Local Teens at JCC Maccabi Games, Ziegler School Names Assistant Dean

Notable people and events in the Jewish LA community
July 26, 2023
Teens at the JCC Maccabi Games competed in sports and enjoyed cultural activities. Courtesy of J Los Angeles

Jewish teens from across Los Angeles traveled as part of the J Los Angeles delegation to participate in the JCC Maccabi Games in Haifa, Israel, winning big on and off the field. 

The delegation was led by Ari Cohen, director of experiential learning at J Los Angeles, formerly known as the Westside JCC, and included five volunteer coaches as well as dozens of family spectators who traveled to Israel for the monumental occasion.

The delegation’s 15U soccer team took home gold, while 17U baseball won silver, and 17U basketball took bronze in final matches. In addition, the delegation’s five individual swimmers earned multiple medals throughout the competition.

Courtesy of J Los Angeles

The Olympic-style athletic competition is just a fraction of the experience. The JCC Maccabi Games bring together over 1,000 Jewish teens, ages 14-17, from across the globe including delegations from Ukraine, South America and Israel, giving Los Angeles teens a global Jewish-identity building experience. 

The trip also includes Shabbat programs and events where Jewish teens from all over the world socialize and share the experience together, in addition to a movement-wide tikkun olam program. The trip concludes with a 12-day tour of Israel’s most culturally, religiously, and historically significant sites.

“We are very proud of the teen athletes who represented our J in Israel this summer,” J Los Angeles Executive Director Brian Greene said. “The experience of competing and engaging with Jewish teens from around the globe will have a lasting impact on the participants.”

JCC Maccabi, a signature program of JCC Association of North America, is the world’s largest Jewish youth sports event. This year’s games began July 5 and continue until July 25. The three-week immersive experience included the JCC Maccabi Games as well as an Israel teen tour. This year marked the return of the games to Israel for the first time since 2011.

J Los Angeles sent a delegation of 50 teens to compete in the JCC Maccabi Games in Israel, while smaller delegations from the Valley Jewish Community Center and the Alpert Jewish Community Center of Long Beach also participated.

JCC Maccabi continues this summer, from Aug. 6-11, in Ft. Lauderdale, with 2,000 teens expected to come together at the JCC Maccabi Games and Access. J Los Angeles is sending 90 teens. 

American Jewish University’s Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies has named Rabbi Samuel Rosenbaum its incoming assistant dean. 

Rabbi Samuel Rosenbaum

This appointment, according to AJU, marks an exciting milestone for the Ziegler School, with Rosenbaum engaging broader audiences through a variety of local and national speaking opportunities. And with a dedicated assistant dean leading the way, the school expects its year-round recruitment efforts to be strengthened. 

“With Rabbi Rosenbaum on the team, we are positioned to remain a thriving center of Torah and rabbinic training, attracting dynamic and passionate future rabbis to our outstanding Ziegler community,” Ziegler School Dean and Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson said in a statement.

Rosenbaum previously co-founded The Well Atlanta, a vibrant monthly Kabbalat Shabbat service, and was a resident of Moishe House, where he curated and organized over 50 annual programs designed for young professionals.

At the Ziegler School, a seminary for the Conservative movement, he joins a staff that includes Associate Dean and Rabbi Cheryl Peretz.

“Rabbi Rosenbaum’s genuine passion for our school and community is truly inspiring,” Peretz said. “We are thrilled to welcome him to our staff and collaborate on enriching our admissions and recruitment efforts, while continuing to foster a caring and warm student community.”

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