Safety a major focus in planning for Maccabi Games in St. Louis

Lynn Wittels

By Eric Berger, Staff Writer

Organizers of the JCC Maccabi Games in St. Louis are excitedly preparing to stage a weeklong event featuring 1,200 athletes, 250 delegation heads and coaches, 2,500 volunteers and an untold number of spectators. That planning also includes ensuring all is safe and readying responses to potential emergencies during the games, which run from July 31 to Aug 5, says Lynn Wittels, president and CEO of the J. 

The games feature Jewish athletes ages 12 to 16 from around the United States — as well as Israel and a few other countries — competing in a variety of sports. Organizers hope to have 5,000 people at the opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. July 31 at the Chaifetz Arena on the St. Louis University campus.

Anyone wishing to attend Maccabi events must register for credentials in advance of the games at Those credentials must be worn at all times in Maccabi areas. 

“We are very excited to show off St. Louis and welcome so many teen athletes, coaches, delegation heads and families to our region,” said Wittels, who co-chaired the games the last time St. Louis hosted in 2003. 

Wittels said the organization has been working with law enforcement on multiple levels to prepare for the games. 


“We have invested a lot of time and resources planning for a very fun, safe and secure games,” said Wittels. “There will be security both visible” and not visible. 

Other things to consider (information from 

• In addition to the standard photo ID or key chain requirement to enter both J locations, security may ask members to show identification in the parking lots and may search bags at the Fox Building in Chesterfield and at the Staenberg Family Complex in Creve Coeur. 

• The J’s Arts & Education Building in Creve Coeur will be closed to the public on Sunday, July 31. The indoor pool and whirlpool at the Fox will be closed Aug. 1 – 4 from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (That means it will be open to members from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. and from 1 to 9 p.m.). “Fox only” members will be permitted to use the Staenberg pool when it is closed at the Fox location.

• The outdoor pool at the Fox will be open from Aug. 1–4 from 1 to 8 p.m.

• Parking will be limited at the Staenberg complex Aug. 2-3. The small parking lot near the Fitness & Wellness Building and the Early Childhood playground will be closed those days. 

• Parking will be limited or unavailable at the Arts & Education Building Sunday, July 31; Thursday, Aug. 4 and Friday, Aug. 5. The Staenberg Family Complex will close at 3 p.m. on Aug. 4. The Early Childhood Center and the Adult Day Center at the J will stay open until 5 p.m. 

• J Day Camp families will receive separate instructions related to building access and carpool. 

For more information visit or call 314-442-3420 or email [email protected]