Maccabi USA honored more than 20 “legends and heroes” of the Maccabiah Games with Philadelphia-area ties at an Oct. 22 Gala event in Center City.
The honorees included Dolph Schayes, the first coach of the Philadelphia 76ers; Tal Brody, the Israeli basketball standout who grew up in Trenton, N.J., and Julian Krinsky, the camp owner and former professional tennis player who was raised in South Africa and now lives in Radnor.
Two honorees who weren’t able to make it were Larry Brown, the former Philadelphia 76ers coach who now runs the team at Southern Methodist University, and Brian Roberts, who has represented the United States in squash and is currently chairman and CEO of the Comcast Corporation.
The World Maccabiah Games take place every four years in Israel, with Jewish athletes from around the world competing. The 19th Maccabiah Games are scheduled to take place next July, and Maccabi USA is hoping to field a team of more than 1,000 participants in an array of sports
Ami Monson, program director of Maccabi USA, said the event, which honored supporters and volunteers along with athletes, is a new concept and organizers expect to hold similar affairs in different cities on an annual basis.
Four-time Olympian and gold medalist Jason Lezak was the keynote speaker. In addition to his Olympic hardware, the swimmer also won four gold medals at the 18th Maccabiah Games in 2009 in Israel.
Lezak spoke about his decision to skip the 2009 world championships — the most prestigious annual event in swimming — to take part in the competition for Jewish athletes.