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SPOTLIGHT ON…Rebecca Lewis

West Hartford woman sets her sights on European Maccabi Games in Berlin

By Cindy Mindell

WEST HARTFORD – Rebecca Lewis wants to go to Berlin. The West Hartford resident and 2010 Hall High School graduate was recently selected to represent the U.S. in women’s soccer at the 2015 European Maccabi Games this summer, and she is trying to raise the nearly $6,000 required to make the trip.

The U.S. delegation – competing in 14 different sports – is officially sponsored by Maccabi USA, which supports Jewish athletic endeavors enhanced by cultural and educational opportunities at home, in Israel, and throughout the Diaspora.

“This is an amazing opportunity,” says the 22-year-old Lewis, known to family and friends as “Becca.” “Soccer is my passion, and to be able to play abroad while representing not only my country, but my faith, would be a great honor. The fact that the games are in Berlin, Germany, I believe is extra special. It shows the strength and resilience of the Jewish people to be able to have over 3,000 Jews go to Germany for a positive reason only 75 years after the Holocaust.”

A 2014 graduate of Ithaca College, where she played goalkeeper on the women’s team, Lewis began her soccer career in elementary school. She played for West Hartford Travel Soccer, Oakwood Soccer Club, and Farmington Sports Arena Football Club, and at Hall High School as a four-year player and two-year starter. In college, she played in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and 2011 NCAA Division III Final Four, was part of the championship team in the 2012 and 2013 Empire 8 Conference, and played in the 2012 NCAA Sweet Sixteen and 2013 NCAA Elite Eight.

Now an honors graduate student at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), Lewis will earn a Master’s degree in Educational Technology in May and hopes to become certified as a high school social studies teacher and coach soccer. She is a goalkeeper for the CCSU women’s soccer team, which competed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament and won the 2015 NEC Conference.

In addition to her studies, Lewis holds numerous part-time jobs. She teaches Sunday school at Beth El Temple, where she and her family have been members since they moved to West Hartford in 1996. She is a substitute teacher for West Hartford Public Schools and an assistant to West Hartford Athletic Director Betty Remigino-Knapp, and a graduate assistant at the CCSU Recreation Department. She also coaches soccer, both privately and for Keeperstop in West Hartford.

While an undergraduate, she worked for two summers at Camp Ramah in Palmer, Mass., first as a senior counselor and then as assistant director of sports. She learned about the European Maccabi Games from her mother, Bonnie Lewis, who is director of Recreation and Wellness at the Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford.

“This would be the experience of a lifetime, and an outstanding way to cap off my career,” says Lewis, who is defraying the cost of participation through crowd-funding on Gofundme.com: gofundme.com/ovrrk8.

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