JCC Maccabi: Star Reporters Blog


Meet Our 2018 Maccabi Sports Journalists

Shalom! We are the Star Reporters for the 2018 JCC Maccabi Games. Throughout the Games, we will be updating this blog site with news on all your favorite Maccabi sports, athletes, activities and more. Check back daily to see the latest news on your favorite sporting spectacle of the summer!




Houston defeats LA for gold medal in baseball

August 9, 2018 - By Ari Wohl

In the gold medal game for Baseball 14U White, Houston got a close victory against Los Angeles, winning 3-2. It was a pitchers’ duel for the first three innings as neither team scored...

Close call from umpire causes East Bay coach to say “some things I probably regret”

August 7, 2018 - By Tyler Moss

In the early innings, the umpires had to deal with a lot of close calls with base runners being called out or safe. One instance, in particular, took place in the second inning, where a runner from O.C. was taking a big lead off of second base...




Miami wins bronze in an aggressive last game against Philadelphia

August 9, 2018 - By Sam Sperling

Hosted at the MSC basketball courts was the matchup between Miami and Philadelphia competing for the bronze medal. With 3 minutes left in the third quarter, the two teams had a combined four turnovers before the quarter ended. Philadelphia was up by 3, 18-15, at the end of the quarter...

New Jersey sisters Paige and Nikki Ratner share their experience playing basketball in their first Maccabi Games

August 8, 2018 - By Isabella Duzman, Ruth Seyoum & Romy Benracassa

On the third day of the Maccabi Games, two sisters, Paige and Nikki Ratner, from New Jersey could be found practicing after their basketball game. Even though New Jersey’s girls basketball team won two games and lost three, the two girls confidently practiced their basketball skills with their coach...




VIDEO: Interview with competitive ballet dance winner, Noam Shear, of Kfar Yona, Israel 

August 7, 2018 - By Tal Surkis & Ari Wohl 

Kfar Yona's Noam Shear talks about her 9-year dance journey that let up to her winning team ballet dance routine in her first ever Maccabi Games.


Flag Football

Even with win against Atlanta, O.C. flag football coach urges his players to take the game more seriously

August 8, 2018 - By Sam Sperling

In their first game of the playoffs Orange County played the young Atlanta team. While most of OC’s flag football team is packed with 15 and 16 year olds, Atlanta is filled with 12 and 13 year olds...

Dallas triumphs over Atlanta/Charlotte in flag football pool play

August 7, 2018 - By Isabella Duzman

Even though the first half of the competition was rough, the Atlanta/Charlotte team gave an abundant amount of effort overall against Dallas in their flag football game. The activity started off in Dallas’ favor as they quickly scored several touchdowns...



Southern California teams face off in lacrosse gold medal match

August 9, 2018 - By Ari Wohl

First seed Orange County and LA Westside played a hard fought lacrosse gold medal match that was forced to go into overtime. It was close the whole game. Even at half-time, it was an even 4-4...

Lacrosse final 4 gears up for the medal rounds

August 8, 2018 - By Ari Wohl

On Wednesday, Lacrosse’s first seed team, Orange County, played a mixed team consisting of many delegations, including St. Louis, Austin, Omaha, Kansas City and Louisville...



Orange County girls face off against Toronto in soccer final for fourth year in a row, claim gold

August 9, 2018 - By Yael Berg & Maya Arenson

The Orange County team faced off against Toronto for the fourth year in a row in the U16 girl’s soccer final. Starting the game off strong, the Orange County girls took off with high spirits and demonstrated their talents boldly...

After loss to LA Westside, Mexico girl's soccer vows to keep their spirits high

August 7, 2018 - By Lauren Kessel & Lia Backfien

This morning, there was a girl’s soccer match between Mexico and Los Angeles Westside at the University of California Irvine. This was the first year that Mexico had sent a girl’s soccer team to the United States to play in the Maccabi Games...




On day 2 of swimming, competitors disagree over difficulty of events

August 7, 2018 - By Isabella Duzman & Barri Seitz

When it came to which event is the hardest, the Central New Jersey swimmers disagreed with each other. Jay Slack and Maya Ben-Hor agreed that the 400 IM, where swimmers do a combination of a butterfly stroke, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle, is the most difficult...

VIDEO: Interview with swimmer Sydney Hnatuk

August 7, 2018 - By Ruth Seyoum

Swimmer Sydney Hnatuk talks about finding joy and community on the pool deck at the 2018 JCC Maccabi Games. 


Table Tennis

Arizona's Ioffe beats out Great Britain for gold in table tennis

August 8, 2018 - By Ari Wohl, David Gillman & Tal Surkis

In the Table Tennis final round for ages 13-14, Matthew Ioffe from Benson, Arizona, defeated Miles Isaacs of Great Britain to win the gold medal. It was a hard fought game, but ultimately, Ioffe came out on top...



