Five Towns

Silver medal for Gural JCC Maccabis


The Marion & Aaron Gural JCC’s Junior Maccabi Team that captured the silver medal in basketball at the Mid-Atlantic Mini and Junior Maccabi Games on May 5 in Wilmington, Deleware.

Modeled after the JCC Maccabi Games, the one-day Olympic style tournament was geared for nine- to 12-years-old. The competition was hosted by the Sigel JCC Delaware.

Beginning with the opening ceremonies each team individually marching out, while singing “Hatikvah” (the Israel national anthem) and the ”Star-Spangled Banner.” Then the competition got under way with team and individual sports, and the opportunity to take part in a service project.

HALB and HAFTR sixth- and seventh-graders comprised the Gural JCC squad with Leroy Samuels the head coach and Matthew Schein his assistant.

“We found kids that wanted to be on the team, practiced for the tournament, planned out the itinerary and drove to Delaware,” Schein said. “This was a fun experience for us and the kids.”

The team won all three of its games and was the No. 2 seed. The squad defeated the No. 3 seed.

Though the Gural JCC lost in the championship game to the No. 1 seed, the boys had fun and appeared to enjoy this special opportunity.

“I had an amazing time at the Maccabi games, I was so excited to go and my team worked very hard together to win the silver,” said HAFTR seventh-grader Mason Schein. “It was so cool to meet people from all over and see so many people that like different sports and athletes.”

Improving their basketball skills and building up their stamina for multiple games in a short time was the initial impact of taking part in the tournament.

“I really enjoyed playing in the Maccabi games, we played five games in one day so we were really tired,” said HALB sixth-grader Uzi Zamir.

Making new fiends and meeting people with the same interests and skill levels was also part of the experience.

“It’s such a great experience to play against kids from other states and delegation, meeting new kids and traveling to new places each year is awesome,” said HAFTR seventh- grader Michael Boriskin. “We practiced together, developed chemistry, and won second place!”

The boys’ caliber of play and the energy and sportsmanship they brought to the court is something their schools and the Marion & Aaron Gural JCC can take pride in.

“The boys competed at a high level and showed amazing sportsmanship, I couldn’t be prouder of all of them and the way that they played,” Samuels said.