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JCC Maccabi Games’ infrastructure ready

By Chad Tessmer

With less than 125 days before the JCC Maccabi Games open on the floor of the BMO Harris Bradley Center, the infrastructure for managing and supporting a community of volunteers, host families, participants and donors is in place.

“One of the many blessings of hosting the Games is having access to the many resources and experiences of the Jewish Community Centers of North America, past host communities, and a deep well of local talent – both professional and volunteer,” said JCC Maccabi Games director Jesse Rosen.

“As we are now fully live with our online registration system, the Milwaukee Jewish community is rallying and getting involved the Games at an impressive rate,” Rosen said.

At, which is currently undergoing a redesign to prepare for the final stages of the Games, the community can fully register for all aspects of the event — as a volunteer, host family, athlete, coach, or spectator.

“It’s an important step in the host community process,” added Rosen. “This will be the database we’ll use for communications, training, and Games management. It’s important that everyone — even those volunteers who have previously submitted an interest form – goes through the full registration process to enjoy the Games in the fullest way possible.”

JCC Maccabi Games co-chair Nancy Kennedy Barnett leads the teams committees dedicated to identifying and serving more than 1,000 volunteers and 500 host families. She has been involved in preparing the registration process and getting the community on board.

“For nearly two years we’ve been asking the community to ‘Get in the Games,’” said Barnett. “Today, that means going to and completing the registration process. Together, we can ensure the safest and most meaningful Games for everyone – whether you’re in the stands at the Opening Ceremonies on Sunday, Aug. 2, or plan on volunteering at a site throughout the community.”

Meeting goals

As the Games’ clock counts down to the week of Aug. 2, the team is meeting a series of milestones. In each of the major areas of emphasis, the month of April represents a significant temperature check of readiness and a transition to making the JCC Maccabi Games come alive.

Volunteerism: Along with functional online registration, in April all available volunteer jobs and opportunities will be available for review and selection.

“We get asked a lot what it means to volunteer for the JCC Maccabi Games,” said Barnett. “Whether you have four hours or four months to contribute, we’re excited to make the full array of opportunities available at”

Host Families: As a best practice, host communities aspire to have at least half its total of needed host families identified and registered by Pesach.

“We’re on pace to meet that goal,” said Rosen, “but we’re hitting the streets with force to make sure anyone who is interested in hosting a teen athlete has started the process. The host family relationship is one of the most powerful aspects of the JCC Maccabi Games, and it starts today.”

Team Milwaukee: With a goal of fielding a local team in each of the sports hosted in Milwaukee, Team Milwaukee has grown. As of press time, almost 85 local teens (ages 12-16) have signed up and are readying for competition.

“I’m so proud of the growth and the way this generation is coming together to ‘Be Milwaukee,’” said Team Milwaukee delegation head Aaron Miller. “Our coaches and teams are already training and practicing, and I’m confident this will be our best performance in years.”

April will be the final month of registration to join Team Milwaukee. A full listing of sports, both individual and team, is available at

Support: Individuals and organizations are making their financial commitments to the JCC Maccabi Games and ensuring a financially sustainable community experience.

In addition to the contributions being made by families and companies throughout southeastern Wisconsin, the JCC Maccabi Games recently welcomed Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin as Official Medical Partner of the Games.

“A successful Games — both during the week of Aug. 2 and well beyond — will be the product of leaders coming together, investing in this vision and demonstrating our shared values. We can think of no better partner than Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to ensure a safe, meaningful and professional community experience,” said Games co-chair Moshe Katz.

“Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is honored to have been named the official medical partner of the JCC Maccabi Games,” said Smriti Khare, M.D., president, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Primary Care.

“This community collaboration is very much in line with our vision to have the healthiest kids in the nation and to provide care closer to home. We are grateful for the recognition of our expertise — particularly in the areas of prevention, sports medicine and community health,” Khare said.

Chad Tessmer is the Chief Marketing Officer of the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

1st published in the Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

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