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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Maccabi USA Rugby Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

Press Release

Philadelphia, PA, January 23, 2017 – The inaugural class of the Maccabi USA Rugby Hall of Fame will be inducted Friday, March 3, 2017 in Las Vegas alongside the USA Rugby Sevens, part of the World Series of Rugby. The inductees are Jeff Ebner (z”l), Craig Levine, Jeff Simon, and Jordan Weinstein.

Jeff Ebner (z”l), formerly of Springfield, OH, was a fly-half/center for the 1989 bronze Medal team. He was inducted into the Sciotto Valley Rugby Hall of Fame in 2006. Jeff began his rugby career at the University of Minnesota and also played with Des Moines, Dallas Harlequins and Dayton. He played all-star rugby for Heart of America RFU, Texas RFU and Ohio RFU. Jeff will be inducted posthumously. His son Nate Ebner of the USA Olympic Rugby Team and Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots will accept the honor on his behalf.

Craig Levine, of Eliot, ME, was a Hooker and gold medalist for Maccabi USA Rugby at the 1997 World Maccabiah Games, a silver medalist in 1993, Captain of the 1991 bronze Medalists, Head Coach of the 2009 bronze Medal team and 1995 Pan-Am gold Medalist in Rugby Sevens. He began his rugby career at San Diego State University where he played between 1988 and 1991. Craig also played for the USA National Rugby Team in 1998, USA Rugby East and was a two time Harp Super League All-Star. He was inducted to the Old Blue Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Jeff Simon, of Northbrook, IL, Head Coach of the gold Medal Maccabi USA Rugby team in 1997, won silver as vice-captain and fullback/scrum-half in 1993, bronze as Fullback in 1989 and served as Rugby Chairman from 1998 to 2013. He played for the Chicago Lions from 1986 to 1994 and during several of those years played for both the Midwest RFU 15’s and 7’s All Star Teams; and was the 1990 Midwest 7’s MVP. Jeff’s rugby career began at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1981 and was on the first ever Texas Collegiate All-Star team in 1984.

Jordan Weinstein, of Uxbridge, MA won a bronze medal as a wing for Team USA in the inaugural rugby competition at the World Maccabiah Games in 1985, and served as Rugby Chairman from 1987 to 1995. He is considered the “Godfather” of Maccabi USA Rugby. Jordan was the chairman when the USA won its first ever Gold Medal in Maccabiah competition in 7’s at the 1995 Pan Am Maccabiah Games in Argentina. He was the impetus for the addition of Rugby Sevens at the World Maccabiah Games.

“We are inducting four great men into our first Hall of Fame class. All four epitomize commitment, sacrifice, winning and camaraderie. There were so many great choices, and as we do, we debated it heavily, but our Godfather, the first Head Coach of a US Gold Medal in rugby in the Maccabiah Games, a five time Maccabi medalist and our fallen brother, who grew the game and impacted so many, as personified by his son, a rugby Olympian and Super Bowl Champion, is a fine way to start a new tradition for a team, a family and a people who have so much great tradition,” said Jon Velie, Chairman of the Maccabi USA Rugby Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held Friday, March 3rd from 7:30-9:30pm at the Border Grill at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. To purchase tickets or for additional information contact Jon Velie at jon@velielaw.com or 405-821-5959 and visit www.usmaccabiahrugby.com.

About the organization:

Maccabi USA (MUSA) is a federally-recognized not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization with an extensive history of enriching Jewish lives through athletic, cultural and educational programs.  The organization is the official sponsor of the United States Team to the World Maccabiah Games, and the Pan American and European Maccabi Games, as well as a sponsor of the JCC Maccabi Games for teens in North America.  As the official Maccabi representative in the U.S., Maccabi USA supports Jewish athletic endeavors, enhanced by cultural and educational activities in the United States, Israel and throughout the Diaspora.

MUSA develops, promotes and supports international, national and regional athletic-based activities and facilities.  It strives to provide Jewish athletes the world over the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings.  MUSA supports programs that embody the Maccabi ideals of Jewish Continuity, Zionism and Excellence in Sport.  Maccabi USA Builds Jewish Pride Through Sports.

Maccabi USA is a U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Multi-Sport Organization (MSO). The organization is one of 38 MSOs nationwide to be recognized by the USOC for its ability to cultivate a national interest in sport and increase opportunities for participation internationally, nationally and at the grassroots level.

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