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Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Elitzur all star basketball team (for ages 14-16) visited the US on a two week journey that included a round of exciting games throughout the country. The Elizur Center is a religious sports organization in Israel that promotes sports in the religious and traditional sectors.

On the tour, the team played against camps throughout New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

This is the third team that has embarked on the journey since the renewal of this tradition by the current administration headed by Chairman Eli Etsion. Last year’s Elitzur team generated a lot of excitement among the camps, so this year the number of games has increased from six to nine, and in a variety of new places.

Everywhere the players arrived, campers came to see the “Israeli all star team.” In addition to the games, the players played all kind of sports with young players, as well as initiating joint activities with the youth on zionism, aliyah and Jerusalem. The team included 12 players from the various Elitzur associations: Rehovot, Modi’in, Gush Etzion, Hevel Yavneh, Petah Tikva, Hashmonaim, Netanya, Kochav Yair and Ra’anana.

For the second year in a row, the team was led by coach Tom Cohen of Elitzur Netanya, joined by Roi Sharoni (educational and professional director), Shay Glickstein (project manager) and Eli Etsion (Head of Delegation). The team visited local camps including Moshava, Masorah, Dora Golding, Seneca Lake, Morasha and Lavi.

During the first Shabbat the team was hosted in Hillside/Elizabeth for an amazing weekend.

During the second week, the team toured the UN headquarters as guests of Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon, who arrived with his personal advisor Noy Berger, explained the actions of the Israeli embassy at the UN, congratulated the players and wished them a successful journey. Then they visited Brooklyn, and the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s house, where they received a personal tour from R’ Mendel Eisenbach, who even showed the players the Rebbe’s personal room.

The second Shabbat was hosted, organized and sponsored by the community of Kehillas Beis Yehuda in Suffern, New York. The players and members of the delegation were hosted by various members of the community, prayed together in the synagogue on Shabbat morning and then ate Shabbat lunch prepared by community member Mickey Montal. Seudat shlishit was hosted by Doron and Fay Cohen, followed by a musical and emotional Havdallah. The team then had one last basketball game against youngsters of the KBY community.

After a two week journey, the players returned to Israel with unforgettable memories.