Team OC Gears Up for the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest

Published Monday, December 11, 2017


This summer Orange County welcomes back the spectacular JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest, the largest Jewish youth event in the world featuring an Olympic-style sports competition and a multidisciplinary arts festival for several thousand local and international teens, 800 host families, 1,500 volunteers, and over 15,000 spectators from Jewish communities across the globe. From August 5-10, 2018 the Merage Jewish Community Center is thrilled to host the 36th annual set of Games, having been honored to host three times before - in 2007, 2009 and 2013. This year Orange County’s delegation Team OC will include 320 of our own local Jewish teen athletes and artists who will proudly represent our community throughout the Games.

Team OC will be the largest delegation at the JCC Maccabi Games, made up of our best and brightest 12 to 17-year-old artists and 12 to 16-year-old athletes of all skill levels, in addition to our 17-year-old coaches in training (CITs) who will be mentored by our experienced coaches and artists. Surrounded by the enthusiastic cheers of their many teammates, family, friends and spectators, our teens will engage in some of the most exciting competition they’ve ever had, in a range of team and individual sports, and a variety of artistic disciplines. From basketball to soccer, swimming to track, culinary arts to dancing, and everything in between, both boys and girls will have an opportunity to do what they love and do best through an experience past participants have often referred to as the best time of their lives.

Sophie Sable has been on Team OC for the past four years and had this to say about the Games:
“I’ve never had more fun than at the JCC Maccabi Games. It is absolutely the best thing ever. I made so many friends at my first Games, and we’re still all best friends today.”

Relationships born from the Games are meaningful and lasting, a sentiment reaffirmed by Team OC co-Delegation Head Geoff Rothbard. "Being part of Team OC gives you an inside track to a built-in network of peers – many of whom either actually live very close to you, but you never knew before the games, or those who you meet that live halfway across the world, like in Great Britain or Israel. These friends become a special part of your life.”

Competition is the core of the Games, and Team OC welcomes talented athletes and artists of all abilities. Upcoming team sport tryouts will be held on January 7 and January 14. There are no tryouts for individual sports. Artists will audition or provide a portfolio or video showcasing their specialty. More information on tryouts and a complete list of sports and artistic disciplines can be found here:

“The JCC Maccabi Games is not just a sports competition or an arts festival; it is exponentially more. It is the largest international gathering of Jewish teens for one of the most exciting weeks of competition, culture, and friendship they will ever have. It is most special for our teens that Orange County is hosting the Games this year, and we look forward to giving every athlete and artist on Team OC the experience of a lifetime. We encourage every Orange County Jewish teen between the ages of 12 to 17 to join the best Team OC we’ve ever had.”


For more information on being part of Team OC 2018, visit