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Jewish school to give up shot at state championship to observe Sabbath
February 29th, 2012
03:50 PM ET

Jewish school to give up shot at state championship to observe Sabbath

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - With a shot at high school state championship glory on the line, a Jewish basketball team in Texas is opting for the sidelines, aiming for something a little higher.

The Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston will forfeit its semifinal playoff spot in the Class 2A basketball championships this weekend because the game falls on a Friday night, the start of the Jewish Sabbath.

The private Orthodox Jewish school observes the weekly Jewish day of rest, called Shabbat, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

"You get put in adversity and the way you handle things says a lot about your character. So this is an opportunity to show our character," Chris Cole, coach of the Beren Stars, told CNN Houston affiliate KPRC.

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The playoffs for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) are set for this weekend. Beren Academy's semifinal game and the championship game are both scheduled during the Sabbath observance.

"If we give up this opportunity for our religion it just shows how much we deeply care for it," Isaac Buchine, a player on the Beren Stars, told KPRC.

"We are hopeful that the TAPPS league will move the games a few hours so that we can compete," the school said in a statement posted on its website.

"This is a testament to our school and to Coach Cole for his support and dedication, that, independent of the desire to compete, is the desire to uphold our Jewish values,” the statement continued. “We are proud of who we are, and have the courage to act accordingly."

By Wednesday, more than 5,000 people had signed an online petition, supported by the school, to move the Beren Stars’ semifinal game to Friday morning.

Over the weekend, school officials appealed to the league to find another time for the game, but the league said in a statement Wednesday the appeal was unanimously voted down by the league's nine-member board.

Cole is holding out hope that the TAPPS board will change its mind and reschedule the Stars’ games.

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The Jewish observance of the Sabbath comes from the book of Genesis. In the week-long creation story, God creates the world, and all that is in it, in six days. After seeing that it is "very good," God rests on the seventh day.

How Jews practice that rest varies, but in Orthodox sects, it often means no working, driving or cooking. Many observant Jews also attend religious services on Shabbat.

Observance of the Sabbath can pose a challenge for observant Jews living in a culture on a different timetable.

Yuri Foreman , a champion boxer and rabbi in training, postponed a major fight in 2010 because it fell on a Saturday night. He took the ring once the sun went down.

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut independent, has been known to walk miles to his Washington home when votes on the Senate floor run into Friday night.

Lieberman wrote a book about Shabbat and told CNN's Belief Blog last year the stringent rules around the observation serve an important part in preservation of the Jewish faith.

Founded in the late 1970s, the TAPPS league is made up of 220 schools. In a statement posted on its website by the TAPPS executive board, the league said at the time of its organization, no member schools observed the Sabbath on Saturday. At the same time, the bylaws forbid games on Sunday, a nod to Christian Sabbath observance.

The league statement also said Beren Academy first met with league officials in June 2009 to discuss joining TAPPS.

"At that time, the Board pointed out that TAPPS schedules its team sports championship on Fridays and Saturdays, which would conflict with Beren’s observation of their Sabbath,” the statement said. “The Board pointed out that the posted schedule for the state tournament would be followed and no changes made, unless weather related or similar conditions existed."

The league also pointed out another rule in its bylaws stipulating that if a team cannot follow the playoff schedule, it is up to the school to remove itself from the playoffs.

Our Lady of the Hills School in Kerrville, Texas, will take Beren Academy's spot in the playoffs Friday night, the league said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Judaism • Texas

soundoff (946 Responses)
  1. SportsFan

    This is why I respect Tim Tebow. He never plays on a holy day.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • pilar

      i think they should do what ever they want to do. We are supposed to respect their religion.Also its a free country.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  2. carl

    The truth of the matter... many christians and others are of ten of those tribes that came out of Egypt. These are the lost sheep of the House of Israel. Under Solomom they wanted their own King remember ? The other two tribes got the nickname Jew because they stayed in Jerusalem and no doubt was given to them by the other ten tribes.JAH divorced those ten tribes of the House of Israel first and later did the same to the House of Judah.In these days there is a grave danger to those that are calling themselves Jews but are not.Indeed,Satan has deceived the whole world and if anyone thinks they are special..well that person is in danger of losing their soul. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many (that means most) that enter there in.Go play ball boys and when you go back home its time to do some soul searching.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • JohnR

      And Cu Chulainn defeated 1000 men in a game of hurley. Don't say you don't believe it! There were at least 1000 witnesses, after all!

      February 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • mark

      So right Carl! They better search their soul so things like the devil and santa don't get angry at them! Are you an adult??

      March 1, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • DK

      Jews are called Jews because the word stems from "Judaism", not "Jerusalem". In Hebrew, these words sound totally different- "Yehudim" vs. "Yerushalayim".

      March 1, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  3. Elizabeth herbert

    There needs to be a clear rethinking . .The sabbath is not just observed by Jews but other religions including christians like the Seven Day Adventists.Ruling out Sunday as a day the teams will not play for religeous reasons for certain christian faiths , failing to recognise religeous freedoms and rights for others,is quite frankly disrespectful.The Jewish team should have been accommodated up to undue hardship. What are we teaching these children when their team wins by default and not on merit.On the other hand,the Jewish team is being taught the principal that it is better to take the high road and stick to one's pricipals

    February 29, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • momoya

      So teaching kids that whining over religion to get special exemption from league rules you already agreed on is better?

