More than 800 local host families are needed to house the 1,800 Jewish teen athletes and artists from across the Global who are coming to Orange County to participate in the 2018 JCC Maccabi Games. The host family experience is a unique and rewarding aspect for the participant, family, and community alike. Lasting memories and relationships born from the host family experience are an integral part of the JCC Maccabi experience.

The host family offers the athlete a “home away from home” – the best way to experience the JCC Maccabi Games, Orange County, and the uniqueness our community offers. In turn, host families experience the Games on a personal level by connecting with their friends and neighbors and building a bond with their visiting participants that extends well beyond Closing Ceremony.


Host Family Responsibilities

  • Host families house 2 or more visiting athletes
  • Each host family will drop-off and pick-up athletes at the Merage JCC or a local venue each morning from Monday, Aug. 5 to Thursday, Aug. 9 and at the end of the day (approx. 9 p.m.)
  • Each athlete must have a seat belt, their own bed (air mattresses are accepted), and access to laundry facilities.
  • Host families provide breakfast, evening snacks and 2 dinners (Sunday before Opening Ceremony and on Host Family Night).
  • Each host family will spend one fun evening with their visiting teens showing off our wonderful community on Host Family Night.
  • Each host family will attend a host family orientation session between May and July 2018.


Think you can't be a Maccabi host? We're here to dispel some recurring hosting myths:

  • “I work full time and won’t have time to drive the teens around during the day.” No problem. Drop your athletes off as early as 7 a.m. and pick them up after the evening events around 9:00 p.m. They will be busy all day.

  • “I don’t have any kids at home.” Teens will be with other teens all week. They just need a warm and welcoming place to call home for the week. Many of our hosts in 2013 were grandparents and empty-nesters. They and their visiting teens had amazing experiences.

  • “I have small children at home.” Your small children will love getting to know these out-of-town teens while they are with you.

  • “I can’t be a tour guide.” The only time that you have to entertain is Sunday afternoon – when the teens arrive and Wednesday evening – Host Family Night. This is a great time to get together with other Host Families to plan a fun evening or spend time as a family showing them something you love about Orange County.

  • “I don’t have an extra bedroom.” Many families open up beds by bunking their children together in one room for the week or by using air mattresses (which we will provide).

Hear what our 2013 Host Families had to say:


As the mom of three boys, I hosted 3 Maccabi boys who became part of our family for the week. It was a great experience! I have kept in touch with them, and today I am a proud JCC Maccabi Mom as I hear of their college acceptances and their next steps! -- Rebecca Gilman

Our family was fortunate to have the opportunity to host 4 basketball players from Kansas City. Our children were too young and not participating in the actual games but we were active participants throughout the events, by going to the ceremonies, games etc. More importantly, a unique relationship was fostered between our boys and the Kansas City boys, with whom we are still in touch! Maccabi was truly an exceptional experience for us and we look forward to taking a more active role in 2018. -- Seppi Varon

It was such a fun and rewarding experience! Even though our own kids are no longer at home, we hosted six girls for the JCC Maccabi Games in both 2007 and 2013. The laughs, stories, and friendships that we all shared are memories we will treasure forever. We are looking forward to the games and hosting once again!
-- Marlene and Dave Beach


Host FAQ

Q: May I make requests for gender, age, or sports for teens staying with my family?

A: You can request gender, age, and sports. We do our best to honor requests but cannot guarantee.

Q: Do I need to be a member of the Merage JCC to be a host family?

A: No. All Jewish families are welcome to host.

Q: I do not have a teen participating in the JCC Maccabi Games®, can I still host?

A: Yes. All Jewish families are welcome to host visiting teens.

Q: How many athletes can I house?

A: Host families will house a minimum of two athletes. Each teen requires their own bed (air mattresses are acceptable) and seat belt in your car.

Q: Do I need to be Jewish to be a Host family?

A: All teens must be housed in a Jewish home.

