Jews & Sports

from Big Mo's Sports Desk

Texas Jewish Basketball Team Granted Shabbat Exception,
Set to Play in State Semifinal

By Zachary Lichaa in The Algemeiner Journal


The Beren Academy Boys Basketball team has just claimed a big victory off the court which will allow them to go for one on it.

The 23-5 team, which was planning to forfeit it’s Friday night state semifinal matchup against Dallas Covenant due to a scheduling conflict with the Jewish Sabbath, has just been awarded an exemption that will allow the game to happen.

“We greatly appreciate the strong outpouring of support from so many,” the school said on Thursday.

“We particularly want to acknowledge the many member schools in TAPPS who supported efforts to change the schedule to enable our boys to play. Special thanks to Our Lady of the Hills Catholic High School for allowing us to reschedule the start time of the regional finals game this past Friday, February 24th.”

Taaps is the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.Previously the agency's nine-member board unanimously voted down a request by Beren to have the game time moved.

This story garnered considerable attention nationally, with coaches, administrators, and athletes all weighing in. Tamir Goodman, a basketball star once dubbed the "Jewish Jordan" by Sports Illustrated, told FoxNews that he had met with Beren players earlier this year and admired their convictions.

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“When Beren’s joined years ago, we advised them that the Sabbath would present them with a problem with the finals. In the past, Tapps has held firmly to their rules because if schedules are changed for these schools, it’s hard for other schools,” Taaps Director Edd Burelson told the New York Times.

Beren Academy’s head basketball coach, Chris Cole, said the school was advised about the potential conflict. When their request was denied, "We continued having light practices in case a miracle would happen. We wanted to be prepared."

“The sacred mission will trump excellence in the secular world,” Rabbi Harry Sinoff, Beren’s head of school, said Monday in a telephone interview with the Times.

“This is something that we did know and were made aware of. We would just like there to be some sort of flexibility on the rare occasion that we get this far,” Cole told earlier this week.

It appears that flexibility has been granted.


[From //, with some added material included in the links to the NY Times and Fox News provided in the article]

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