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  Bottom Row Left to Right: Gabe Shulefand, Ethan Neu, David Safir (Basketball Coach) Jacob Adelman, Isabella Rubin, Emma Wexler Middle Row Left to Right: Noah Levine, Gilad Symons, Sam Zarkowsky, Zak Goodman, Finley Weinstein, Joshua Schecter Top Row Left to Right: Julie Kingsley (JCC Staff) John Gorgusy, Nikita Andriyets, Ben Chukhanenko, Inna Goldfarb (Swim Coach), Patty Simonson (Buffalo Delegation Head), Randy Simonson (Golf Coach)

2017 Buffalo Maccabi Team brings home Gold, Silver and Bronze

By Patty Simonson, Buffalo Delegation Head 

The JCC Maccabi Games® are an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer in North America and is the second largest organized sports program for Jewish teenagers in the world. The first North American JCC Maccabi Games® were held in 1982 with 300 athletes. Due to overwhelming interest, Regional Games were added in 1985 to augment the even-year Continental Games. 1997 marked the first time that the Games were held simultaneously in six American cities with 4,400 participating athletes. Since their inception in 1982, the Games have grown from a small pilot project in one host community to an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer in multiple sites throughout North America.

Today, over 6,000 teens, ranging from 13 to 16 years of age, participate in the JCC Maccabi Games® each summer. The Games are co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, Maccabi World Union, Maccabi Canada, and Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel.

I have been the delegation head since 1996 when Buffalo first participated in the games. I saw this as an opportunity to engage our Jewish teens into an invaluable program which combined athletic competition with Jewish values while fostering the Jewish identity in an informal setting. Teens had the chance to meet other Jewish teens from across the United States, Canada and international countries. I had made the commitment then to help foster the Buffalo program and took ownership to insure that we participated whenever we could.

Over the years I have worked with many incredible coaches, met wonderful families and athletes and have taken part in Maccabi Games throughout the country. I hope to be able to continue this tradition for many more years to come. I have always said how proud I was of our teams; the spirit of competition, their heart and desire to represent their community in the Games. Host communities love to house our kids because they know they are kind, polite and appreciate everything these families do for them. Each year I take a team I say that I could not be more proud of them…it holds true every year.

This year the Buffalo delegation competed in Albany, New York August 6 to 11 and was comprised of 14 athletes representing three (3) sports. The teams included:

Basketball – David Safir, Coach

  • Jacob Adelman
  • Zak Goodman
  • Noah Levine
  • Ethan Neu
  • Joshua Schechter
  • Gilad Symons
  • Finley Weinstein
  • Sam Zarkowsky

Golf – Randy Simonson, Coach and Maccabi Official

  • Gabe Schulefand

Swimming – Inna Goldfarb, Head Coach, Julie Kingsley, JCC Staff

  • Isabella Rubin
  • Ben Chukhanenko
  • John Gorgush
  • Emma Wexler
  • Nikita Andriyets

Buffalo Maccabi Official Results – 12 medals

I am proud to say that Buffalo came home with 2 gold, 2 silver and 8 bronze medals. The results are listed below:

Golf
Gold Medal Winner – Gabe Schulefand, Low gross (172 two rounds)
Gold Medal Winner – Gabe Schulefand, Low gross two-man event (27 hole scramble 113) 

Swimming
Bronze Medal Winner - 100 Yard Butterfly  - Boys 12 – 14 - Veniamin Chukhanenko 1:06:66
Bronze Medal Winner – 50 Yard Breaststroke – Girls 12-14 – Isabella Rubin 42:16
Silver Medal Winner – 50 Yard Breaststroke – Girls 15-16 – Emma Wexler 38:82
Bronze Medal Winner – 100 Yard Breaststroke – Girls 15-16 – Emma Wexler 1:26:30
Bronze Medal Winner – 200 Yard Breaststroke – Girls 12-14 – Isabella Rubin 3:14:66
Bronze Medal Winner – 200 Yard Breaststroke – Girls 15-16 – Emma Wexler 3:06:14
Bronze Medal Winner – 50 Yard Freestyle – Boys 12-14 – John Gorgush 26:15
Silver Medal Winner – 50 Yard Freestyle – Boys 15-16 – Nikita Andriyets 24:63
Bronze Medal Winner – 200 Yard Freestyle – Boys 12-14 – John Gorgush 2:07:25
Bronze medal Winner – 500 Yard Freestyle – Boys 12-14 – John Gorgush 5:58:84

I personally want to thank Rob Goldberg and the Jewish Federation and Michael Berger, and the Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation for their generous support of the Buffalo Maccabi team. It is the generosity of individuals and organizations such as these that enable us to participate in these opportunities.

Next year the Games will be held in Orange County, California. There will be limited spots for our teens to participate. We are looking for Jewish teens ages 13 to 16 (must be 13 before 8/1 and cannot be 17 before 8/1) to participate on our 16 and under boys basketball team, and boys and girls to participate in golf and swimming. The cost per athlete will be $3000. Interested individuals should contact Patty Simonson, Buffalo Delegation Head at pattysimonson@jccbuffalo.org or (716) 204-2073 by September 18.


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