With the Olympics only a few weeks away, international sports is on everyone’s minds, including those at the three Greater Miami Jewish Federation-funded Jewish community centers in Miami. This year’s annual Maccabi Games – an Olympics-style competition for teenagers from 1,100 JCCs worldwide – will host more than 6,000 athletes ages 13-16 in three U.S. locations. The Michael-Ann Russell JCC, the Dave & Mary Alper JCC and the Miami Beach JCC will send more than 100 delegates to the JCC Maccabi Games and Artsfest in Stamford, CT, August 7-12. Among those traveling from Miami will also be a handful of basketball players and coaches from Yerucham, Miami’s partnership city in Israel. In addition to their basketball competition, Israeli participants will have the opportunity to make new friends and experience the diversity of the Jewish people.

This summer, 1,300 young Jews from 20 countries are traveling to rural Hungary to attend Camp Szarvas, an annual program that merges the fun of sleepaway camp with the celebration of Jewish peoplehood. Supported by Federation and our overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, Szarvas serves for some campers as their first encounter with Judaism. Through Israeli dancing, campfire sing-alongs, swimming and soccer, campers learn about their Jewish heritage and form lifelong friendships that span the globe. Szarvas was founded in 1990 to help Jews in Europe seeking a return to their roots after the fall of Communism, and continues to help the many Jews still exploring their Jewish identities. Watch a video that shows what Szarvas means to participants.

Miami’s own Michelle and Matan Ben-Aviv are featured this week in a Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) story about a program they created in partnership with the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the Hebrew Free Loan Association (HFLA) of South Florida to lower the financial obstacles to accessing fertility treatments and having a child. Through the HFLA, the Making Miracle Babies Fund provides interest-free loans of up to $18,000 to first-time Jewish would-be parents living in Miami-Dade County. Read the JTA article.

Join The Network, Federation’s under 40 division, and AIPAC’s Miami Club on Thursday evening, July 21 for cocktails and an informative briefing on how the Jewish and African American communities are working together to advocate for Israel. The program will feature Darius Jones, AIPAC’s National African American Outreach Director, and Carol Brick-Turin, Director of Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council. For details and to RSVP, click here.

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