Steve Stein Contributing Writer
The organizers of the 2019 JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest that Detroit is hosting aren’t waiting until next year to start a recruiting push for athletes, artists, host families and volunteers.
They’ve scheduled a Kickoff Celebration at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, in Handleman Hall at the JCC in West Bloomfield.
This will be the sixth time Detroit will host the Maccabi Games — the most of any city in the country — but the first time organizers have held a kickoff event with food and a raffle.
“It’s never too early to recruit, and we feel an event like this will give people an opportunity to get information about whatever they’re interested in doing,” said Karen Gordon, Maccabi Games co-chair along with Franci Silver and Steve Fisher.
Stations will be set up with information about topics such as volunteering, housing, team tryouts and auditions. It’s possible the Maccabi Games’ online registration system will be up and running by Dec. 16.
“We need about 800 host families. Several families have already expressed an interest,” Gordon said. “We expect about 1,500 athletes and artists from visiting delegations.”
Gordon said Maccabi Games organizers haven’t established a goal of how many athletes and artists they’d like to see from Detroit participate in the Aug. 4-9 event.
“As many as possible,” Gordon said. “We had about 300 athletes and artists the last time we hosted the Maccabi Games in 2014. It would be great if we got at least that many next year. Of course, we’d love more.”
Local teens ages 12-16 can try out for these team sports: softball, baseball, volleyball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse and ice hockey. They also can participate in tennis, dance, table tennis, golf and swimming as individuals.
Detroit teens ages 12-17 can participate in these ArtsFest disciplines: acting/improv, dance, musical theater, rock band, visual arts, social media, star reporters, vocal performance and culinary arts.
Detroit previously hosted in 1984, 1990, 1998, 2008 and 2014. It was the only host site in 1984 and 1990, when the Maccabi Games were held every two years. Multiple sites hosting the Maccabi Games annually started in 1997. Atlanta also will be a host in 2019.
See Pistons vs. Pelicans
The Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation and Detroit Pistons have joined forces to offer a special ticket package for a Pistons home game at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit.
The package is for the Pistons’ game against the New Orleans Pelicans at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9.
Ticket-buyers can take a postgame shot on the court and 10 percent of the ticket price will be donated to the foundation’s Dr. Steve and Evelyn Rosen Stars of Tomorrow scholarship program.
Scholarships are awarded to Jewish high school seniors who excel in athletics and academics.
Foundation executive director Sari Circurel said the Pistons-foundation partnership is the result of a relationship formed with Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellum, who was inducted this year into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, which the foundation oversees.
Additional details about Dec. 9 game festivities are being worked out.
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