WASHINGTON (Aug. 5)
Rep. Edward I. Koch (D.NY) expressed surprise and shock in a letter to Bill Talbert, chairman and director of the United States Open Tennis Tournament, for having scheduled the games on Sept. 6 and 7, the first two days of Rosh Hashanah.
“Scheduling the games on those days means that Jewish players, whether of American or foreign nationality, will be either precluded from participating or caused to violate the basic tenets of their faith,” Koch stated in his letter. “The same would apply to spectators of the Jewish faith.” The Congressman urged Talbert to immediately reconsider holding the tourney on those days and the scheduling of another date.
Talbert, who was called by the JTA for comment, said that his hands were tied because the International Lawn Tennis Federation schedules the tourney dates the world over. Talbert said the games have for decades been held beginning the last Thursday in August and continuing through the first Monday of September. However, the games this year are scheduled to begin almost a week later. Talbert suggested the JTA contact Mike Burns, president of the U.S. Tennis Association, for further comment. Burns, however, could not be reached for comment.