School team facing Shabbat problem


A playoff game scheduled for a Saturday afternoon could send a Denver Jewish school’s team to the sidelines.

The Colorado High School Activities Association, which controls the state tournament schedules, rejected a request by Herzl/RMHA for a date change on the March 8 regional championship game for boys basketball.


Bill Reader, the association’s commissioner, said the Herzl school knew the rules when it joined the association in 2002.

Herzl/RMHA, which has won 12 of its 14 games, is playing Thursday in the district finals. A victory would send the Tigers to the district final on Saturday night, but the regional title game is a Shabbat afternoon.

The school’s co-athletic director, Josh Lake, told JTA that the Shabbat problem “remains an ongoing issue for us with all the sports we’re involved in, including baseball, soccer and volleyball.”

Lake said the March 8 playoff would be the first Shabbat game confronting the school, he said.

The Colorado state Senate debated the matter Wednesday morning.

Sen. Ken Gordon, a Denver Democrat, told reporters the athletic association “is sending the wrong message to schoolchildren,” but said there is little the Legislature can do because the association is privately funded. Gordon did note that the association might be subject to a lawsuit because it bans playoffs on Sundays.

The Rocky Mountain branch of the Anti-Defamation League protested the associaton’s decision.

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