Orthodox Jewish High School Forced to Withdraw From Basketball Tournament After Losing Appeal to Observe Sabbath


A Houston high school basketball team was hoping to play in its playoff tournament this weekend, but after losing an appeal to move the game to observe a religious event, that dream has come to an end.

The Robert M. Beren basketball team was hoping to move its semifinal playoff game against Dallas Covenant out of its 9 p.m. spot on Friday to observe the Sabbath, according to ESPN.

Beren, which is a private Modern Orthodox Jewish high school, made an appeal to the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools to move the date, but was denied their filing. As a result of the decision, Beren withdrew from the tournament.

Edd Burleson, the director of TAPPS, spoke with the New York Times about the decision.

"When Beren's joined years ago, we advised them that the Sabbath would present them with a problem with the finals," said Burleson. "In the past, TAPPS has held firmly to their rules because if schedules are changed for these schools, it's hard for other schools."

The Sabbath, which runs from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, would have conflicted with the state final, which occurs on Saturday at 2 p.m.

Beren will be replaced by Kerrville Our Lady from the Hills, the team that Beren defeated to reach the semifinals.

Chris Cole, the head coach of the Beren's basketball team, said that his team was shocked to hear of the ruling, but is holding out hope that there could be a reversal of fortune.

"I don't think moving games is impossible,'' Cole said."We have spoken to other teams in the final four and the majority said it wouldn't be a problem if TAPPS moved the games. But there is no denying it would be an inconvenience.''

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