Letter: JCC Maccabi Games were an incredible high

   I am still recovering from the high I experienced from the incredible JCC Maccabi Games. From the opening ceremony to the closing fair, it was a week that has been captured in many photos and is far more profound than they can show.

   I am most struck knowing how the week had a lasting impact on 850 young Jews. The kids who participated had a Jewish experience that changed their lives. Several of the young athletes approached me to say so.

   I saw the earnest faces of the athletes, from all parts of the world, as they competed and got to know each other. I know they represent our future and as our future leaders they will shine; and the future of our communities is in good hands.

   The incredible sculpture of the Olympic torch by Richard Edelman has been installed on the Max and Anita Karl Jewish Community Campus, serving as a permanent reminder of the Games. The sculpture is made of 11 broken Olympic circles, representing the murdered Israeli athletes from the 1972 summer games.

   At the opening ceremony, each of us wore a bracelet with the name of one of the fallen athletes, and each of us rose as the athletes whose names we wore were read aloud. After 11 names, the entire Bradley Center was standing, and not a dry eye was in the place.

   All this feeling was captured by Rich in his art, and it will be with us forever as a reminder of the important work we do to remember and renew. We are truly blessed.

   I am proud of the terrific work of the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center in pulling off such a fabulous week. I am proud of the hard work of the hundreds of volunteers, host families, security personnel, logistics coordinators and coaches. I am proud of our incredible co-chairs of the event: Nancy Kennedy Barnett, Jamie Miller and Moshe Katz; and of Jesse Rosen who coordinated the whole shebang.

   I am proud to live in a community of such riches of dedicated people and friends who commit so thoughtfully to providing a meaningful and fun experience to enhance the Jewish identity of so many.

   Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen. Thank you for enriching my life.

Hannah Rosenthal

   Hannah Rosenthal is president and chief executive officer of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation.