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Maccabi Games medals for Indianapolis teenagers



Indianapolis, Indiana – When two North Central High School students participated in the Maccabi Games in Israel, they took advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“Last year, I found out some kids went to San Diego, so I go to the Glick JCC to play basketball, and I know how to get kicked out of the gym because they are practicing there. That sounds like a cool thing to go to a completely different state to play basketball,” said Sammy Bernstein, who won a silver medal in basketball.

Israel hosts the Maccabi Games every four years. Numerous Jewish athletes from various nations are represented by the event. One of fifteen sports is available for the players to choose from.

“We didn’t have to try out because our delegation is so small. I have a friend who lives in LA and he says there were week-long tryouts for the basketball team, so all we had to do is prove we are Jewish and we got into the Maccabi Games,” said Bernstein.

Cole Bush, a close friend, and classmate of Bernstein’s at North Central, won gold in soccer. They are the only two Indianapolis athletes taking part in the Maccabi Games.

“It’s fun to see all these other kids, but it gets competitive. You want to win right? You want to take home that gold, and you’re playing kids who look like they’re a lot older than they really are,” said Bernstein.

There is more to the games than merely competing. Jewish competitors have the opportunity to make friends via sportsmanship at the tournament.

“Beautiful country. Everyone here is really nice. Every Israeli athlete that I’ve met has been welcoming us with open arms, playing us their music, and teaching us about Israel,” said Bush.

Before returning to the United States, Bernstein and Bush are touring the remainder of Israel. They intend to return as coaches to the Maccabi Games in the future.

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