Maccabi Australia, with the poise of people older than they are...there is and was much nacchus being a part of their journey.


Thank you also for sharing it with us, your emails, Facebook comments etc have been noted and very much appreciated.


Until the next journey, whether it be another JCC Games, a Carnival, a Maccabiah or a Pan American, rest assured, this group of athletes show a lot of potential...maybe I will one day say...I knew them when...

Signing off from Fort Lauderdale

Michelle Israel

Carnival 2020


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