COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – Ellen Goldstein's latest summer trip was one she will never forget.
Goldstein, a 2015 Ursinus graduate, brought home plenty of memories and a gold medal as a member of the United States Open Women's Fastpitch softball team that took home the top prize at the Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem. The U.S. won its final six games, including an 8-1 victory over Canada in the final to claim gold. Goldstein played second base in all seven contests, starting six.
This summer marked the 20th Maccabiah Games, which occur every four years following the Olmypics. Always held in Israel, the Games bring together top Jewish athletes from around the world in three different age groups: Open, Masters, and Juniors. This year's Maccabiah Games featured more than 10,000 athletes from 80 different countries.
In addition to the competitive experience, Goldstein and her teammates also participated in Israel Connect, a week-long educational and cultural program run by Maccabi USA that "provides the athletes the opportunity to visit the most important historical and cultural sites in Israel, and to experience what Israel was in the past, what she has become, and what she hopes to be in the future," according to the Maccabi USA website.
"We would practice in the mornings and go on tours in the afternoons," Goldstein said. "We visited the Old City in Jerusalem, went to the Western Wall, explored the streets of Tel Aviv, went to Rabin Square, visited Latrun, explored The Sidonian Caves, floated in the Dead Sea, went to the top of and explored Masada, had dinner at the Bedouin Tents, and went to Mount Herzl and Yad Vashem."
Goldstein played in 104 games for the Bears, posting a .235 average and career totals of 50 hits, 38 runs, 18 RBI, eight stolen bases, four doubles, and one triple. As a senior in 2015, she hit .253 with career bests in hits (24), runs (19), RBI (11), doubles (3), and on-base percentage (.372).
An Exercise & Sports Science major, Goldstein was named to the Centennial Conference Spring Academic Honor Roll all three years in which she was eligible.
"The trip itself was amazing," Goldstein said. "Getting to tour all the different parts of the country and experience the culture. It was so much fun getting to play against different countries and then interact with them after. It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime trip!"