These Metro Detroit athletes are taking one for the team.

There are openings for athletes and artists who want to represent Detroit this summer at the JCC Maccabi Games & ArtsFest.

San Diego, California, and Pace University in Westchester County, New York, are the Maccabi Games sites. ArtsFest will be held in San Diego.

Detroit will be sending golfers, boys and girls tennis players, and boys soccer and girls volleyball teams to San Diego.

Pace will have 14U and 16U boys baseball, 14U and 16U boys basketball, girls competitive dance, girls soccer and ice hockey teams, plus boys and girls swimmers from Detroit.

San Diego will be a host from Aug. 2-7. About 1,700 athletes and artists are expected. Pace will be a host from Aug. 9-14. From 700 to 800 athletes are expected.

Athletes must be ages 13-16 and artists must be ages 13-17 as of July 31 to participate.
Interested in becoming a Maccabi Games athlete or artist? Email Detroit delegation head Karen Gordon at or go to

Jeff Ellis

Jeff Ellis continues to dominate in weightlifting at the Michigan Senior Olympics.
The certified public accountant from West Bloomfield won another gold medal Feb. 9 at the Senior Olympics Winter Games in Plymouth with a bench press of 260 pounds in the age 60-64 198-pound division.

It was Ellis’ 18th gold medal in the 20 times he’s competed in weightlifting at the Senior Olympics. The 60-year-old also has a silver medal and a bronze medal in weightlifting.

Ellis wanted to break his Senior Olympics age group record of 270 pounds set last year at the Summer Games when he competed earlier this month, but he fell short at 275 pounds.
The West Bloomfield resident also holds the Senior Olympics record in the age 55-59 198-pound division. That record is 286.1 pounds.

Benji Jacobson

Benji Jacobson has earned himself a spot in the Tulane University men’s tennis team’s lineup.

Jacobson is playing No. 3 doubles. In five matches through Feb. 8, the redshirt freshman from Bloomfield Hills had won once, lost twice and had two matches go unfinished because Tulane had already picked up a team point for winning doubles.

“I didn’t start in our season opener against Stanford, but I’ve started every time since then,” Jacobson said. “Four of the teams I’ve faced are top-30 teams. My partner and I were about to beat Mississippi State (when the match was stopped) and we beat Texas Tech. So far, the season has been good, and I’ve been playing very well.”

Jacobson was an All-American and Michigan Division III “Mr. Tennis” while at Cranbrook-Kingswood High School, and he was a 2018 Jewish News Male High School Athlete of the Year.

Michael Hartman

Michael Hartman has a perfect record in weightlifting at the Michigan Senior Olympics.
The West Bloomfield resident won a gold medal Feb. 9 at the Senior Olympics Winter Games in Plymouth, bench-pressing 265 pounds to win the age 60-64 275-pound division.

It was the first time Hartman competed in weightlifting at the Senior Olympics. The podiatrist won a silver medal in the shot put at the Senior Olympics a few years ago.

“I was very nervous (at the Winter Games) because everything in the weightlifting competition was new to me. I lifted a lot more a few days earlier,” Hartman said. “But I enjoyed competing, mainly because the weightlifters there were like a band of brothers. I’m surprised I won.”

Hartman, 60, said he’s been weightlifting for many years but doing it seriously for only about four months, often with longtime friend and 18-time Senior Olympics weightlifting gold medal-winner Jeff Ellis, “and that’s made a difference.”

Jackson Ross

Jackson Ross is doing well against the “big boys” in collegiate wrestling.

The Michigan State University redshirt sophomore from Brighton was 12-5 with 11 straight wins through last week, competing in the 285-pound weight class in tournaments.

He finished in first place in the Alma Open and he was fifth in the Storm Open.

“I weigh 245 pounds, so I’m on the lighter side in this weight class,” Ross said.

The 6-foot-3 Ross hasn’t competed in any dual meets for MSU, but he is traveling with the team.

Ross was 5-11 in his first two seasons with the Spartans, again competing in tournaments. Off the mats, the 3.5 grade-point average student majoring in finance was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree last season.

“I didn’t have a lot of confidence wrestling when I first came to Michigan State, mainly because I only started in wrestling in high school, but I’m wrestling with confidence now,” Ross said.

A football and wrestling standout at Novi Detroit Catholic Central High School, Ross was a 2017 Jewish News Male High School Athlete of the Year.

Read more: The Latest in Jewish Sports


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