In 1982, 300 young Jewish athletes gathered to compete in games organized by the JCC. Twenty-seven years later, the annual event, known as “The Macabbi Games,” brings together 4,000-5,000 athletes from around the world to compete in multiple sites in the country.
This week, the Maccabi Games will be hosted by the JCC of Mid-Westchester, the Rosenthal JCC of Northern Westchester, and the JCC on Hudson. The games are a monumental event for Westchester, because it will be the largest gathering of Jews in the area’s history. An estimated 1,800 athletes, ranging from ages 13 to 16, will be housed and compete in the Westchester area. In addition, 1000 volunteers and 700 host families will contribute their time and hospitality to the event.
Even more impressive than the sheer number of Jews gathering for such an historic event is the preparation that will make the event possible. Organizers placed the total cost to host the event at approximately $2 million. This money is to cover insurance costs, site rentals, busses, and food, among many other necessities.
Despite the difficulty to grasp such an astounding cost to host an Olympic-style event, director of development Lynn Greenberg stated that it is “miraculous” that the organizers were able to raise that amount of money in the “economic climate.” Contributing to the costs were more than 600 donors.
The games kicked off with an opening ceremony at Madison Square Garden Sunday. More than 12,000 people were expected to fill the arena.