High School Tennis Star Returns to Play With U.S. Maccabiah Team

— by Amir Shoam

Among the names in the U.S. tennis team for the Maccabiah announced last week you can find Jennie Shulkin, Pennsylvania’s five-time high school State champion (four times as the leading singles player in the team competition and once in individual doubles). The player, who will turn 20 next month, is already a Maccabiah gold medalist: in squash, with the U.S. junior team in 2009. Being nationally ranked in both squash and tennis, and despite that a shoulder injury made her miss the trials for the tennis team for that year, she was still able to seize the opportunity to participate in the games.

The University of Pennsylvania sophomore started playing tennis almost as soon as she could pronounce “tennis” — at two and a half years old. Being ranked #32 nationally in squash entering Penn, she played on the varsity squash team, but now has gone back to her first love: “My dream has always been to represent the U.S. in tennis at the Maccabiah”, she explained in an exclusive interview with the Philadelphia Jewish Voice.

More after the jump.
“Playing tennis has always felt natural to me, like it’s what I’m supposed to do”, she said. “I feel at home on the court. I was never planning on becoming a professional, but I see it as a life-long sport”. At Penn she studies Communications and Public Service, and afterwards wants to go to law school.

A conservative Jew, Shulkin says that her ethno-religious belonging affects her “identity, decisions and everyday life. I am very proud of being Jewish.”

Shulkin wins the Pennsylvania State trophy in her senior year, 2011

“Since joining the squash team I have not played competitive tennis regularly, but in the try-outs I held my own against players from Division 1 tennis teams, and I feel ready to compete in the games”, she indicated.

I don’t like being overly confident, but I really want to help the U.S. team bring home the gold. I’m also excited to play competitively again, and to see my friends from all over the world that I’ve met last time. My family is also very supportive of my participation. My mom, dad and brother came with me four years ago, and this time my grandparents will join us too.

U.S. tennis team for the tournament:

  • Joshua Albert from Manhattan Beach, CA — University of California Davis;
  • Stephanie Falcon from Marietta, GA — University of North Carolina Greenboro;
  • Max Franklin from Mercer Island, WA — Washington University;
  • David Holiner from Dallas, TX — University of Texas Austin;
  • Michael Laser from Glencoe, IL — Dartmouth College;
  • Emma Levy from Princeton Junction, NJ — Tulane University;
  • Jose Lieberman from Los Angeles, CA — University of Miami;
  • Amira Massi from Los Angeles, CA — California State Northridge;
  • Jenna Nurik from Roswell, GA — University of Tennessee;
  • Sara Perelman from Pittsburgh, PA — Cornell University;
  • Adam Reinhart from Chicago, IL — DePaul University;
  • and Jennie Shulkin from Gladwyne, PA — University of Pennsylvania.

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Maccabiah: Greenberg Seeks Disabled Athletes for US Delegation

— by Sara Feinstein

Stuart Greenberg, 19th Maccabiah USA Paralympic Chairman, is aggressively working to recruit qualified Jewish disabled athletes to compete at the 19th World Maccabiah Games in Israel in July. He is specifically looking for athletes to participate in Wheelchair Basketball, Hand Cycling, Half Marathon, Swimming, Table Tennis and Tennis:

My expectations are to be competitive and represent the American Jewish Community with the highest standards of sportsmanship. I want to also do my best in making the journey to Israel a safe and fun filled experience the athletes will always remember on and off the field of play.

Greenberg has worked with the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department for over 39 years. He was the Director of the Carousel House Recreation Center for People with Disabilities from 1992-2003 and has extensive experience working with athletes with disabilities. Please contact him directly at 215.300.4150 if you know of any qualified athlete that would be interested in participating.

