Who We Are

Jewish American Taekwondo (JAT) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to identify Jewish American Taekwondo athletes with the desire and ability to compete internationally, and to support them financially in the pursuit of their dreams.  

JAT grew out of Master Mark Lesly’s responsibility as Maccabi USA Taekwondo Chair to select and field a team of Jewish American taekwondo athletes for the World Maccabi Games, held in Israel every four years. The World Maccabi Games is the third largest sporting event in the world, after only the Olympics and the World University Games, with 85 Countries and 10,000 athletes participating in July 2017. Taekwondo has become increasingly expensive to participate in year after year. This past summer, two highly qualified athletes were unable to represent the USA in Israel because their families could not afford the expenses. 

While one focus is providing financial assistance to the team that will represent the USA in the 2021 World Maccabi Games, JAT believes that previous international experience is a key element for those athletes to have their best chance for success. This is why JAT’s goals include supporting athletes during the years leading up to the Games, including USAT and/or AAU Nationals, the US Open, the Canada Open, the Mexico Open and the Israel Open. In addition, we are looking to organize periodic training sessions to build team camaraderie, and to provide our athletes with the opportunity to train with other elite coaches who can offer their insights to our athletes’ training. 

In addition, our Board of Directors members are 100% volunteers and include coaches, referees, parents and athletes. Other than minor and unavoidable expenses, all funds raised will go to athlete development and support. 

Interested in becoming a part of JAT or want to learn more? We want you to be involved, too! If you are a potential athlete, a coach or parent of a potential athlete, think you may wish to support our goals, or just want to learn more about JAT, please contact us. We hope that you will spread the word about JAT and we look forward to working on behalf of our Jewish American Taekwondo athletes!