Jewish school is denied request to change tourney times

NEW YORK (JTA) – An Orthodox high school in Texas was rejected in its bid to have the state basketball semifinals rescheduled to avoid a conflict with the Jewish Sabbath.

In a decision Monday, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools informed the Robert M. Beren Academy of Houston that semifinal games scheduled for Friday night and Saturday afternoon would not be rescheduled to accommodate the team’s Shabbat observance.

"Just as TAPPS doesn’t schedule games on Sunday in deference to Christian teams, we expected that as a Jewish team, there would be grounds for a scheduling change," Beren’s head of school, Rabbi Harry Sinoff, told JTA.

Beren is scheduled to play Dallas Covenant on Friday night in one of the two semifinal games in the boys 2A category. The finals are scheduled for 2 p.m. the next day.

Sinoff told JTA that his school had lodged an appeal with TAPPS petitioning to have the game times adjusted so they would not conflict with Shabbat, which begins at approximately 6 p.m. Friday in Mansfield, where the games are due to be played.

The local chapter of the Anti-Defamation League also petitioned TAPPS. In a letter Sunday to TAPPS director Edd Burleson, ADL Southwest Regional Director Martin Cominsky wrote that by adjusting the game times, the association would enable the team to play "without having to choose between competing and observing their religious holy days."

Sinoff said an informal task force has been formed by the community to find a more acceptable outcome. Burleson did not respond to a request for comment.

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