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Student Well-Being

State Semifinal Rescheduled for Jewish Team’s Sabbath

By Bryan Toporek — March 01, 2012 1 min read

The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) was served a temporary restraining order today by a Texas court that requires the Robert M. Beren Academy to be included in the semifinals of its state basketball tournament this coming weekend.

The boys’ basketball team at Beren Academy, an Orthodox Jewish day school in Houston, advanced to the state semifinals last weekend by virtue of a 27-point win over Our Lady of the Hills Catholic High School.

The only problem: The team’s state semifinal matchup was scheduled for 9 p.m. this coming Frida, a direct conflict with the school’s and players’ observation of the Sabbath.

The school immediately appealed to TAPPS last Friday, asking that it change the game time of the team’s semifinal matchup, but TAPPS denied the appeal on Monday. If Beren Academy wouldn’t play at the 9 p.m. time slot on Friday, Our Lady of the Hills School would take its place, the TAPPS executive board ruled.

When TAPPS was formed in the late 1970s, all member schools at the time recognized Sunday as the Sabbath, according to the organization. When Beren Academy joined TAPPS in summer 2009, its athletic director met with the organization’s executive board, which pointed out that championships were scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays.

Despite the conflict with the Jewish Sabbath, the board told Beren’s athletic director that the Friday/Saturday championship schedule would not be changed unless it was for weather or similar factors.

“The athletic director stated that he understood and did not see that as a problem, since he just wanted their players to have an opportunity to play in a ‘district,’ ” a statement from TAPPS reads.

The organization revisited its decision on Wednesday, according to the

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.