Jews from across the tri-state area gathered in the first ever Maccabi National Table Tennis Tournament in Westfield on June 6. More than 50 participants competed and were graced by the presence of legendary two-time world champion and member of the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame Class of 1966 (not to mention Jewish), Sol Schiff.
Schiff, at 93, did not compete but was awarded a gold medal by organizers of the event. He is generally attributed with paving the way for Jews in the sport of table tennis.
The tournament featured five different brackets, of which the following people won:
“¢ Elite Singles Tahl Leibovitz of Ozone Park, N.Y.
“¢ Class A Singles Akiva Ackerman of West Hempstead, N.Y.
“¢ Class B Adult David Safar of Livingston
“¢ Class B Youth Theodore Kirsch of Freehold
“¢ Doubles Barry Dattel of Warren and Joel Roodyn of New York City
Each competitor was allotted several matches despite his or her results and players with the highest records progressed through the tournament.
“It is our goal that this will be an annual event. This was our first time which made it so exciting,” said program director Ami Monson.
Each competitor received Maccabi sports bags while winners received certificates as well as other Maccabi paraphernalia.