Rugby: After Navy Seals Camp, US Maccabiah Squad Announced

— by Sara Feinstein

Jeff Simon and Josh Kaplan, 19th Maccabiah USA Open Rugby Co-Chairmen, announced the complete appointment of the Open Men’s Rugby Team that will compete in Rugby 15s and Rugby 7s at the 19th World Maccabiah Games in Israel in July. Final trials took place from January 30 to February 3 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. Over 40 applicants for the team gathered for intensive fitness training, which included a rigorous workout with the U.S. Navy Seals at their facility on Coronado Island and culminated with a match against the San Diego Aztecs.

After the jump: Soccer team also announces its squad.
Coach Shawn Lipman, Assistant Coaches Gregory Schor Haskin and David Rudzinsky, with Managers Barry Seidel and David Danker, have been working with the Rugby applicants over the last year to develop an elite team through intensive conditioning and fitness training.

“Shawn and the entire management team have done an amazing job of building a foundation for our rugby program, where we have been able to attract the best Jewish Rugby players from the USA,” commented Simon. “We have high expectations for the team to take gold medals in both Rugby 15s and Rugby 7s.”

The team roster includes: Zack Abbott of Ann Arbor, MI; Gabe Adler of Los Angeles, CA; Ross Biestman of Oakland, CA; Jared Braun of Berkeley, CA; David Cohen of Marietta, GA; Joel Cohen of Rockville, MD; Seth Cohen of New York, NY; Shawn Cox of Austin, TX; Matthew Crawford of Walnut Creek, CA; Aaron Davis, Team Vice Captain, of Venice, CA; Elliot Dillon-Herzog of Evanston, IL; Raymond Fleser of Narragansett, RI; Taylor Howden of Denver, CO; Joji Kurosaki of Portland, OR; Max Levine of San Francisco, CA; Guy Matisis of Weymouth, MA; Tanner Mohr of Davis, CA; James Murray of New York, NY; Jacob Poliakoff of Poway, CA; Alan Roniss of Long Beach, CA; William Rudman of San Francisco, CA; Michael Rudzinsky of Reading, MA; Ross Silverman of Santa Barbara, CA; Joshua Slater of Denver, CO; Dallen Stanford, Team Captain, of Santa Monica, CA; Kevin Swiryn of Bellevue, WA; Zach Test of Redwood City, CA; Jasper Wilson of New York, NY; Roman Wilson of Norman, OK; Ilya Wortman of Boston, MA.

David Stone, USA Open Men’s Soccer Chair for the 19th World Maccabiah Games, also announced the Open Men’s Soccer team that will participate in the Games. The team will be coached by Preston Goldfarb, whose vast experience includes coaching soccer at the NCAA level for 30 years. Goldfarb will be assisted by Russ Warren.

“Coach Goldfarb has great tactical abilities, as well leadership qualities that will make him ideal for the Maccabiah Team. The players look up to and respect him,” Stone said. “”I expect this team to be very competitive and they will advance to the medal rounds. The team is well-balanced and made up of very strong, tested athletes from some of the best college and club teams in the nation.”

“Expectations for this team are very high. I believe we have the right players to make this team a strong competitor for the Gold Medal,” Goldfarb said. “I always wanted to coach the Open Men’s Soccer Team after coaching the Juniors Team in 2009. This would be the pinnacle of my coaching career, and having a chance to win the Gold makes it more significant.”

Team members include: David Abidor from Northbrook, IL, a sophomore at the University of Dayton; Alexander Arsht from La Jolla, CA, a junior at the University of California San Diego; Ross Friedman from Bexley, OH, a sophomore at Harvard University; Adam Green from Chicago, IL, a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania; Ryan Jones from Holland, PA, a senior at Marywood University; Matthew Kadoch from Wallingford, PA, a senior at Millersville University; Daniel Kohen from Beverly Hills, CA, a sophomore at San Diego State University; Kovi Konowiecki from Long Beach, CA, a junior at Wake Forest University; Scott Lakin from Deerfield, IL, a junior at Northwestern University; Michael Lisch from Austin, TX, a junior at Wake Forest University; Jacob Lissek from Highlands Ranch, CO, a junior at Fairleigh Dickinson University; Steven Miller from Ivyland, PA, a graduate from Colgate University; Evin Nadaner from Bronx, NY, a junior at Boston University; Charles Paris from Venice, CA, a graduate of Yale University; William Pleskow from Culver City, CA, a sophomore at the University of Washington; Drew Rosenberg from Short Hills, NJ, a senior at Peddie School; Scott Rowling from Richboro, PA, a graduate of the University of New Hampshire; Nathaniel Schnitman from Calabasas, CA, a freshman at the University of California Los Angeles; Gary Weisbaum from Baltimore, MD, a graduate of Loyola University Marymount; and Adam Zernik from San Diego, CA, a senior at the University of California San Diego.

