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Jewish School That Refused to Play Hoops on Shabbat Lost State Championship

Beren Academy, which made international headlines last year with its battle to avoid a forfeit in the Texas state boys’ basketball tournament over a Sabbath scheduling conflict, lost a quadruple overtime game in the state semifinals.

Beren lost by one-point to Boerne Geneva after a last-second layup to win the game rimmed in and out. The Houston Jewish day school was down by three points in the closing seconds of the third overtime, but kept thier chances alive with a running three-pointer to tie the game at the buzzer.

The schools were playing a semi-final game in Fort Worth in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 2A tournament – for schools with enrollments of 55 to 120 students. Supporters say Beren would have been the first Jewish school to win a state championship.

Beren lost in the 2A title game last season after initially being forced to forfeit its semifinal because the game, scheduled for Friday night, conflicted with the Sabbath. The academy fought TAPPS to have the game rescheduled to Friday afternoon and eventually won the battle.

Following the controversy, TAPPS instituted a new policy, posted on the association’s website, stating that religious accommodation “shall be the standard as TAPPS prepares for state competitions that are accessible to all member schools and the students that they serve through team activities.” The new policy went into effect for the 2012-13 school year.

Meanwhile, Chicagoland Jewish High School is set to play Saturday night for a trip to the Class 1A state semifinals in Illinois.

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