Meredith Shifman and the Next Pan American Maccabi Event in Argentina
Meredith Shifman first learned about the Jewish Olympics, better known as the Maccabi Games, her freshman year of college. As an athlete on the university field hockey team herself, she knew one day she’d need to get involved.
Once she got involved in Maccabi, she was able to experience it from every angle. She played on the field hockey team, coached the field hockey team afterward, and served as chair of the sport in the Israel games in 2022.
For the December 2023 Panamerican Maccabi games in Argentina, Meredith will serve as Chair of a package curated for family members of US athletes who want to travel to support their loved ones and the USA delegation.
Meredith’s mission since participating as an athlete in the 2017 Maccabi games has been to elevate the already incredible experience of her athletes.
But in the upcoming Panamerican games, she’s taken her role a step further by creating an incredible experience for the families of the athletes and supporters of Team USA
In March, Meredith traveled to Argentina with the Gil Travel team to meet local hosts for the games and help plan the trip.
“Rather than people choosing between the mission and traveling to see the country, we planned an excursion to Bariloche, the Northernmost part of Patagonia[…] It would also be an opportunity to connect to each other before embarking on the competition part of the trip,” Meredith said about the carefully planned itinerary.
“Sports is a great connector. It transcends religiosity and national bounds. The best part of Maccabi has been connecting to like-minded people and meeting with the Jewish diaspora to see how similar we all are.”
The Mission includes two different Luxury trip options to see Argentina with a Jewish spin, and details like Opening Ceremony Tickets, credentials, transportation and more are covered. There are expected to be 80-100 people on the mission, 25 or so in the Gold mission.
The trip will include a Pre-Games excursion to Patagonia, including four nights in Bariloche, as well as a Shabbat dinner hosted by the U.S. Ambassador to Argentina in his private residence.
There will be other opportunities on the trip to experience Argentinian culture, including a Tango show, a Gaucho experience, and an Asado barbecue.
But the most important part of the agenda is the games.
“Starting with the opening ceremony and supporting all of the competitors across sports and age groups, everything centers around the games. You can always find another trip to Argentina, and certainly another Jewish trip, but I don’t know of any other Jewish sports trips. This is a unique opportunity to meet and travel with like-minded people and watch high-level international sports.”
When asked about the difference between the Israeli and Pan Am Maccabi games, Meredith says, “as opposed to the Israeli one, this is a more intimate experience. Of course, the Israeli Maccabi games are special because of our connection to the Jewish homeland, but the PanAm event is about connection to the Jewish diaspora. There aren’t that many Jewish people in the world and sometimes we lose sight of that, especially if we live in places where there’s a condensed Jewish population. It’s vital to stay connected to the diaspora and form these relationships. I’ve formed an appreciation for the fact that although we live halfway across the globe from each other and might also speak different languages, we have shared history and shared traditions. Just as important as connecting to Israel, we also need to connect to each other.”
Gil Travel Group has been working with Maccabi USA for 41 years logistically, operationally, and creatively. To learn more about the trip, Click Here.