Education A National Roundup

Jewish Mock-Trial Winners in N.J. To Miss Finals Because of Sabbath

April 12, 2005 1 min read

The champions of New Jersey’s high school mock-trial competition say that they are being forced to choose between their Jewish religion and a chance to win the national tournament.

The Orthodox Jewish students on the mock-trial team at Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck, N.J., would not be able to compete in the national championship’s weekend contest without violating the Sabbath. The national competition is scheduled for May 5-7 at the Mecklenburg County Court House in Charlotte, N.C.

The New Jersey State Bar Association, which runs the statewide program, backed the team in a March 30 letter to the national-championship organizers asking for changes to the schedule.

But officials of the National High School Mock Trial Championship said they cannot reschedule the competition, which draws schools from 44 states, because of logistical concerns.

Rabbi Yosef Adler, the academy’s principal, said the Saturday competition also would conflict with Islamic and Seventh-Day Adventist religious dictates. “If they scheduled this on a Sunday, I’d find a number of Catholics would find it objectionable,” Rabbi Adler said.