The Maccabiah is the world’s largest Jewish athletic competition in the tradition and values of Maccabi, emphasizing the centrality of the State of Israel in the life of the Jewish people. The Maccabiah takes place every four (4) years in Israel – “the Jewish Olympics” as they are often called, are Maccabi World Union’s largest and most famous enterprise.
The principal mission of the Maccabiah is to facilitate a worldwide gathering of young Jewish athletes in Israel, staging the highest possible levels of sports competitions, and strengthening their connection to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. Within the Maccabiah there are four separate competitions that take place; Open, Junior, Masters, and Paralympics. Junior games are open to any qualifying athlete aged 15-18. Masters are divided into a number of different age categories mostly to accommodate older competitors and the Open division is generally unlimited in age, subject to the governing international rules in each sport, and is intended for the best athletes from each delegation. In order to participate in the Maccabiah, athletes must represent a delegation. Delegations are formed by each of the Territorial Organizations that participate, i.e. France, Brazil, Germany, United States, Canada, Hungary, Australia, etc.
The Maccabiah offers the opportunity to tour the land of Israel and integrate all Maccabiah participants with Israeli society; initiating and creating an unforgettable experience comprised of competitive sports, cultural events and lifetime memorable experiences. In addition to being competitive, the sports competitions are also dedicated to the values of fair play, mutual respect, victory of body, intellect, and the pursuit of excellence.
This spectacular sports and cultural extravaganza unite close to ten thousand Jewish athletes from all over the world in Israel every four years and have a tremendous Zionist history, stretching back to the vivid imagination of a Jewish youngster in 1912 who made his dream come true.
The European Maccabi Games are held every four years, two years after the Maccabiah is held. European delegations send their best Jewish sportsmen and women to compete.
Held in July, around 2,100 athletes from 40 different nations compete in a total of 19 disciplines at the European Maccabi Games. According to the organizers, the European Maccabi Games are also a great opportunity for people to establish new contacts, make new friends, and meet interesting people.
Prague hosted the first ever European Maccabi Games in 1929, followed by Antwerp a year later. After a 30 year hiatus, the Jewish games finally returned to European soil as Copenhagen hosted the 1959 competition. The choice of the Austrian capital as the host city of 2011was highly symbolic as it is the first time since World War II that Jewish athletes from all over Europe competed on the territory of the former German Reich.
Last European Maccabi Games (EMG) took place in Budapest, Hungary between 29 July – 7 August, 2019, with more than 3,000 participants from 42 countries including delegations from Andora, Moldova & Montanegro who participated for the first time.
The Pan American Maccabi Games are held every four years in one of the Latin America countries and is sponsored by the Latin American Maccabi Confederation (CLAM). Participants include athletes representing North, Central and South America, Israel and other countries throughout the Diaspora.
One of the main missions is to perpetuate and preserve the American Jewish community by encouraging Jewish Pride, strengthening Jewish bonds, and by creating a heightened awareness of Israel and Jewish Identity.
The last Pan American Maccabi games took place in Mexico City, Mexico in 2019.
The JCC Maccabi Games® are an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer in North America and is the second largest organized sports program for Jewish teenagers in the world.
The first North American JCC Maccabi Games® were held in 1982 with 300 athletes. Due to overwhelming interest, Regional Games were added in 1985 to augment the even-year Continental Games. 1997 marked the first time that the Games were held simultaneously in six American cities with 4,400 participating athletes. Since their inception in 1982, the Games have grown from a small pilot project in one host community to an Olympic-style sporting competition held each summer in multiple sites throughout North America.
Today, over 3,000 teens, ranging from 13 to 16 years of age, participate in the JCC Maccabi Games® each summer. The Games are co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, Maccabi World Union, Maccabi Canada, and Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel.
The International Esport Federation chose Israel, for the first time, to host the Esport World Championship in 2020. It is one of the biggest and prestigious events in the gaming industry and will be held between the 20th in October and 20th in November, as an online event, while the main event will be held in Eilat during December.
The Championship expected to include over 10,000 gamers from over 55 countries and will be broadcast live to millions around the world. The Championship is organized by the Israeli Esport Association and Maccabi World Union and partnered with the Eilat municipality and Israel’s Prime Minister’s office.
The 2020 World Championship was held in a limited online ‘Covid-19’ format, with the finals in Eilat, and again in a much larger and more prestigious format in 2021. Israel will be the first country outside Korea, to host the world championship twice in a row. In the next two years, the State of Israel, the city of Eilat, Maccabi World Union and the Israeli Gaming Association will be at the center of the stage of the most developing industry in the world.