NEW YORK (JTA) – Beren Academy, which made international headlines last year with its battle to avoid a forfeit in the Texas state boys’ basketball tournament over a Sabbath scheduling conflict, is back in the state semifinals.
Led by 40 points from senior Zach Yoshor, the Houston Jewish day school advanced on Tuesday in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 2A tournament — for schools with enrollments of 55 to 120 students — with a 62-52 overtime victory over Northeast Christian. The Stars will play Friday afternoon in Fort Worth; supporters say Beren would be the first Jewish school to win a state championship.
Beren lost in the 2A title game last season after initially being forced to forfeit its semifinal because the game, scheduled for Friday night, conflicted with the Sabbath. The academy fought TAPPS to have the game rescheduled to Friday afternoon and eventually won the battle.
Following the controversy, TAPPS instituted a new policy, posted on the association’s website, stating that religious accommodation “shall be the standard as TAPPS prepares for state competitions that are accessible to all member schools and the students that they serve through team activities.” The new policy went into effect for the 2012-13 school year.