Q: Do I have to have a Kosher home to host athletes?

A: No, a Kosher home is not required and you will be matched with teens with appropriate dietary needs for your home.

Q: May I go to the athletic events?

A: Yes! We encourage you to be an enthusiastic spectator at any and all athletic events and the Arts Showcase. You must wear your JCC Maccabi Games® credential at all times for access to any venues.

Q: What meals do we need to provide?

A: You will need to provide dinner on Sunday before Opening Ceremonies and on Host Family Night as well as breakfast Monday through Friday. We also suggested that you keep plenty of snacks around the house as teenagers will want to eat constantly!

Q: Should I pack snacks?

A: Snacks and drinks will be provided at all venues for the teens. However, feel free to stock up on your visiting athlete’s favorite snacks for them to enjoy in the evening.

Q: May I carpool with another host family?

A: All drivers transporting athletes MUST be 21 or over. You may carpool for morning drop-off as long as your car contains seat belts for each passenger.

Q: Do I need to give money to the teens I’m hosting?

A: No. They should have brought enough to cover all incidentals. If not, please have them speak with their Delegation head.

Q: What if the teens want to get together after the evening social activities?

A: This is up to you and they need the permission of their delegation head. It is acceptable to say no. The teens have agreed, in writing, to adhere to a Code of Conduct. Violations of the Code will be cause for expulsion from the Games. Please contact your athlete’s Delegation Head or the Housing Committee if you have any problems.

Q: If I am hosting teens from more than one delegation, do I need to come twice on Sunday for pick-up?

A: Yes, we are sorry for this inconvenience. This will be kept to a minimum. The majority of host families only host teens from one delegation.

Q: Can host families and their children attend the evening activities?

A: Host families are welcome to and should plan to attend Opening Ceremonies on Sunday evening. All other evening social events are open only to participating teens and adults 21+ who are signed up for a specific volunteer role.

Q: After the teens are done for the day, can I pick them up and take them to a movie or go shopping?

A: No. The teens are required to remain at the Games throughout the entire day and at evening activities. Most athletes will be competing twice a day and are encouraged to use the transportation system to watch other competitions. The artists are in workshops all day as well. Otherwise, they are free to hang out with other Jewish teens at Hang Time. Pick up on Host Family night will be after their last game for the day and no later than 5.30pm. This is a good day to plan a fun activity and dinner with your teens.

Q: Can I pick up the teens to come back to the house DURING the day?

A: No. The athletes and artists should remain at the venues or at a hub. There will be Hang Time activities, swimming, and lots of activities for them during any down time.

Q: What if athletes are eliminated from the competition before Thursday? Can they stay home?

A: No. Athletes must participate in the Games whether or not they are competing. There will be planned activities for athletes as well as the opportunity to watch other competitions.

Q: What do we do in the event of inclement weather?

A: Most events will occur – rain or shine. The outdoor events may be affected by bad weather. Host families should bring the athletes to the Hub regardless of weather. We can then transfer them easily to an alternate rain site, or if the weather changes continue as scheduled. We will be communicating throughout the week via text messages to athletes, coaches and host families of any major changes to the schedule. Evening events are planned, rain or shine. Please call the JCC Maccabi Games® Hotline, if you have any questions regarding the weather.

Q: What if a teen gets sick? Can they stay home?

A: If a teen is sick, please call their Delegation Head to notify him/her immediately. We encourage you to bring the sick teens to the JCC Maccabi Games® Medical Center to be checked out by our medical staff and/or to rest there. If you and the Delegation Head feel that the teen would be best suited to stay in your home with you, it will be permissible provided the Delegation Head first approves it and it is convenient to you.

Q: I have more questions. How do I get the answers?

A: For additional information, please contact the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest Office at (949) 435-3400, ext. 329 or email


 For additional information about the OC 2018 JCC Maccabi Games, please contact the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest Office at (949) 435-3400, ext. 329 or