2015 Pan American Maccabi Games
Organized by: Boris Kapelnik
EVENT DATE Dec 28, 2015
I remember myself as a 6-year-old boy, looking out the window of my small, one bedroom apartment, waiting impatiently for the kids to gather in the field for a game of soccer. I could hardly wait to tie my sneakers and run downstairs, even if just to watch the older kids pass the ball around, hoping for a chance to be allowed to join. Growing up as a young Jewish boy in the Soviet Ukraine was not easy, to say the least. However, growing up Jewish and playing a sport was practically impossible. The Soviet policy of discrimination against the Jews was a common phenomenon both in daily life endevours as well as in the realm of sports. To avoid a life of antisemitism, my family immigrated to the United States from the turbulent Soviet Ukraine in 1992. Once we got settled into our new life in the suburbs of Chicago, I continued playing soccer and delved deeply into obtaining a strong soccer foundation at the Glenview Soccer Club and Glenbrook South High School. Not only did my new life in America open doors for me in sports, I was also able to openly and freely learn about my Jewish heritage and my Jewish identity. Jewish traditions, holidays, and soccer games became a regular part of my life. Reading about world famous Jewish atheletes such as Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax and Mark Spitz gave me a sense of pride and purpose. Seeing Jeff Agoos, a Jewish soccer player compete in the World Cup filled me with a deep inspiration and a strong desire to one day represent my adopted country as a proud Jewish Athelete. That day is now!
The Pan American Maccabi Games are a celebration of Jewish unity, culture, and heritage through athletic competition – I am so honored to be a part of Team USA! I hope you will join me in my fundraising efforts for the 13th Pan American Maccabi Games in Santiago, Chile – any contribution helps! Your support will ensure that my team is well represented in South America with world-class Athletics and Jewish Pride. You can make a difference!