For the first time in some time, the New Orleans Jewish Community Center is fielding a team of more than a dozen players for the Maccabi Games being held in Detroit, August 4 – 9.
JCC sports director, assistant camp director and Maccabi Games delegation leader Neal Alsop noted that for the past four years, the New Orleans delegation has numbered at just four or five kids to represent the New Orleans Jewish community. “This year I have 14 kids confirmed going so far,” he told the CCJN in a phone interview earlier this week.
He attests the rise in participation to two things. “A couple of kids came at the right age after I had been talking to them a few years about it,” he said . “I made the effort to go speak at Temple Sinai and also to speak at Touro Synagogue to their Sunday Schools , which I don’t think previous delegation heads had done for a couple of years.”
All Jewish kids ages 12-16 for the games and 12-17 for Artsfest are welcome to attend. This is the first time the New Orleans delegation will include Artsfest participants other than 2011, when New Orleans served as the host for the Maccabi Games.
“Artfest is for those kids who aren’t interested in sports. Instead of a competitive thing, it’s a collaborative thing. There are eight specialties – depending on what specialty you go for – and they all work together and put on a show at the end of the week.”
Artfest categories include acting and improv, culinary arts, dance, musical theatre, rock band, visual arts, vocal music and social media squad.
The deadline to register is Wednesday, April 24. Participants will fly direct from New Orleans to Detroit. The cost is $1300 for the first child. Additional children from the same family cost $1200 each.
Detroit is expecting 1500 participants, according to Alsop. The Maccabi Games are also being held a week earlier in Atlanta, but despite that city’s location being closer and, therefore, cheaper, the dates conflict with the ending of Henry S. Jacobs Camp, which would have prevented several attendees from attending.
“Logistically, it works better,” Alsop continued. “I also am still doing summer camp here and wouldn’t have been able to leave when I need to leave because I have to be there a few days in advance.”
Artsfest is only being held in Detroit this year, he added. So, it makes sense to send the delegation to Detroit instead of Atlanta, where they can all participate.
Parents are being asked to cover the cost of what it costs to send their own kids to the games. The JCC is bearing the costs of sending delegation leaders, coaches and chaperones. “We are one of the cheapest trips in the country based on how much it costs to go,” he concluded. “I have been able to give some scholarship money to athletes who needed it.”
For more information contact Neal here or call 504-897-0143.