Feb 26, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT
Actually some Seattle Times commenters are saying that it’s state officials who are crazy for not accommodating Northwest Yeshiva, an Orthodox Jewish high school of about 60 students on Mercer Island, WA. After becoming the first Jewish school in Washington history to qualify for a state girls basketball tournament, they had to forfeit their second game in order to observe a Jewish fast. Since the players are not allowed to eat or drink until sundown, school officials did not want to risk them playing without being able to rehydrate. Rack up another one for the “Fast of Esther”, which is also responsible for breaking the Houston Rockets’ 22-game winning streak in 2008, if I’m not mistaken.
From the Seattle Times:
The 613s — the team nickname is a reference to the number of commandments they serve — lost their Class 1B state opener at the SunDome on Wednesday to one of the tournament favorites, Sunnyside Christian, 62-25.
Thursday, the team is scheduled to face St. John-Endicott at 12:30 p.m. in a consolation-bracket game. Thursday, though, happens to be the “Fast of Esther,” held the day before the Jewish holiday of Purim. It is one of five fasts on the Jewish calendar that call for no eating or drinking — even water — until nightfall.
Playing the game without being able to rehydrate would be “an unacceptable risk” for the players, said Rabbi Bernie Fox, head of the school. Short of being able to move the game time — an accommodation the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association wasn’t willing to make — Northwest Yeshiva school leaders opted to forfeit Thursday’s game.
From the Times’ comments section:
* What a bunch of garbage!!! WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese should be fired immediately!!!! Posted on February 25, 2010 at 11:30 PM by Jesus_Saves
* Colbrese just stated on television that the WIAA was not able to accommodate Yeshiva in part because they need to ensure that the tournament is a positive experience for all the participants. WHAT?! The only positive thing in this is the class & strength of character displayed by these young ladies. Additionally, the team may face sanctions for forfeiting? How is this behavior by the WIAA not religious discrimination?
Not taking sides here, but imagine for a moment the incredible blather storm that would erupt if a high school team was forced to take a forfeit because it refused to play on Christmas. Is the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association guilty of religious discrimination? And what’s the deal with these guys?
NW Yeshiva season ends with forfeit / 1B State Tournament [Seattle Times]
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