The 2023 Maccabi Games, hosted by the Posnack JCC in Davie, Florida, saw a record number of over 1800 Jewish athletes participating in the games, and Chabad was on hand every moment with a mitzvah station sponsored by Chabad at Monterra and Cteen Central during the weeklong competition.
The mitzvah station, called “Mitzvot on the Spot for Athletes on the Go,” offered athletes the opportunity to perform a variety of mitzvot, including putting on tefillin, handing out Shabbat candle kits, and donating to charity.
In true competitive spirit, to keep track of the tefillin score, the reps placed a tefillin scoreboard at the station, and every time an athlete performed the mitzvah of tefillin, the score was updated. Proudly, every day was a record-breaking day exceeding the previous day’s score.
On day 1, the Tefillin score was 176; by day four, the Teffilin score was 338 athletes performing the mitzvah. For many athletes, this was their first time putting on tefillin. One of the greatest moments was when Rabbi Aharon and Elky Spielman arrived at the Mitzvah Booth in the morning, and six athletes were waiting at the table, wanting to start the day with the mitzvah of Teffilin.
“The real gold medal earned from the athletes was seeing the smile on their face after performing a mitzvah,” said Rabbi Aharon Spielman, Ckids/Cteen shluchim at Chabad at Monterra.
“There wasn’t always an opportunity to take a step back and watch what was going on, but when you did, the site was just magnificent and was a real proud moment for our Shlichus,” said Malky Goodman, co-director of Chabad at Monterra.
Rabbi Adi Goodman, Director of Chabad At Monterra, has been servicing the area for over 20 years and quoted that One of the proudest moments for me was when Matt, a 30-year-old coach who was a former Hebrew school student and from our original Cteen group, came running over and proudly showed his team how to do mitzvot with excitement.
“The relationship with the local JCC and the local Chabad houses is a great example of what happens when you work together,” said Rabbi Pinny Andrusier, director of Chabad of Southwest Broward. “The relationship between Chabad and The JCC has been very strong for a few decades now, and this was one of the proudest moments of our relationship.”
The mitzvah station was a huge success and a testament to the strong relationship between Chabad and the JCC in Davie. This partnership will continue in the coming years, providing athletes and the community opportunities to learn and strengthen their connection to Judaism.
A special thank you to Rabbi Shimon and Leah Rivkin from Cteen Central for providing many resources and general assistance for the Mitzvah Station.