Our Story

Group of happy campers dancing together on the field.

Maccabi Sports Camp has become a way of life for hundreds of kids from all across the United States and beyond.

The combination of core values, leadership principles, creating genuine community and of course, a love for sports, has made lifelong fans of the Maccabi Way and produced campers that are as excited to be at camp as the staff are to give them a great summer.

Kids and baseball coach celebrating.
Camper with a stack of tennis balls on her raquet.

Maccabi Sports Camp began as the dream of Josh Steinharter, Founder and Senior Director.

Prior to founding the JCC Maccabi Sports Camp in 2013, Josh was the Athletic Program Manager for Youth & Coach Development at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, serving over 1,500 children annually through teams, classes, camps, and select-level sports. He also served as Delegation Head for Team San Francisco at the JCC Maccabi Games®. As co-creator of the JCCSF Fellowship in Sports Leadership, Josh helped develop and lead the teen program that taught leadership through the lens of coaching youth sports.

While in Israel as part of the 2012 JCC Association Merrin Teen Professional Fellowship, Josh was introduced to the Foundation for Jewish Camp Specialty Camp Incubator. Winning the support of Jim Joseph Foundation, Avi Chai Foundation, and the Foundation for Jewish Camp’s Specialty Camp Incubator cemented the beginnings of Maccabi Sports Camp in 2014.

As a kid, Josh split his summers between a traditional Jewish overnight camp experience (8 years as camper and staff at URJ Goldman Union Camp in Indianapolis) and a wide range of competitive sports camps. Providing the benefits of their respective missions – skill development at sports camp and life skills, meaningful relationships, and Jewish connection at Jewish camp – Josh sought to bring these two powerful worlds together, and so Maccabi Sports Camp was born.

Over the years, Maccabi—the first ever (on the West Coast) overnight Jewish camp for kids who love sports—has welcomed hundreds of campers, many of whom have returned summer after summer, making camp their summer home, and continuing the journey from camper to staff.

Looking to expand camp’s reach and impact, in 2020, Maccabi Spots Camp joined with the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley’s premier venue for cultural arts, recreation, Jewish learning and sports and wellness. As one team, we are making camp even greater and transforming how young people learn about themselves and their connection to Jewish community through sports.

Two campers hugging at Shabbat.


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