Bay Area athletes win Maccabi gold in Brazil

A host of athletes from the Bay Area competed in the 12th Pan Am Maccabi Games in São Paulo, Brazil, held Dec. 26 to Jan. 2, and some of them returned home with medals.

David Liss of San Francisco played on the U.S. team that won the gold in the open men’s basketball division. The U.S. squad compiled a perfect 6-0 record, which included a 96-86 win over Israel in the semifinals and an 87-70 win over Canada in the final.

Daniel Winnick of Walnut Creek was a member of the gold medal–winning open men’s softball team, and David Aufhauser of Burlingame played on the U.S. team that won the gold medal in masters (35 and older) men’s basketball.

Maccabi USA sent a 330-member delegation to Brazil for the games, with 25 U.S. teams competing in four divisions (juniors, youth, open and masters) in 10 sports.

Joey Gullickson of Sonoma, Jesse Barush of Napa and Michael Rosenthal of Orinda were all part of a talented U.S. water polo team that had to settle for a silver medal in open men’s division. With only two teams competing, the U.S. and Brazil went head-to-head in five matches; the U.S. went 3-0-1 and outscored Brazil 51-30 in the first four, but then lost 10-9 in the final.

Brett Finkelstein of San Rafael, Marc Tonkel of Saratoga and Jared Bernstein of Los Gatos played on the U.S. team that took silver in open men’s soccer. The United States posted wins over Israel, Chile and Venezuela on its way to the final, but then lost 2-1 to Brazil.

Other silver medals were won by Nora Tomlinson Weintraub of Burlingame (open women’s soccer) and Jacob Sippel of Berkeley (junior boys soccer). Eitan Gelber of San Jose and Joshua Goldstein of Cupertino were two of the trainers for the U.S. squad.