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Maccabiah Games

By Chris Waters, 08/17/22, 11:00AM CDT


Most hockey players take July to play a different sport, spend time with family, or maybe work with a skills coach to get ready for the upcoming season. However, several local athletes and one coach took part in the hottest event of the 21st Maccabiah during July in Israel.
Sometimes described as the “Jewish Olympics” the Maccabiah is the third largest sporting event in the world with over 10,000 athletes representing 80 countries. The United States competed against Canada, Israel, and Team Europe in four divisions: men’s, women’s, men’s u18, and men’s masters (40 and older). This was the fourth time hockey was played at the Maccabiah and the second time it was held at the Pais Arena in Jerusalem, home of the Hapoel Jerusalem professional basketball team.
There was great hockey played in front of big crowds, including the opening game, and closing game that were sold out with nearly 10,000 excited fans. The tournament concluded with the United States beating Canada for the gold in the men’s division, while Canada won gold in the other three divisions and the United States winning silver including an exciting 5-4 win in OT in the U18 division.
Representing the men’s u18 team were Ben Schreibman (Chicago) who most recently played forward at Lane Tech High School; Joseph Deitcher (Chicago) who currently plays for the Chicago Jets, Connor Hirschtritt (Wilmette) who played for the Chicago Reapers last season and will be playing at New Trier High School this season; and Brendan Fields (Ladera Ranch, CA) who played for the Windy City Storm last season. Chris Waters (Libertyville) coach of Buffalo Grove/Hersey/Wheeling High School hockey club was a coach for the U18 team.
Representing the women’s team were Karen Levin (Skokie), Liv Rubenstein (Glencoe); Sammi Edelson (Northbrook), and Shira Wein (Chicago) who plays for Loyola and Chicago Mission.
Representing the men’s team were: Asher Motew (Highland Park), Max Roth (Evanston) and Jesse Lowell (Northbrook). Asher grew up playing for the Falcons and played AAA with Team Illinois, CYA, and Mission. He currently plays goalie for DePaul’s ACHA D2 team. Max grew up playing for Wilmette and then New Trier High School before playing NCAA D3 hockey at Worcester State University. Jesse grew up playing for Northbrook, Glenbrook North High School, and Chicago Mission. He currently plays ACHA D1 for the University of Arizona.
Representing the master’s team were Ron Kalish (Glenview), Steve Kohn (Glencoe), Matt Cohen (Highland Park), Robin Solomon (Glencoe), Mike Goldberg (Deerfield), Loren Greenspan (Chicago), David Finn (Northbrook), and Russ Brenner (Chicago).
The U18, men’s, and women’s team were selected at tryouts held near Philadelphia, PA in June of 2021. The teams first played together at training camp held at the beginning of July this summer before travelling together to Israel on July 6. During their time in Israel, in addition to practicing, training, and playing hockey, the players and coaches visited historically and culturally significant sites and experience Jewish and Israeli culture.  One of the players stated towards the end of the trip: “Judaism and hockey have been huge parts of my life and who I am. Being able to combine the two and being able to do that Israel is just an amazing opportunity.”
The next Maccabiah will be held in July of 2025. Hockey tryouts will be held during the summer of 2024 with dates and location TBD. The U18 team will be comprised of players between the 2007 – 2010 birth years. Please contact Chris Waters at if you are interested in more information or want to be on the list of prospective players for 2025. You can follow more of the events of trip on twitter @MaccabiHockey or on Instagram @MaccabiUSAicehockey