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. LoveLovemedo

    I am so interested in the the summary of the analysis completed by 9 members that voted "No". I cannot come up with a positive reason why a re-schedule and a played game is not the best solution.

    Makes me think that religion bias is involved.

    March 1, 2012 at 4:47 am |
    • rationality-is-the-only-way

      of course there is bias – girlie born-again fake christians are scared to be beat by some Jews.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:49 am |
  2. rationality-is-the-only-way

    Funny that there are no games on Sunday – the christian 'sabbath' They would have a leg to stand one if there were games scheduled on Sunday. Seems like the gentiles are just scared to get beat by a bunch of Jews. Hypocrites!

    March 1, 2012 at 4:45 am |
    • LoveLovemedo

      Your first sentence is a great point, but the second sentence is not very consructive.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  3. James

    What part of the word REST IS NOT UNDERSTOOD? You are to REST on the sabbath! That means not do the worlds business!! I admire their stance-yes they will lose the standing in the league, but really, which is more important? It's only 1 day out of 7, can't the team honor that? That is one of the 10 commandments, and when the savior came, he did not change them!

    March 1, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  4. gg

    To all the ignorant anti-Semites posting on here... The good news is that you are all closer to your own deaths than you realize. Most of you will die alone and your deaths will be extremely painful. So, good luck!

    March 1, 2012 at 4:15 am |
  5. bribarian

    basketball is anti-semitic?

    March 1, 2012 at 3:49 am |
  6. Walter Sobchak


    March 1, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  7. ma & pa

    Taub. Not one of Gods commandments can, in truth, be changed in any way by man. Christs birth, blameless life, betrayel to death, and resurrection in God were the fulfillment of all the prophetic words and rituals, "Laws", that fortold His doings. Those were "Laws" that ended because Christ fulfilled them. Done. Gods ten commandments to us, which He gave to us to help us avoid foolish troubles, were in no way done away with. God knows we cannot be perfect by our weak human struggling. Christs promise of help if we will ask for and accept it is our Safepassage to God. He expects us to at least try to be as true as we can be.

    March 1, 2012 at 3:23 am |
    • I Don't Get It

      I guess that it's nice for you that you accept this scenario.

      As for me, I was a believer for many years, and I find that there is no evidence for any of it being true.

      Peace to you.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:53 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I Don't Get It, of course you don't (get it). Dropping out without enduring to the end, was written in His truth. Congratulations, you now sit in the spiritually dead ranks of so many others that share 3rd grade knowledge of Jesus' truth (i.e. Ricky Gervais and Bill Maher come to mind).


      March 1, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • I Don't Get It

      Heaven Sent,

      Thanks, sweetie.

      Nice for you that you think that a good god wants you.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:23 am |
  8. LeFreak

    who in the f cares.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:58 am |
  9. Rediculigious

    Any other "religion" and this would not even be a news story.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:39 am |
  10. clearfog

    Everything's big(oted) in Texas.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  11. IslandAtheist

    That must really suck for the closet atheists on their team.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  12. Patiat

    Just move the game. Everything surrounds Christian holidays and goofs things up for other people if there's no flexibility built into the system. Would it kill 'em to just have the game at another time?

    March 1, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  13. Jack

    There was a time when your skin colour would deprive you of a few things. Glad there were some who did something about it.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Typical atheist only on this earth to sit it out in life while stirring the pot.


      March 1, 2012 at 4:18 am |
  14. Joe Blow

    What should happen is that the other teams refuse to play unless something is done...............that would be a mark worth noting.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • LoveLovemedo

      Best Response on this board. Great Idea!

      March 1, 2012 at 4:32 am |
  15. Know nothings, do nothings

    "... appeal was unanimously voted down by the league's nine-member board." Because??? Typical upper management bullheadedness and inflexibility.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Will

      It's not just "bullheadedness and inflexibility" – not one of the league's nine-member board are Jewish!

      March 1, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  16. jerry5555

    How come everytime something happens to a jewish person/team/organization it's all over the news??? My old Seventh Day Adventist basketball team was in the same position about 15 years ago in Portland, (Playoff game fell on Friday, the Sabbath, and we didn't play) and the press was called - NO COVERAGE!! No Attention!!! NOTHING!! But when it happens to a jewish team, GOD FORBID!! Call the press, call ESPN, Cnn, Fox, they all cover it.
    How come the jews have so much power that they can put anything they want in the press. People talk about the Masons being a secret power - forget that, the Jews make them look like nothing in that department.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:02 am |
    • orangeman85

      you want the jews to stop controlling the media? come take it

      March 1, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Joe Blow

      Sure and they probably are responsible for all the wars as well.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • Patiat

      They've ruined your life, Jerry!!! They control YOUR finances, YOUR ability to achieve erection, YOUR wife's thoughts about you, YOUR dog's decisions about where to move its bowels, and YOUR children's choices about illicit drug consumption!!!! They've got you under their thumb!!!!

      March 1, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • jerry5555

      @Patiat, are you scared the people will see the truth??? why so much anger?? You know who needs to be angry, is Rick Sanchez, who make one small statement about jews having power in the media - and gone, fired the same day from CNN!!! Or what about Oliver Stone, initially a jew himself, who said that Jews dominate the media and entertainment industry - Forgive him Lord, he committed the ultimate sin!! The jews went in uproar!! So, don't be sad Patiat, people are starting to see that jews monopolize this country and world.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:43 am |
    • Marta Paglianni

      Jerry 15 yrs ago the net wasnt as powerful as is today. Now you got more options and news like this fly more often. IF today a 7th Day Adventist H.S. team is face with the same game Sabbath date situation it would make news too. Trust me from 15 yrs ago the WWW has gone long ways. It has nothing to do with Jews or keeping the Sabbath. But for the most part Jews do own most of the TV, newspapers and radios. Hey they are great biz folks.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • LeFreak


      March 1, 2012 at 3:00 am |
  17. ma & pa

    Yep...people using Gods name, to set up religions, to dominate other people, to gain power, to make people hate and ridicule one anothers beliefs, to make them fight and forget the beautiful Peace of our Lord must sorta aggrivate God. What's that commandment about taking His Name in vain?

    March 1, 2012 at 1:58 am |
  18. Hannah

    Mazel Tov

    March 1, 2012 at 1:39 am |
  19. ma & pa

    Many good thoughts... from just sayin, toadears, teacher and likeminded folk. Voiceofreason at 11:40pm pegged the main point. Play times been moved before and "the eventual champion should not be deprived of knowing they are the best and didn't win by default." And a number of Christian religions keep seventh day Sabbath as stated in the commandment. Every living thing needs some regular time to rest. We need to refocus on renewal of our sacred God-created lives.

    March 1, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • I Don't Get It

      Preachers shouldn't be working on the Sabbath either, then... they should rest too, along with the choirs, organists, money-takers and set-up folks.

      Lots of people consider sitting thru those services work.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:48 am |
  20. flatbushfred

    Hey people – IT"S TEXAS!! Do you really expect any accommodation to any religion that's not Christianity? Really?

    March 1, 2012 at 1:32 am |
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About this blog

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.