Van Raalte, Minkoff Represent U.S. At Pan American Maccabi GamesFebruary 13, 2004
Springfield College Professor of Psychology Judy L. Van Raalte of Wilbraham, Mass., and student David Minkoff of Oceanside, N.Y., competed at the 10th Pan American Maccabi Games in Santiago, Chile, December 24, 2003 through January 4, 2004.
Van Raalte competed as a member of the United States Open Tennis Team, while Minkoff competed with the United States Youth Soccer team. The United States Team, sponsored by Maccabi USA/Sports for Israel, sent its largest delegation ever to this international competition.
Van Raalte is director of the Springfield College master's program in athletic counseling. She also coached the College’s women's tennis team to a 51-12 record from 1992-1997. Minkoff is a sophomore physical education major and goalkeeper for men’s soccer.
More than 600 athletes, coaches, medical professionals, staff and sponsors from over 32 states joined more than 2,000 athletes from 20 countries including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Great Britain, South Africa, Hungary, Australia, and Israel at the Games. The Pan American Maccabi Games, Sponsored by Maccabi World Union, are a quadrennial international competition for Jewish athletes from the Americas and invited countries.
The 600-member United States delegation is typically the size of the one that attends the World Maccabiah Games in Israel, the fifth largest international athletic event in the world.
Sports for this year's Pan American Maccabi games included baseball, basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, golf, gymnastics, judo, karate, soccer, softball, squash, swimming, table tennis, tennis, half marathon, volleyball, and water polo. Men's and women's teams for selected sports are organized in age categories of juniors, youth, open, and masters.
Van Raalte participated in the Open Tennis division and captured bronze medals in singles and mixed doubles, playing with Jon Rubenstein of New Jersey. Van Raalte also led the U.S. team to the gold medal in the team competition. "It was an amazing cultural experience," said Van Raalte, "and I was thrilled with the our on court victories. My current goal is to improve my Spanish!"
Minkoff’s team captured the bronze, bested only by Argentina and Brazil. “We only lost one game and it was to (first-place) Argentina. We were the only team to score on Argentina,” said Minkoff. “It was an amazing experience and the greatest soccer competition I’ve ever seen,” he said, adding that this was his third international Maccabiah competition. Minkoff is the son of alumnus Arnie Minkoff.