Rugby: U.S. Team for Maccabiah Trains With Navy Seals

— by Amir Shoam

The U.S. rugby team for the Maccabiah in Israel this summer will train with the US Navy Seals at their facility on Coronado Island and at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista during this week. The team has been training for the last year under Shawn Lipman, who was an International with the USA Eagles — having played in the Rugby World Cup — and the captain of the USA Maccabiah Team that won the gold in 1997.  

Rugby is the game that most of the western world plays instead of the American football. Despite their common origin, rugby differs from football in many ways, including:

More after the jump.

  • The forward pass is completely forbidden, and players can only advance by breaking the opposition line or running to a ball kicked by a teammate in front of them.
  • The game does not stop after the tackle and substitutions are limited, which requires the players for better aerobic ability.
  • Each team has 15 players on the field: eight forwards who win the ball at set pieces and after the tackle, and seven backs that break the opposition line and score most “tries” (equivalent to touchdown).
  • The game is not violent, and only specific ways of tackling and pushing are allowed, and so the players use minimal protective equipment.

“The squad that we have assembled is the most talented and athletic squad ever assembled and has seven international level players”, said Lipman to the Philadelphia Jewish Voice. “I anticipate all the teams will be better this time and the competition will be very good. We believe that by training, coaching and managing ourselves like a professional elite level team, we will be prepared for the challenge of the tournament”.

The team is expecting a fierce competition from nations like Britain, Australia, South Africa and Israel. For the first time in the Maccabiah the teams will also compete in the seven-a-side format, which is shorter (14 minutes instead of 80) and requires a better athletic ability as the seven players need to cover the whole same-sized field. “We are planning on winning Gold in both”, added Lipman.

After the trials, the team will be fully appointed with additional 18 to 20 players. Ten players have already been named to the team:

From left to right: Dallen Stanford, Matt Hawkins, Zach Test and Shawn Lipman, all are USA Eagles
  • Matthew Crawford, Collegiate All-American in 2011 and 2012;
  • Joji Kurosaki, alumnus of the 2009 Maccabiah, Boston University and University of Oregon Rugby teams;
  • Max Levine, two-time DII Collegiate National Champion, alumnus of the 2009 Maccabiah and Middlebury College Rugby Club Captain;
  • James Murray, 2007 NYS Rugby Men’s College All-Stars — SUNY Cortland;
  • Robert Shaw, Current U.S. National Team Eagle standout and playing professionally in England;
  • Ross Silverman, 2010 U.S. Rugby Federation High Performance Grant Recipient;
  • Joshua Slater, alumnus of the 2009 Maccabiah;
  • Dallen Stanford, USA Eagles;
  • Kevin Swiryn, USA Eagles, American Rugby Union Player and leading scorer and points for the U.S. during the ’08-09 IRB Sevens World Series;
  • Roman Wilson who plays for the Oklahoma City Crusaders;
  • Zach Test, professional Rugby player with the U.S. National Team, alumnus of the 2009 Maccabiah, IRB Sevens World Series in 2010-11, and member of the U.S. Team that took the bronze at the 2011 Pan American Games.

The tournament will start on July 19. Follow the Philadelphia Jewish Voice on Facebook and Twitter for additional coverage of the team as preperation progress.