May 6, 2005 – The smallest Jewish community reportedly ever to host a regional JCC Maccabi Games event.
Getting the Maccabi Games to come to a community is a competitive process, and Gary Lipman, chief executive officer of the Stamford Jewish Community Center, did much more than just fill out the application and mail it in. He put together a team of dedicated people and initiated a process that ended up in successfully wooing the Games back to Southern New England and Connecticut.
It didn't happen overnight, and Lipman, his co-chairs, Kerrin Behrend and Maxine Freilich and a team of dedicated JCC members mobilized the resources of the JCC, the City of Stamford and the greater community to bring it about. Stamford's Mayor Dan Malloy and members of his administration worked tirelessly to demonstrate Stamford's ability and desire to host the Games. Together they showed that if given the opportunity, the enthusiasm and commitment of their community would be the equal of any of the larger alternative venues.
Now with the effort of actually getting the Games behind them, the hard work of mobilizing the community and providing the resources to get it all done lies ahead. Lipman and his committee have approached this with the vision of being joined not only by the Stamford Jewish community, but also by the JCCs throughout the state and all the Jewish communities in lower Fairfield County. With opening ceremonies planned for Bridgeport and Fairfield County, and Jewish Federations represented at the news conference announcing the Games, this looks to be off to a good start.
The Ledger looks forward to the success of the Maccabi Games and to playing a part in making this a worthwhile and memorable event. The JCC Maccabi Games are a tremendous way to unite and build community, and the opportunities for just about anyone to participate are many. Housing athletes. Working at the facilities and organizing support services for the participants. Taking part in the "Day of Sharing and Day of Caring." Raising funds. Opening our synagogues to visiting families. All of these things are important parts of the week, and people who give their time and make the effort get to be part of the excitement that surrounds an event of this kind.
Yasher koach to Stamford, the Jewish communities of Fairfield County and all of Connecticut.