Former Bainbridge High School lacrosse standout Alexander Rabin recently took to the field in a far more exotic locale to play for world-class stakes.
The Class of 2011 island grad, who went on to play at Western Washington University from 2013-2016, was selected to represent Israel recently when the country’s national team competed in the Federation of International Lacrosse Men’s World Championship.
Israel hosted the event, which ran from July 12-21 in Netanya, with Rabin playing attack, one of 13 Jewish diaspora (Jews living outside Israel) players from the U.S. and Canada selected for the 30-man roster.
Rabin’s career truly kicked into high gear during his senior year at WWU, where he reportedly exploded into the stats with a team-high 43 goals in 23 games.
He then began his Team Israel career with a “birthright trip,” participating in clinics and exhibitions as well as playing in the 2017 Israel Premier Lacrosse League for Haifa. He scored 15 goals and added six assists, the eighth-best in the league.
Rabin chatted with the Review about the recent national tournament, wherein Israel placed seventh overall, lacrosse, and his future plans.
* This transcript has been edited for length and clarity.
BIR: How do you feel about how Israel did in the championship tournament?
AR: Unless you come away with the ultimate prize, you’ll always feel there is room for improvement. Israel placed seventh in the world for the second tournament running. We are always hoping to increase our standing and will absolutely carry the energy from 2018 into our next opportunity. The game is growing and so is the competition.
BIR: How does a BHS grad end up playing world-class LAX in Israel, anyway? I understand you have a family connection there?
AR: The lacrosse community on Bainbridge is incredible, and without it I wouldn’t be where I am today. Coach Jack Visco has been a stalwart and presence for so many young athletes for many years, and many other figures have helped guide student-athletes forward. I can’t thank them enough. It takes a village.
I have family in both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and being able to see them whilst abroad for eight months was a great aspect of my time in Israel.
BIR: I’m told each player chose a charity to play for. What was yours, and why did you pick it?
AR: JDC, or American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.
“Active today in some 70 countries, we work to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and help Israel overcome the social challenges of its most vulnerable citizens, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Our reach extends beyond the global Jewish community by providing high-impact disaster relief and long-term development assistance worldwide.”
The global impact of JDC, and it’s outreach to assist the lives of Jews and non-Jews alike, was my inspiration for the World Championships hosted in Israel. I have a deep-seated sense of care and sympathy for those in difficult life situations, from homelessness and displacement to hunger and lack of opportunity, and the JDC addresses these concerns head-on for groups of people who may not otherwise receive attention they deserve. Specifically, as my career develops, one of the goals I have is to channel any possible resources toward solutions regarding homelessness and hunger.
We live in a society of “extra,” and we do not have solutions for those who do not have enough. We need to come together and solve these issues. As a society, we have no excuses.
BIR: Is LAX big in Israel? It’s gaining prominence in America, but I had no idea it was popular over there.
AR: It’s growing, and fast. Jewish Americans coming to Israel have helped assist the growth of lacrosse in Israel at the international and local levels. We have a youth league consisting of over a dozen boys teams, half a dozen girls teams, and it grows each year. We are most proud of growing the game and sharing it with the kids here, beyond our competitive men’s standings.
BIR: What’s next for you personally now that the championship is over?
AR: Work! I’ll be back to the area soon and my job search begins anew. I went to school at Western Washington University with a focus on marketing, so I hope to find a good opportunity soon and continue my career in the states.
BIR: Besides the opportunity to travel, what has LAX added to your life?
AR: Relatively speaking, lacrosse is a small sport. The community is tight-knit, and the relationships strong. It has fostered discipline and desire, happiness and opportunity, and the chance to give back to those around me. I cannot thank my coaches, teammates, parents and peers from Bainbridge Island — and WWU, and Israel Lacrosse — enough for creating the opportunity for my wonderful journey. It takes a village.
BIR: Do you feel like a kind of ambassador for the U.S., playing overseas among athletes from so many nationalities? Does the thought alter your approach to the game at all?
AR: I just feel like another one of the players. It’s amazing to see players from across the world converge in an amazing place like Israel to celebrate and compete in our game. I’ve always loved to travel and experience new cultures, and to have a gathering of those things focused on lacrosse is truly a dream come true.