A new report from the Jim Joseph Foundation on engaging Jewish teens includes the JCC Maccabi Games and JCC Maccabi ArtsFest among 21 programs particularly successful in connecting teens to each other and to the Jewish community. JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest are included with only seven other Jewish programs for teens and two for young adults. Eleven secular and other faith-based programs were part of the larger group.
“We are thrilled to be included in this group of outstanding programs for Jewish teens,” said Dan Deutsch, director of JCC Maccabi Experience. “The Games have been part of the JCC Movement since 1982, and they get better every year.”
The report, titled Effective Strategies for Engaging and Educating Jewish Teens, highlighted the Games’ and ArtsFest’s ability to bring together teens from different communities in the U.S. and Canada, as well as Israel and other countries. Such diversity appeals to teens and gives them the chance to experience k’lal Israel. Also, the report cited that teens related well to young-adult staff, often in their early twenties, which describes many delegation heads.
The strong brand that JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest enjoy helps to “convey a sense that participants are part of something larger than themselves,” the report noted. The National Jewish Population Survey estimates that in the United States there are approximately 540,000 Jewish teens ages 13–18. Participants at the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest average about four thousand each summer.