Maccabi Frequently Asked Questions


What are the JCC Maccabi Games®?

The JCC Maccabi Games are an international athletic competition for Jewish teenagers run much like the Olympics. Athletes have the opportunity to compete against Jewish teens from all over the United States as well as delegations from Israel, Great Britain, Mexico, Canada, and more! The games are played with a focus on “rachmanus” or sportsmanship with the intent to foster long-lasting memories and identification with Judaism and Israel. The Games also promote community involvement, teamwork, and pride in being Jewish. The Games are the largest Jewish teen event in the world; each summer over 6,000 Jewish teens participate. Over 100,000 teens have benefited from the JCC Maccabi Games since 1982. It is a huge honor to host the JCC Maccabi Games and Orange County has hosted in 2007, 2009, 2013, and 2018 with great success.  Team Orange County is highly respected at the games and has a positive reputation for both sportsmanship and athleticism.  In 2018, 331 teens represented Team Orange County in the JCC Maccabi Experience.  

At this Jewish Olympic-style event, each athlete participates in one of fourteen sports, social events, and an opportunity to give back to the community during this week-long experience, creating memories that will last a lifetime.  

Check out this video for a recap of 2019 JCC Maccabi:

Where are the Games this year? What sports are offered?

In order to provide as many Orange County teens as possible with the JCC Maccabi experience, we are traveling to both Atlanta and Detroit, as they are offering different sports during different weeks.

San Diego July 31 - Aug 7

Team sports: 14U Baseball, 16U Baseball, Boys 14U Basketball, Boys 16U Basketball, Girls 16U Basketball, 16U Flag Football, 16U Ice Hockey, Boys 14U Soccer, Boys 16U Soccer, Girls 16U Soccer,  16U Ultimate Frisbee, 16U Volleyball

Individual sports:   Bowling, Dance, E-Sports, Golf, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Track & Field,

ArtsFest: Acting/Improv, Culinary Arts, Dance, Film, Musical Theatre, Rock Band, Star Reporter, Visual Arts, Vocal Music


Pace University Aug 7 - 14

Team sports: 14U Baseball, 16U Baseball, 16U Ice Hockey, Boys 14U Soccer, Boys 16U Soccer, Girls 16U Soccer, 16U Volleyball

Individual sports:  Chess, Dance

What is the athletic competition like? 
The competitive level of the participants will vary. There are teens that are very athletic and then those that are there for the experience. Some of the sports will have different divisions based on skill levels. Throughout the week, players can expect to play around four games/matches before tournament play begins on Wednesday. Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded to the top three winners. Although it is competitive the JCC Maccabi Games emphasize the Rachmanus Rule, which is you do not show up your opponent.
What is a mixed team? 
 A mixed team is comprised of athletes from multiple delegations.  This is fairly common and happens when a delegation does not have enough athletes to field a full team.  Mixed team athletes still practice and identify as Team Orange County, but have the opportunity to be on a team with athletes from various cities and countries.  Being on a mixed team can be a great experience and foster lasting friendships with Jewish teens around the world!



What is JCC Maccabi ArtsFest?
JCC Maccabi ArtsFest is designed to inspire Jewish teens through a dynamic combination of workshop, performance, exhibition, community service, social activities, and fun.  The experience is designed to develop their individuality through the medium of artistic expression while strengthening their bonds to their Jewish heritage, community, and Israel. ArtsFest teens participate in all non-competition activities with the athletes such as evening activities, opening ceremonies, and closing ceremonies. 
Where is ArtsFest this year? What specialties are offered?

This year, ArtsFest is being held in San Diego, CA in collaboration with the Games. 

Art specialties offered include Acting/Improv, Culinary Arts, Dance, Film, Musical Theater, Rock Band, Star Reporter, Visual Arts, and Vocal Music.

Are there tryouts for ArtsFest?
ArtsFest is not a competition.  However, teens may be required to submit an audition video according to tryout curriculum provided by the artists in residence (AIR).  A proficient level of experience is required.  Throughout the week, teens will work together with their AIR and teens in their specialty to create art for the collaborative final performance and gallery.   If interested, apply online at



Who is eligible for Team OC at the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest?
Jewish teens between the ages of 13-17 are welcome to be a part of Team Orange County.  Please see Games and ArtsFest questions for specific age limits for athletes and artists.  All athletes/artists must be Jewish, which is defined as follows:  One of the athlete’s/artist’s parents is Jewish and the athlete/artists are being raised Jewish, or is a Jew by choice and is being raised Jewish.  In the spirit of Maccabi, if the parent or child does not believe that they are Jewish on a year-round basis, then the athlete/artist should not participate in the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest.  In the athlete/artists online registration, there is a declaration that contains the aforementioned eligibility requirements; both the athlete/artist and his/her parent(s) must sign this declaration.
Who is eligible to compete in the JCC Maccabi Games?
Jewish teens between the ages of 13-16 are welcome to join Team Orange County at the JCC Maccabi Games. To participate in the Games, athletes must be aged 13 to 16 years old as of July 31, 2020
Can 12-year olds participate in all sports?
There is very limited space for 12 year olds. Please reach out to delegation head at  
What are the options for 17 year-olds? 
All 17-year-olds are eligible for ArtsFest.  Please see ArtsFest questions for more information.
Who is eligible for JCC Maccabi ArtsFest? Can I do both ArtsFest and the Games?
ArtsFest is open to Jewish teens between the ages of 13-17, as of July 31, 2020.  Artists must identify as Jewish.  Teens can only participate in one experience a week.