VIDEO: Interviews with Maccabi's tennis stars

August 7, 2018 - By Tal Surkis & Ari Wohl 

Tennis players from Cleveland, Los Angeles Valley and Winnepeg share their experiences playing in the Games and their long personal histories with the sport.



Denver defeats mixed team in close fight to the finish in semifinal

August 9, 2018 - By Yael Berg & Maya Arenson

The mixed team of MIA, PA-PEN, EB and LASV competed against the U16 Denver, Colorado girl's volleyball team. During the first match, Denver remained in the lead, however, the mixed team did not give up hope...

Orange County girl's volleyball team is a smash hit in first day of competition

August 6, 2018 - By Barri Seitz, Izzy Duzman & Sam Sperling

Two girl’s volleyball teams, St. Louis, Missouri and Orange County, California, competed against one another for their first matches of Maccabi 2018. The first set was rough on the St. Louis team, with O.C. winning by 21 points...



Volunteers & Host Families

VIDEO: Host families share their experiences opening their homes to Maccabi athletes and artists

August 7, 2018 - By Ari Wohl, Max Miller, David Gillman, Tyler Moss & Tal Surkis

Host families from the Orange County delegation talk about their feelings toward the out-of-town delegates they are hosting and why it is important to them to open their homes to Jewish teenagers.

Host mom Nadine Dubery talks the joy of getting to know her host children

August 7, 2018 - By Yael Berg & Maya Arenson

While observing a basketball game at Momentous Sports Center, we met a nice lady named Nadine Dubery. She is a host mom and a volunteer. She is hosting six kids in her home: two athletes from Kfar Yona and four athletes from Toronto, as well as her son, who is also a basketball player representing Team Orange County...


JCC Cares

The story of local Holocaust survivor, Norbert Rosenblum

August 7, 2018 - By Ari Wohl & Tal Surkis

On August 6, we met Norbert Rosenblum who is currently 92 years old. Norbert was born in 1926 in France. Norbert’s father passed away when Norbert was nine years old...

Star Reporters document stories of local Holocaust survivors

August 6, 2018 - By Maya Arenson

One star reporter tells the story of her JCC Cares interview subject, Holocaust survivor Hanni Kaplan, who was born in Berlin, Germany on December 26, 1921...


Mixed Teams

Lack of practice causes early trouble for mixed teams

August 6, 2018 - By Lia Backfien & Lauren Kessel

In one of the first girl’s volleyball games of the 2018 JCC Maccabi Games, North Miami Beach took on a mixed team of girls from Austin, Texas, Albany, New York and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Throughout the first half of the game viewers observed that the girls from the mixed team were having more trouble working as a team and keeping up with the rising score of the North Miami Beach team... 


Star Reporter Staff

Ari Wohl

15, Orange County, CA

I am participating in my first Maccabi Games and joined the Star Reporter program because I want to pursue sports journalism as my career. I have attended a broadcasting camp at UCLA twice and have been learning about jounalism for about 5 years. I enjoy all sports, but my favorite is baseball. I also play trumpet, french horn and drums.


Ruth Seyoum

16, Winnipeg, Canada

My favorite sport is volleyball, and I love to write. I enjoy hanging out with my friends and shopping.


Tal Surkis

16, Kfar Yona, Israel

I love to act and perform in the theatre. My grandfather was a member of the Knesset. I am the head of Students and Youth Council in my city. In the future, I want to be a politician or a teacher.


Barri Seitz

13, Atlanta, GA

I am so excited to be able to work with everyone from O.C.! I love to write and cannot wait to write about the Games.


Tyler Moss

15, Orange County, CA

I love watching and playing sports, taking photos and spending time with my family.


Lauren Kessel

14, Orange County, CA

I love taking pictures of all the games and meeting people from all over the world. I also enjoy singing, dancing, cooking and shopping.


Sam Sperling

12, Orange County, CA

I am a journalist from O.C. I enjoy graphic art, football and baseball, aside from writing and photography.


Isabella Duzman

14, Orange County, CA

My hobbies are hanging out with friends, reading and playing tennis. One of my favorite things in the world is music. My favorite place is Universal Studios in Hollywood.


Lia Backfien

14, Kfar Yona, Israel

I'm going into 9th grade and my favorite sports are dance and baseball. I love makeup, photoshop, design and shopping. I'm very excited to meet kids from around the world.


David Gillman

12, Orange County, CA

I like to be in the Maccabi Games because it's fun. I enjoy having fun outside. I also like being with friends and playing golf.


Max Miller

12, Orange County, CA

My name is Max from Orange County California. I am 12 years old, and I like cars and mechanics.



Program Coordinator: Hannah Schoenbaum

Chaperone: Jaime Baum