      February 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
  4. hippypoet

    i know of no christian school that would have done that...too much pride! 🙂

    February 29, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  5. larry

    Just like the NCAA commerical... most of these kids will grow up to major in something other than sports... these kids are starting that early. Good for them. Kind of funny that the weather can force a reschedule of the game according to their bylaws but a moral conflict for one team cannot.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Weather is inherently neutral – changing the date/time of an event affects all athletes pretty much the same. In addition, objective and measurable limits can be determined in advance, or neutral third parties (such as police or state transportation officials) can determine that weather is too severe.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  6. Doc

    I find it strange that the association of parochial schools – which certainly knows it includes Jewish schools – would schedule playoffs on Friday night. DUMB.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Salem

      HI everyone,I apiooglse for not being able to attend tonight's meeting. Daniel was unsettled tonight due to teething, and Irene had to do a some preparation for school tomorrow, so I had to stay at home.I will make some calls over the next few days to get some tentative commitments from either the NSW Postcard Society, the Police Insignia Collectors and the various vintage speedway groups.

      November 8, 2012 at 10:59 am |
  7. Quincy

    Mitchel, Obama, is not a Muslim, so stop being an idiot. The Jewish School knew what they were getting into when the sign to play in the league, they would get no special treatment, they knew the rules abide by them.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  8. Dee

    I appauld their decision. In todays world where people tend to do what is politically right, I am glad and proud to see someone/group stick to their morals and duties. You will not be answering to the world on Judgment Day.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
  9. Mike

    So just imagine how this blog would be if a Muslim team was getting ready to miss the game due to Friday (Ramadan) observance. Oh my God we will be taking them apart on this, so cut the crap of this religion thing, these religions has not given world anything except misery, bigotry and hatred.

    There is one religion in the world that is Humanity ..........Let all worship that

    February 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • rzzzll

      You atheist fool, you do realize you believe there is no G_d? That's still a faith that there is no Almighty. That is a belief, which you can't prove anyway. Why do you anti-religious atheists keep stating that faith causes wars. That's the most idiotic statement imaginable. Any ideology – religion, politics, etc. can be used as an excuse for abominable actions. Communism, Nazism. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Kim Jong Il hello? Murdered many millions or fought wars against each other. That was not about religion, it was about paranoid hatred. Any idea can be hijacked, you are so ignorant and foolish.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • momoya

      If you'd like your argument to actually stick with any atheists you're going to have to use better logic than you did in that post.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • fillcore

      Rzzll, your obtuseness is shocking. Or you're just a dumb troll. So tired of bozos. Bozo. No offense but you should probably read more.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:59 pm |
    • Jason

      Um, i just feel that you should know; but while yes Friday is the Islamic Holy day... it is NOT Ramadan. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar. It is similar to the 40 days and 40 nights of Chirstianity. Durring daylight hours it is a strict fast (sacrifice) and after it is like Christmas/Haunakka (celebration, feast, but for 29 – 30 days straight, and all with family, very peaceful actually) However, until i started deploying to places like Iraq and Afghanistan I didn't even know that Friday was their Holy day. But they like to teach us things like that in the military, you know, winning hearts and minds and all. that is just as much of a battle to earn the trust of a foreign people you're occupying as the battle itself and actually saves a lot of American lives when you can earn trust... Funny what a little traning or education can teach you. I just hope before you say something like that from now on you will do a little homework.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Jason

      Um, i just feel that you should know; but while yes Friday is the Islamic Holy day... it is NOT Ramadan. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar. It is similar to the 40 days and 40 nights of Christianity. During daylight hours it is a strict fast (sacrifice) and after it is like Christmas/Haunakka (celebration, feast, but for 29 – 30 days straight, and all with family, very peaceful actually) However, until i started deploying to places like Iraq and Afghanistan I didn't even know that Friday was their Holy day. But they like to teach us things like that in the military, you know, winning hearts and minds and all. that is just as much of a battle to earn the trust of a foreign people you're occupying as the battle itself and actually saves a lot of American lives when you can earn trust... Funny what a little traning or education can teach you. I just hope before you say something like that from now on you will do a little homework.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  10. HotAirAce

    I'm sure that many believers will be shocked to learn that the Olympics does not take religion into account when scheduling events. I was able find several examples of believers – some who observed their cult's requirements, and some who did not.

    This situation raises the question of athlete selection – should an athlete who will not compete on certain days be ranked lower than other athletes, or be excluded, because of their religious beliefs? What if they are in a sport where the final compet!tion will definitely be on the athlete's special day – is it fair to other athletes (who do not have such a restriction) and the sport to select them, knowing they will not compete on certain days?

