“Maccabi Moments” Reflect Power Of Bham’s LJCC

    Photo is of the Birmingham JCC Maccabi Games volleyball team made up of participants from Birmingham and Birmingham’s Ukranian Sister City Vinnitsa.  
    “Maccabi Moments” Reflect Power Of Bham’s LJCC
    By Richard Friedman,
    BJF Executive Director 

    As nearly 900 Jewish teens along with coaches and other guests have descended on Birmingham this week for the JCC Maccabi Games, three words have been running through my mind: Versatility, Power & Jewish.

    The JCC Maccabi Games attest to the versatility of the JCC movement, and the unique ability of Jewish Community Centers, including our own, to bring Jewish teens together to connect with one another. Simply put, JCCs are a cornerstone of Jewish continuity and you can’t have a great Jewish community without a great JCC.

    It is that last idea that leads into the power of JCCs. Friday afternoon as delegations from across the country and across the ocean began arriving at the Levite Jewish Community Center for check-in, orientation and pick up by families, you could feel the power of the JCC movement.

    Though many of these young athletes were fatigued from long flights, you could see them light up as they stepped off the bus that brought them from the airport and as they walked into our large and impressive LJCC for the first time. They knew they were home.
    Jewish. What a unique institution we have in the Levite Jewish Community Center. It’s a beacon of diversity at a time when our country is being ripped apart by divisiveness, yet simultaneously it’s the central gathering place for our Jewish community. That has been amazingly clear this week.
    Our LJCC is used daily by hundreds of Jews, and it’s an agency that by its sheer presence and visibility has been a stronghold of Jewish life in Birmingham for more than 100 years.
    Birmingham’s Maccabi Games have come about through the vision of LJCC Executive Director Betzy Lynch, Co-Chairs Layne Held and Bruce Sokol, and the generosity and work of countless others. They all should be commended for their remarkable efforts. And you can see the impact that Birmingham is already having on our teen athletes as they talked about Birmingham’s friendliness and beauty.
    They also are bonding among themselves. Just ask anyone who saw them at a massive pool party Tuesday night at the LJCC pool as they let down their hair — figuratively and literally!
    “Maccabi Moments” will abound this week as this unique athletic-social action-Jewish identity
    extravaganza unfolds. Please send us your favorite Maccabi Moment to Update@bjf.org so that we can share it with our readers.  Never has our community been more versatile, powerful and Jewish than this week.
    Thank you, LJCC!

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