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Jewish Basketball Team, Beren Academy Stars, Forced Out Of Texas Semifinals Over Sabbath Conflict (UPDATED)

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UPDATE: Houston's FOX 26 News reports that the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, which previously scheduled the Jewish basketball team's semifinal game for Friday night, is now making arrangements for the team to play after the Jewish Sabbath.

Everyone knows Jews don't dribble on Shabbos. Everyone, apparently, but the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS).

The Stars, a basketball team from the Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston, were forced to forfeit from the state tournament after their semifinal game was scheduled for March 2, this Friday night -- the Jewish Sabbath -- and an appeal for a time change was refused.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports:

Beren, an Orthodox Jewish day school with 67 students in its upper school, had asked the association to adjust the start time of Friday’s game to earlier in the afternoon and, if necessary, begin the championship game on Saturday evening.

The quarterfinals game against Our Lady of the Hills Catholic High School of Kerrville on Feb. 24 had been played earlier than scheduled to accommodate Beren, and the other three semifinalists in the 2A category -- schools with enrollments of 55 to 120 students -- reportedly were willing to follow suit.

Chris Cole, the coach of the Stars, hoped their appeal would succeed after a similar accommodation was made in a Texas state soccer tournament for a Seventh Day Adventist team a few years prior, according to ESPN.

Had the Stars received a new game time -- which seems unlikely after TAPPS changed its official bracket and credited the Stars' opponents with a victory -- this would have been their first trip to the semifinals.

In a statement on the TAPPS website, the organizations notes that when Beren joined the league in 2009, they were informed that schedules for state tournaments would only be changed for weather or related conditions. The TAPPS Executive Board voted unanimously to keep the tournament schedule intact.

Ironically, it is official TAPPS policy to not schedule games on Sunday in deference to Christian schools.

The Stars continue to practice in case of a new decision from TAPPS, which is facing criticism from, among others, the mayor of Houston, the New York Times reports.

By Thursday, a Change.org petition in solidarity with the Stars has garnered close to 7,000 signatures.

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