Diario Judío México -

As the Olympic Games continue, thousands of Jewish teenagers will travel to Houston next week for a once-every-four-years sports competition of their own, the JCC Maccabi Games.

The Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center of Houston is holding the event Aug. 5-10, with a range of sports tournaments and an arts showcase. (Houston serves as one of three host cities for the games, along with Memphis and Rockland, New York.)

About 500 local Jewish families will host the 13-to-16-year-old athletes and artists, and 2,000 volunteers from the community will run the activities, which include tournaments for baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, tennis, table tennis, bowling and dance.

Although the games focus on relationship- and community-building among young Jews, it’s still the largest organized sports program for Jewish teens in the world. Competitors in the Houston area have been trying out and auditioning to participate since December, and the games finally begin next week.

The competition aligns with the Olympics and boasts a several famous Jewish participants who went on to be world-class athletes: Mark Spitz (swimming), Mitch Gaylord (gymnastics), Ernie Grunfeld and Danny Schayes (basketball), Brad Gilbert and Dick Savitt (tennis). Perhaps the next big Jewish sports star will be playing on Houston turf next week!


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