Is Maccabi just a one-week commitment?
Being part of the JCC Maccabi team gives teens something to be involved in throughout the year. This includes tryouts, practices, team events, community service opportunities, and more. Yearlong activities are designed to enhance the teen’s JCC Maccabi experience, and it is highly recommended that teens attend everything that they are available for, however you may remain on the team regardless of how much you participate throughout the year. Participation in the full week of the games is mandatory. 
What is Pre-Weekend?

Pre-weekend is a Team OC tradition and weekend of team bonding and activities before the actual Games/Artsfest.  Team OC started this tradition many years ago and other Delegations have followed suit.  Instead of arriving the Sunday morning of Maccabi, Team OC starts the experience Friday night with a Shabbat program and spends the rest of the weekend bonding and fun activities specific to the city.  Some examples in the past have included water parks, yacht parties, etc. The entire pre-weekend experience including hotel accommodations is included in the total cost of Team OC. 

What is the fee for the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest?
Our all-inclusive fee per teen is $2,350 (Members) and $2,550 (Public) per teen. However, you can lock in the early bird discount rate and take an additional $100 off by registering before January 1, 2020. Registration includes submitting the completed registration and payment authorization form, personal contact info, $500 non-refundable deposit paid, and agreement to the non-refundable balance to be charged on April 1, 2020. Additional registration steps are required at later dates.  Please see registration form or contact your delegation head for details. 
What does the fee include?
JCC Maccabi is an all-inclusive experience. Program fees include Games and ArtsFest registration fees, travel/transportation, uniform, Team OC gear,  Pre-Games Shabbat program and accommodations, adult supervision and coaches, practices, meals, social events/team activities, and all other accommodations throughout the week.  Teens do not need to bring any spending money. 
Are there scholarships available?

Limited scholarships through the JCC are available for families in need of financial assistance. All funding is need-based and you can apply through a confidential process.

To apply please email Marcia Clark at the JCC – to request an application form.


Community Service

How does community service play a role in JCC Maccabi?
Community Service is a key component to the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest experience. Each set of Games includes a JCC Cares project where athletes and artists set aside competition and workshops for a morning and work to improve the local community, through activities like planting a community garden, bowling with adults with special needs, or doing art projects one-on-one with children from underserved communities. Teens can receive community service hours for their participation.
Can I earn community service hours for Maccabi?
Yes! Teens can earn a minimum of 2 hours for their participation during Maccabi as well as up to 40 additional for service prior to the Games & Artsfest. Contact your Delegation Head for details. 



Are there adult chaperones at Maccabi?
Of course. Team Orange County has one of the lowest athlete/ artists to adult ratios.  We have multiple delegation heads, assistant delegation heads, and numerous coaches. Every athlete/artist/CIT is assigned to an Orange County coach/chaperone whether they are on a team sport, individual sport, or mixed team with a coach from another delegation. Head coaches are all over 21 and have passed intensive background checks.
Where will my teen stay?

During the pre-weekend events Friday-Sunday, teens stay in a hotel under the supervision of Team OC coaches and chaperones.

All teens attending San Diego will stay with a host family. Many teens say that the host families were one of their favorite parts of the experience. Host families are Jewish homes in San Diego that are part of their greater JCC communities. Host families are background checked, screened, and required to attend a mandatory orientation.

Teens can request specific homes that meet their needs such as dietary and pet allergies. Participants may not arrange their own housing or stay in hotels. The home hospitality experience is an important part of the Games and ArtsFest experience. We are very gracious to these host families as they serve as interim parents for the week transporting the teens to and from Maccabi, provide breakfast, laundry, and give your teen an unforgettable home hospitality experience. Many teens will stay in touch with host families for years to come!

All teens attending the Campus Games @ Pace University will stay in a dorm on the PACE campus.  Teens will stay 2 per room on same gender floors.  Dorms will be chaperoned by Team OC coaches until lights out, and then chaperoned by RA’s/professional staff overnight. 

Can you tell me about security at Maccabi?
Security is taken very seriously at the JCC Maccabi Games & Artsfest.  Background checks are utilized for all adults involved and all participants, spectators, coaches, host families, etc. are required to wear a credential to access any Maccabi facility. The host community also works closely with local enforcement to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
Our family observes Shabbat and keeps Kosher. Will my teen's needs be met at Maccabi?
Yes, all food served at Maccabi is Kosher and activity will all be concluded prior to Shabbat.  Please contact your Delegation Head for details. 
Can parents be spectators at the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest?

Parents, family members, and friends are welcome to attend the Games and ArtsFest as spectators. A spectator pass gives access to the opening ceremony, sport events, and ArtsFest final show. No one will be admitted to a Games site who is not wearing an approved credential. To register as a spectator you will use the same website as when registering your teen. Please note deadlines and early bird pricing dates.

While we encourage families to consider attending to support their teens, the athletes have programs and activities going on for the entirety of their time at the Games and thus only see visitor’s courtside at their sporting events. At no point during the week can spectators or parents remove the teens from the program or take them off-site for any reason.



Can I use my son or daughter's school or camp medical form for Maccabi? 
No. Maccabi Central will only accept the JCC Maccabi Medical Form. In the case of a medical emergency, the Delegation Head will act as the participant’s guardian and will communicate with the parents to get any treatment necessary. Information such as the parent/guardian’s birth date and social security number is sometimes necessary to utilize insurance.   
How can I sign up to be part of Team OC at the JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest?

Registration is open NOW! You can register here online or contact your Delegation Head, Raychel Reilly to request the registration packet and secure your spot on Team OC.