Sabbath First: Basketball Team's Game Day Moved

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State championship hopes remain alive for a boys basketball team at an Orthodox Jewish school in Texas.

The Beren Academy in Houston made it all the way to the state semifinals, but thought they might have to forfeit because the original game time conflicted with their sabbath.

The academy's boys basketball team is made up of excellent players who are also devoted modern Orthodox Jews.

The school belongs to the league of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, or TAPPS.

TAPPS originally scheduled Beren's semifinal game for Friday evening, which conflicts with the Jewish Sabbath that lasts from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.

The school is not willing to violate the sabbath and appealed to the league to change the schedule.

"We hoped that for some relatively minor changes, there'd be that type of understanding should we reach this point," Rabbi Avi Pollak, Beren Academy co-principal, said.

Previously, TAPPS did allow an exception for a Seventh-Day Adventist Academy in a soccer playoff. However, the league at first denied the appeal filed by Beren Academy, citing the backlash TAPPS experienced after accommodating the soccer team.

A group of parents with boys on the basketball team sued TAPPS, and a judge issued a temporary restraining order, requiring the game to be rescheduled.

The director of TAPPS said Beren will be allowed to play Friday afternoon. If Beren wins that game, the Saturday championship game would also have to be rescheduled because it also falls on the Sabbath.

"No Jewish team to our knowledge has ever won a state championship anywhere in the United States, and so we were hoping to be the first," Chris Cole, the Beren team coach, said.

However, despite the possibility of making it in the record books, the school remains firm -- the team will observe the Sabbath.

"We're not going to stray from our path -- that this is where we're going," Berens player Ahron Guttman said. "We're not going to just switch directions because of one basketball game."

"God doesn't take a week off from us, so we can't take a week off from God," another Berens player said.

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CBN News
Mark Martin

Mark Martin

CBN News Reporter

Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at