Brookline’s Adriana Davidovsky adores sports. The 49-year-old prefers softball, although any sport will do. At Yom Sport, she’s excited to throw a softball as far as she can.

But the June 3 event, now in its 23rd year, is also about coming together.

“This is a chance to see my friends, hang out and compete. I get together with people I don’t see very often,” she says. Davidovsky first learned about Yom Sport through Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Boston (JBBBS).


She enjoys the thrill of competing (in fact, she’s participated in the Special Olympics since 2003), although she admits that some events are tougher than others.

“One thing is kind of hard: trying to get a golf ball inside that little hole it’s supposed to go in!” she says with a laugh.

Caroline Steuart is excited, too. The 29-year-old Arlington resident learned about Yom Sport through MAGIC, another JBBBS program in which young adults match with a friend with disabilities and attend monthly events together, like concerts and karaoke.

“I’ve been doing this for 10 years. I just love being with my friends,” Caroline says.

Her mother, Mary, says that Caroline anticipates the event every year, and she’s grateful for the opportunity to spend time with friends in an athletic setting.

“Within Jewish circles, there’s just so much offered for people with disabilities,” she says. “And this is different, because it’s fun but with a little bit of friendly competition sprinkled in.”

(Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)

Yom Sport is a collaboration between Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP) and JBBBS. Athletes participate in a welcome ceremony, compete in sports like standing broad jump and baton relays and earn medals at the end. Then, of course, there’s lunch.

Volunteers lead competitions, present awards and make sure the games go smoothly.

David Shumsky has volunteered since Yom Sport started with just 30 athletes. Today, there are roughly 140 adults who participate. It fills an important niche, much like the Special Olympics for kids, he says.

Here, adult athletes can push beyond their comfort zone in a safe space. Many try certain sports for the first time, like relay races or football tosses. They feel proud, and their friends love to cheer them on.

“These are noncompetitive games that are still challenging,” Shumsky says. “They’re pushing themselves, and you can just feel the energy and the enthusiasm.”

This year’s event happens at Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton. Opening ceremonies begin at 11:15 a.m.

“I live in Newtonville, and I see athletes around town all the time. They come up to me and ask, ‘When’s Yom Sport? I can’t wait.’ It gets them to come together because they don’t have a lot of opportunities like this where they can reconnect each year. A lot of them live in isolated situations, with their parents or in a group home. But here, it’s all about them,” Shumsky says.

Register and learn more here.