By Traci Stratford, Program Director (and Maccabiah Coordinator)
Maccabiah at Jacobs Camp might be one of the best-kept secrets of the summer (besides the fried chicken recipe). It’s not just another special event at camp; it’s our favorite event at camp. Planning for the 2-day adrenaline-fueled, non-stop competition began weeks ago. But, you would never know because of the first (and most important) rule of Maccabiah:
You don’t talk about Maccabiah.
We used code names, held late-night meetings in the back room of the infirmary and even had our Chalutzimers help make signs during Take a Chalutz to Work Day. We told them that the signs were for a “special Garin evening program”…They’ll believe anything!
Our captains were chosen a week and a half before the big day, allowing them to have plenty of time to prepare as well. It’s a huge honor to be extended an invitation to join the “secret society” of Maccabiah captains, and Itay Smira (Green), Nicole Mackey (Red), Jake Greenstein (Yellow) and Sarah Braslow (Blue) took their jobs very seriously.
The theme for Maccabiah is kept under strict lock and key and only a select few people have access to this privileged information. We coordinated the activity schedules, purchased and gathered supplies, prepared decorations, scripted the break and more, all while the everyday hustle and bustle of camp continued in the foreground.
It was hard to contain our excitement walking into breakfast on Monday morning. The big moment had arrived: Scooby-Doo theme song played, captains walked in, and we yelled “IT’S MACCABIAH!” Chills ran through us as every camper in the dining halls face lit up smiling from ear to ear while screams of pure Maccabiah joy were deafening. This energy continued through every team meeting, into wacky sports and Judaic quiz bowl competitions, during Hagigiah (Arts competition) and the Derby race. We’ve never seen campers get so excited about silent lunch or all-camp clean up!
Maccabiah wasn’t just good; it was EPIC. It’s an indescribable feeling—from the moment we broke Maccabiah, to the finale of pushing Itay, the Green Team Captain (and first Israeli captain in HSJ history), into the pool to declare winner of the games. Every camper and staff shared the same passion and energy that we had in planning this year’s games.
If you want to see Jacobs Camp teamwork and spirit at its peak, look no further and enjoy this short glimpse into true Jacobs Magic.