In July, in celebration of Israel’s 75th anniversary, the JCC Association of North America and Maccabi World Union brought athletes from around the world together in Israel at the world’s largest Jewish youth sporting event. More than one thousand Jewish teens from 10 countries joined in the Maccabi Games, including one lone teen from Nashville, our very own Asher Freiberg!
Asher was part of the “J Team” for soccer, which was made up of athletes from states that did not have their own delegation. He didn’t know anyone on his team, but met people from all over the US, Hungary, Germany, and many other countries. “I was a bit scared and nervous, but also excited to meet new people, see Israel, and represent Nashville,” he says.
After playing hard in several games, Asher set off on two weeks of travel throughout Israel. The trip was described in a press release about the games as, “A dynamic journey designed to strengthen their commitment to Jewish peoplehood and build meaningful connections with Israel’s land, people, history, and cultures.”
This year marked the return of the Games to Israel since the games began in 2011 and represented one of the largest and most diverse teen groups that visited Israel this summer.
“The JCC Maccabi Games are perhaps the most extraordinary Jewish peoplehood initiative of our time. Drawing teens from JCC communities across North America, Israel, and around the globe, the Games bring us together through competition, service, and a profound encounter with the wider Jewish world,” says Doron Krakow, president and CEO, JCC Association. “To be returning to Israel as part of the ongoing celebration of the country’s 75th anniversary year and the enduring fulfillment of the dream of the modern Zionist movement is a source of enormous pride for all of us.”
“It was great to meet people from all over the US and the world and share the special connection that we are all Jewish, and also all interested in sports. It made me feel closer and more connected to being Jewish,
” Asher says. “My favorite part was playing soccer in the Games and also visiting Jerusalem. The Dead Sea Scrolls were cool, and I also loved the food, especially shwarma.”
Mazel tov to Asher on his experience in Israel!
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