Former JCC Maccabi Games director first JCC professional honored by International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
Lenny Silberman, former JCC Maccabi Games® director for JCC Association of North America was honored by the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame (IJSHOF) on July 4 as part of the 20th Maccabiah celebration in Israel. The ceremony, which included 11 other men and woman so honored, was held at the Wingate Institute.
Silberman received the “Chairman’s Award of Excellence” from the organization, also known as Yad Le’ish Hasport Hayehudi. He is the first JCC professional to receive such an honor from the organization. This award for excellence was in recognition for his “dedicated service to integrate sports and summer camp and Judaism as part of worldwide efforts on behalf the youth of today.”
Dan Bernstein, president and CEO of the Merage JCC, spoke about Silberman in a short speech at the dinner with Vicki Roitman of the Interim CEO of the Mandel JCC of the Palm Beaches acted as MC.
Silberman says the experience was “overwhelming, emotional and memoriable.” He expressed his appreciation from his time at the Pittsburgh JCC , Emma Kaufmann Camp, and JCC Association, including “past supervisors, colleagues, board members, general staff, administrative staff, campers, athletes, coaches, counselors, friends and family.
“Back in the day when I was coaching, especially when we were at away games or tournaments I would always tell my team, ‘today you’re not only representing yourself, but your family’s, the JCC and the greater Pittsburgh Jewish Community. Play like a champion, be respectful and understand that this is more than just a game.’
I’m not really sure the players always understood it then, but I know they understand it now. I also don’t think I fully understood what I was saying back in the day but I surely understand it better today.
When I accepted the award I not only accepted it for myself but for everybody mentioned above especially those from Pittsburgh, New York and Israel.”
The purpose of the IJSHOF is to honor Jewish men and women, worldwide, who have accomplished extraordinary achievements in sports and to honor those who have made significant contributions to society through sports.
Silberman has spent his professional life working to integrate sports, summer camp and Judaism. Read all about his many outstanding accomplishments on behalf of the JCC Movement.