Category: Character Corner

Rome Was Not Built in a Day

Posted by January 31, 2017 • Share:

There’s an old proverb that says “If you take one step towards God, God will take two steps towards you.”

Whether it’s physical fitness you’re trying to achieve, saving money for your next family vacation, or improving your swing in baseball, the truth is that when you put in work, you will reap benefits.

Coachability” is really the key to success at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp. We place great emphasis on effort, fully applying oneself, and an interest in being coached to succeed. Our main role is to help athletes advance their game, offer guidance on becoming a better teammate, and motivate every child to reach their full potential on and off the field.

If something feels impossible today, it is important for our campers to realize that it won’t always feel that way. We encourage our kids to take small steps in the right direction now that will help them advance in the future.

The process of self-improvement is reciprocal and exponential. The more we as humans cultivate our own potential, the easier it becomes to keep progressing along our path. What will you work on today that will help you tomorrow? 


What Makes a Good Life?

Posted by November 7, 2016 • Share:


Huddle up.

What leads to a happy life? If you think it’s fame and fortune, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, it’s not true. In this TEDx talk, he shares the results of a 75-year long study on happiness and the important lessons uncovered by the results.

It’s astounding to hear the parallels he draws between the fundamental values of JCC Maccabi Sports Camp and his study spanning generations.

The key to a life filled with happiness boils down to one thing: relationships. That is why we strive to build a strong sense of Jewish community here at JCC Maccabi Sports Camp. Both on and off the field, we foster a supportive environment where our campers can build positive relationships away from the year-round stress, struggles and chaos of life.

Judaism is a communal experience and as a camp community, we share a bond like no other. No matter how big or small our Jewish community is here at camp, the positive relationships and social connections keep us all happier and healthier.


Everything is Possible

Posted by November 6, 2016 • Share:

Quite possibly the most enjoyable and most anticipated event of the summer is Maccabi Cup, our camp color war.

During Session 2 this past summer our Maccabi Cup theme was “Everything is Possible”. The Green Dreamers and Blue Imagination faced off in an epic showdown of athletic and creative competitions, all with the hopes of being dubbed the Maccabi Cup Champions.

After two exhausting days of competition and camaraderie, the Blue team was well on their way to being champions. However, much to everyone’s surprise, the Green team took home the trophy after winning the song and cheer battle with a heart-wrenching song.

With the World Series fresh on our minds, it important to recognize how symbolic the championship game was.

After nearly a century of loss, frustration and heartache, Chicago Cubs fans were finally able to rejoice. Winning their first title since 1908, the Cubs became the 2016 Major League Baseball World Series Champions.

This year’s championship proved just how poetic sports are. Baseball, like life, is unpredictable and the unbelievable can become believable when you don’t give up.

As we continue into the Jewish New Year, remember that every single day can bring us something entirely unexpected. May we all discover our own paths to being champions of our lives and exploring what is truly possible.

“If you will it, it is no dream.” –Theodor Herzl

Golden Bagel Award

Posted by November 11, 2015 • Share:

A message from our Board Chair, Rick Gordon:

Josh Steinharter Honored with “Golden Bagel” Award

The Jewish Sports Hall of Fame of Northern California will be awarding camp director Josh Steinharter with the Golden Bagel Award this Sunday, November 15, 2015. The Golden Bagel is an honor bestowed upon individuals who have made a significant impact in sports and the Jewish community in Northern California.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.37.18 PMSince moving to San Francisco in 2005, Josh has been a coach, a program director, a mentor, and is now the founder and director of JCC Maccabi Sports Camp. The reason Josh is receiving this award has little to do with the titles he has held, and more to do with the impact he has made with his actions. In all of Josh’s endeavors he has acted with integrity and has shaped our community’s children by leading by example.

In doing so, Josh has shown so many young people that they can channel various aspects of their character and Jewish identity through sport.

I share Josh’s feelings that there is something uniquely special about sports; it can involve anyone and everyone and it can teach us so much about ourselves and the world around us. Josh helps kids experience this and notice it for their own self-reflection and development of their character. This is the mission we hold near and dear to us as JCC Maccabi Sports Camp, and as a result, wonderful outcomes happen every day of the summer.

I am excited to see the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame celebrating Josh’s unwavering commitment and achievements. It makes me very proud to serve on the boards of both of these organizations.

If you’re interested in supporting the great work of Josh and the JCC Maccabi Sport Camp team, please consider making a contribution.

Rick Gordon
Board Chair

Character Corner: Winning with Class

Posted by April 28, 2015 • Share:

This article was written by our Program Director, Joel Swedlove, and is part of our “Character Corner” series. 

Every year at this time millions of us settle in to watch the NBA Playoffs. Coming off the heels of the NCAA Tournament, these few months are nirvana to a basketball junkie (like me). However, I’ve been noticing a trend in recent years that began long ago in the NBA but has now trickled down to even the most basic schoolyard levels of the game.

Basketball by its modern nature is a physical game and physicality will often breed heightened emotional reactions like trash-talking or overly enthusiastic celebrations. It has become commonplace now that after a big three-pointer the shooter leaves his hand in the air as he runs back down to court, showing up the person who did a poor job of defending him.

Now it may sound like I’m being a “get off my lawn” basketball purist here, but that is not the case. I cheer and throw up my hands in a “3” whenever the Warriors knock down a long-range shot, but something feels wrong about it. We teach our children that it is not about winning or losing, but how we play; how we handle the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.

There is nothing inherently wrong in celebrating your positive achievements, but what is sometimes forgotten is that for every amazing buzzer beater there is a team that just lost in heartbreaking fashion.

For the better part of two decades the San Antonio Spurs have shown us how to win with class. Do they celebrate big shots? Absolutely, but you never feel that the moment is about an individual, it is always about the team and that they are simply doing their jobs.

Admittedly, I am a biased observer when it comes to the Spurs (having coached Kawhi Leonard when he was in high school in Riverside, CA), but there is something admirable about the way they carry themselves. When they lost the 2013 NBA Finals in heartbreaking fashion there was no blaming the officials or making excuses — they just quietly spent the next year focused on winning the title.

That next year, when they achieved that goal, they didn’t taunt the Heat or proclaim themselves the greatest franchise of this century (a point for which they’d have a strong argument) they just quietly got back to work so they could be ready to defend the title.

We have been told for as long as we can remember that there is no “I” in TEAM, but we should also remember there isn’t one in “CELEBRATE” either.

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