The United States is sending boys and girls born from 2002 to 2004 to compete in basketball, futsal, soccer, baseball, softball, rugby 7s and volleyball. There will be six days of competition followed by three days of touring based in Jerusalem.
In addition to the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel and South Africa are sending athletes to the games, which will be held in and around Haifa.
Two Atlanta-based coaches are traveling with Team USA to Israel: girls softball coach Bryan Lewis and boys basketball coach Jeffrey Marcus.
The Maccabi Youth Games are different from the JCC Maccabi Games, a competition held at different locations in the United States each summer for Jewish youths ages 13 to 16 on teams representing cities. Atlanta is a host for the 2019 JCC Maccabi Games.
The Maccabiah, the Jewish world games held every four years in Israel, includes a junior division for ages 15 to 18, but the Maccabi Youth Games are for ages 14 to 16 only.
The Maccabi Youth Games are expected to draw around 1,200 participants.
“Maccabi USA is at the forefront of keeping Jewish pride on the map,” said Marc Backal, the general chairman of the 2018 Maccabi Youth Games USA organizing committee. “Not only in sports, but through a very successful combination of experiences that revolve around sports. The magic of Maccabi is the perfect mix of experiences that successfully strengthens the Jewish heart and mind for the lifetimes of those involved.”
Interested athletes can apply at maccabiusa.com/2018-international-maccabi-youth-games. The cost to participate is $4,600, which includes flights between Israel and the New York metro area.