Creating meaningful Jewish teen experiences through sports, arts and travel.
Our annual continental programs for teens provide Jewish connection and intensive, hands on experiences in areas where teens can grow and learn.
The JCC Maccabi Games®, a week-long Olympic-style sports competition, began in 1982. Each year, three communities host the Games, with one also hosting JCC Maccabi ArtsFest®, which was held for the first time in 2006. Attracting approximately 3,000 teens from around the globe, these events give your teens a chance to meet other Jewish youth while participating in sports they love, or in an intense immersion in their art. JCC Maccabi Israel® brings teens to Israel each summer to explore and experience their Jewish homeland in a pluralistic setting.
I loved the community atmosphere. The individual delegations were not merely competitors. We’re part of something bigger: community service, supporting one another and celebrating each other’s accomplishments. I’ve never been such an integral part of such a movement of coming together to celebrate art and athleticism!
Each program gives Jewish teens the chance to give something back to their communities through JCC Cares, a day dedicated to acts of tikkun olam, or repairing the world, in ways meant to give back to the communities they are visiting. ,
These week-long experiences provide teens – many, for the first time–to feel part of k’lal Israel, the greater Jewish people. JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest engages the entire Jewish community in a celebration of Jewish peoplehood with a love of Israel at its core.
We work in partnership with Maccabi World Union, Maccabi Canada and Maccabi USA to create a global experience that provides a springboard for local JCCs to create year-round engagement. JCC Maccabi becomes a conduit for cultivating lay leadership, supporting fundraising, building awareness of JCC programs and services, expanding membership and positioning the JCC as a leading agency in the community.
Responsible for the Talent Development and Program Portfolio of the organization, Sam works closely with Sue Gelsey, chief program officer, to lead and guide talent management and program initiatives across JCC Association.
Sam also leads JCC Maccabi®, a signature program of JCC Association. In this role, she provides strategic leadership, guidance, and support to the field’s JCC Maccabi® host communities and more than 70 delegations as they use sport and the arts to build strong Jewish community and Jewish identity across North America.
Prior to her work at JCC Association, which began in November 2018, Sam worked at the Merage JCC of Orange County, CA, where, among other roles, she directed the 2013 and 2018 JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest® and served as the agency’s associate executive director. She is well versed in program development, operations, leadership development, organizational management, community relations, and advocacy.
Originally from London, she received a bachelor’s degree in politics and international relations from the University of Manchester and a master’s degree in human rights from the London School of Economics. In addition to her first JCC Maccabi Games® experience as a teen tennis player representing Great Britain, Sam has served as a coach, delegation head, or games director at 18 different JCC Maccabi Games® and 10 International Maccabi Games® across four continents. Most recently, she was a medalist in the 35+ Masters tennis category at the 2019 Pan-American Maccabi Games® in Mexico City. Sam lives in New York City and is a proud member of the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, NY.Contact Samantha
Works with JCC Maccabi host community staff and lay leaders to put on the largest Jewish teen engagement program in the world. Manages the oversight of planning and continuity of the program across all hosts. Tracks best practices and helps host communities through the process from volunteer management to working with visiting delegations.Contact Jordan