St. Louis to host JCC Maccabi Games in 2016

Members of the St. Louis delegation pose for a photo during this year’s Maccabi Games. (Photos courtesy: JCC)

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

St. Louis will be one of three cities to host the JCC Maccabi Games in 2016, the Jewish Light has learned.

“I am thrilled that we will be bringing the JCC Maccabi Games back to St. Louis,” said Lynn Wittels, president and CEO of the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis, noting that St. Louis hosted three times in the past –2003, 1996 and 1993.

“Each of those years we had an outstanding experience,” said Wittels. “We wanted to host again for lots of reasons. First and foremost, it’s all about the kids. This is a great experience for Jewish teens that will last them a lifetime. We have so many examples of how these kids have stayed connected and build lifelong friendships because of the JCC Maccabi Games. 

“The games also will make a significant economic impact on the St. Louis region – that’s the icing on the cake. But I think about the new leaders we can develop from this and the young adults we can engage who may have participated as a teen and now want to be a volunteer. It’s very exciting.”

The JCC Maccabi Games are an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer in North America. Today, more than 6,000 teens, ranging from 13 to 16 years of age, compete in individual sports such as bowling, tennis, track, dance, golf and swimming as well as team sports like basketball, flag football, soccer, lacrosse, softball, volleyball and baseball. 

In addition to St. Louis, Columbus, Ohio and Stanford, Conn. will serve as host cities in 2016. The games in St. Louis will take place July 31 through Aug. 5, 2016.

Wittels said she expected between 1,200 and 1,300 teenagers to compete in St. Louis. She also said that most of the competitions would take place away from the JCC facility so that members would not be impacted. “We will start immediately to identify venues for the various competitions,” Wittels said.