    February 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • momoya

      Nowadays people want credit for the sacrifice without actually sacrificing anything. They want kudos for "standing up for their beliefs" the moment that they start whining and demanding that they not have to really go through all the trouble of actually "standing up for their beliefs."

      waaaaaaahhhh waaaaaahhh just look at the big 'ole huge sacrifice I'd have to make if everybody didn't agree to let me have my way last week.... waaaaaahhh waaaaaah I almost had to decide between my wants and my faith.... waaaah waaaah I almost had to abide by somebody else's rules but I cried about it until they changed their minds and let me do it my way..... waaaaah waaaah oh... the suffering I almost had to endure.... waaaaaaaaaah

      February 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  11. Shore

    People, Lets keep things in perspective. This is just a basketball game. What these kids are choosing over a game is one of the very foundations of Judaism. However outdated that seems to you doesn't matter, because to them, it is important and symbolic of their respect of their religion, and of Jews throughout the ages, from ancient times to now, who kept the Sabbath. In fact, throughout Jews have been persecuted for their religion, and yet still kept the tradition going, and still kept Sabbath. When you know your ancestors died to protect their faith, to violate it for a game of basketball is a slap in the face

    February 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  12. kb

    Muslims do that 5 times a day 365 days a year with a variety of different things.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • rzzzll

      praying? Are you knowledge challenged?

      February 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  13. joseph

    If this were a Muslim team, and if the tournament fell on Ramadan, you better believe they'd change the date because people are scared of muslims. the muslims are making a mockery of our legal system for their better good.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • rzzzll

      Really? How? Islamophobe

      February 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Jason

      Um, i just feel that you should know; but while yes Friday is the Islamic Holy day... it is NOT Ramadan. Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic Calendar. As such it is 29 – 30 days sometime between Setpember and October, where ever those weeks fall. It is similar to the 40 days and 40 nights of Christianity. During daylight hours it is a strict fast (sacrifice) and afterhours it is like Christmas/Haunakka (celebration, feast, but for 29 – 30 days straight, and all with family, very peaceful actually) However, until i started deploying to places like Iraq and Afghanistan I didn't even know that Friday was their Holy day. But they like to teach us things like that in the military, you know, winning hearts and minds and all. that is just as much of a battle to earn the trust of a foreign people you're occupying as the battle itself and actually saves a lot of American lives when you can earn trust... Funny what a little training or education can teach you. I just hope before you say something like that from now on you will do a little homework.

      February 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  14. nestor

    any way they know they will go to lose the game, enjoy yours sabbath losers.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Uncouth Swain

      Wow..you are just a little jerk aren't you?

      February 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Lily

      I'm sure they will.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • History Buff

      I suspect this guy have never been in any playoff himself – in any sport. Just a way for him to vent his late and deflect from the loser he is.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Gannt

      Being that they made it to semifinals, the rest of the people they played must be even more of a bunch of losers.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  15. tom

    F'em

    February 29, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • rzzzll

      Kill younow

      February 29, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  16. Meir Weiss

    Reblogged this on Meir Weiss' Blog and commented:
    b"h yasher co'ach 🙂

    February 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Fumie

      Not really, wiufll. Hybrids have an IC engine that can be stopped and started quickly to reduce fuel consumption, a diesel/electric must run all the time. Also the power from regenerative braking can be fed back into a hybrid's batteries, a DE has no storage except the diesel fuel.

      November 10, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  17. paganguy

    Why is this news? Who cares?

    February 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Darrin

      Apparently, you. You read the article and even commented on it. Sheez!

      February 29, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Fay

      this is news, b/c America is a "feel good" country, people do what makes them feel good, instant gratification , so a group of young kids who CHOOSE to giveup on something important to them b/c of something greater is news

      February 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  18. fillcore

    Another example of people missing out on the greatness that life can offer because of religion. God is in your chest. Faith kills what is precious.

    February 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • Uncle Sam

      Something tells me they see the greatness of life all too clearly.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Darrin

      Faith and commitment are the greatness of life. God lives in your chest? How stupid is this?! Your heart is in your chest. God lives in his home.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • lindy556

      on the greatness that life
      ======
      The greatness of life is God....i really respect these guys..

      February 29, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • rzzzll

      Fillcore you can be filled with a hateful ideology without religion fool. Communism? Fascism? Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin. Wow you are ignorant, and an anti-religious bigot.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • fillcore

      Rzzl, being presumptuous is exactly what God doesn't like. Try taking control of your life and stop letting others do the work for you, ya dolt. Accept responsibility and pay your child support. You brought those beautiful children into this world now take care of them. God would respect that.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  19. Mitchel Dredle

    Let's see if Obama gets involved with this....he would be all over it if it was a Muslim school.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Ben

      If it was a Muslim school u wont even see it on cnn, so shut ur hole and respect ur fellow brothers 🙂

      February 29, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  20. Kathryn

    I see no reason NOT to adjust the time of the games to accomodate the observation of the Shabbath.

    We are a country that is suppose to honor freedom to practice your religion without being punished for it. Unless it is a matter security, a few hour will not make a difference.

    February 29, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • vasechek

      it's a private tournament, they can do as they please.

      February 29, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.