Texas Jewish Hoops Team Loses Shabbat Appeal

By JTA

Published March 01, 2012.
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A Texas school association voted a second time not to reschedule a state tournament semi-final game so that an Orthodox high school can play.

Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools executive board voted Wednesday 8-0 with one member absent to affirm a vote Monday not to reschedule a boys basketball state tournament semi-final game so that the Robert M. Beren Academy of Houston can participate, following an appeal from the school.

Beren was scheduled to play Dallas Covenant on Friday night at 9 p.m. in one of the two semifinal games in the boys 2A category. The finals are scheduled for 2 p.m. the next day. Both games conflict with Shabbat.

The school’s decision to forfeit the game if it cannot be rescheduled has generated worldwide coverage.

In a statement posted on its website Wednesday, TAPPS said that when the school met with the board in 2009 to discuss membership, it was told that tournament games are scheduled on Friday and Saturday, and that the school’s athletic director said that he “understood” and “did not see a problem.”

“When TAPPS was organized in the late 1970’s, the member schools at that time all recognized Sunday as the day of worship. The By-Laws were written to state that ‘TAPPS would not schedule any competition or activities on Sunday’. At that time, there were no member schools that observed their Sabbath on Saturday,” the statement said.

The statement also said that “Every effort was made to schedule finals on Saturday, since many parents did not work on Saturday and could attend their children’s games.”

According to the by-laws, the Beren team should have removed itself from contention at the beginning of the playoffs when it realized that it could not “follow the schedule as provided by TAPPS,” the statement pointed out.


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