Ya’ir Sasson and Joshua Marx recently returned from the Pan American Maccabi Games in Buenos Aries, Argentina. The Games were Dec. 27, until Jan. 5. Ya’ir and Josh were both part of the Maccabi USA team, and this was the first international competition for both of them. Ya’ir competed in U16 swimming, and Josh in U18 tennis. Ya’ir Sasson earned seven medals. He won Gold in the 4 x 100 Meter Freestyle Relay, Silver in 50 and 100 Meter Backstroke, and Bronze in 4 x 50 Meter Freestyle Relay, 50 Meter Freestyle, 100 Meter Butterfly and 200 Meter Individual Medley.
The Pan American Maccabi Games was Joshua Marx’s first tournament, and he received a bronze medal for tennis doubles.
The Pan American Maccabi Games are a celebration of Jewish unity, culture, and heritage through world athletic competition and occur every four years. This year there were more than 4,000 athletes from 20 countries: including 70 athletes from Israel.
Sasson is a 16-year-old junior at Albany High School. He is the son of Laurie Sasson and Idan Sasson. He has been swimming competitively since he was 6 years old. He swam in the 2019 Jr Maccabi Games in Philadelphia and in the 2022 Maccabi Games in San Diego, where he medaled in all 12 events. He has also been swimming with Albany High’s varsity team since 7th grade. Last year, alongside three of his teammates, Ya’ir qualified for the New York State Championship meet for the 200 Medley Relay, swimming the 50 fly. The team placed 13th overall, outplacing several rival teams that they had been trailing throughout the season. He is a scholar athlete, earning principal’s list for every marking period throughout high school. When he is not in the pool he often surrounds himself with music. He has played the piano for 10 years and has been playing saxophone and singing for four years.
Marx is a 17-year-old senior at Albany High School. He is the son of Rogerio Marx and Naomi Falk. Joshua has been playing tennis since his freshman year of high school. He plays for the Albany High School varsity tennis team. He is an honor student at Albany High School and was inducted into the National Honor Society. Outside of school, Marx works at Retina Consultants where he is an ophthalmic imaging technician. In his free time, Joshua volunteers with the ALERT Organization (Albany Law Enforcement Resolution Team). This organization works on building better relationships between the community and Law Enforcement. He is on the planning committee for the Albany Sports Challenge June 29, 2024, at the MVP arena.
Both boys report that they enjoyed their experiences in Argentina. They had an opportunity to compete against other Jewish athletes and form relationships with them.
“This year’s games were especially meaningful after the October 7 attacks. Our strength is in our unity and in our youth, ” said Laurie Sasson, mother of Yair.