Beren Orthodox Academy Basketball “Stars” Jonathan Schiff, 16, Isaac Jacobson, 18, Isaac Buchine, 17, Coach Chris Cole, and Albert Katz, 16, share a laugh upon the conclusion of basket ball practice at Beren Academy
Chris Cole – “One reason this is a big deal to many, is that no Orthodox Jewish team, from what we've heard, has ever won a state basketball championship."
As the 1st of March was arriving in Houston, Texas, a Jewish Orthodox Academy basketball team was being spotlighted on international news for being the denied to privilege of playing in the semi-final playoff games because the time of the game was to be held on the Jewish Seventh-day Sabbath. As Destination Yisra’el reported on February 29, 2012:
Destination Yisra’el – “In the city of Houston, the fourth largest city in America, the modern Orthodox Jewish day school, Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston is getting international headlines when their basketball team, “The Stars” won the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 2A state tournament this past weekend. They are now eligible to play to the state semi-final game, but that privilege may be denied to them because of a matter of faith and religious consciousness; it conflicts with their observance of the Jewish Seventh-day Sabbath.”
As Associated Press reported on Channel ABC News titled: “Orthodox Jewish School Beren Academy will be allowed to Play in State Basketball Playoff Game”.
Associated Press – “Organizers of a Texas state basketball tournament relented Thursday and agreed to reschedule a semifinal game involving an Orthodox Jewish school after parents filed a lawsuit over the original game time, which conflicted with the Sabbath. The Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, or TAPPS, had rejected Beren Academy's requests to reschedule a semifinals game that was to be played at 9 p.m. Friday. Beren players observe the Sabbath between Friday night and Saturday night and won't play basketball during those hours.
A group of parents with boys on the team subsequently sued TAPPS and sought a temporary restraining order requiring the agency to reschedule the game. After being notified the lawsuit had been filed, TAPPS director Edd Burleson said the association would reverse course and allow Beren (23-5) to play Dallas Covenant at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon. Should the Stars win, they'll start their championship game no earlier than 8 p.m. on Saturday…
“The complaint says that the basketball team is "being denied, solely on account of their religious observance, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in their athletic conference's state basketball championship tournament. That is an irreplaceable opportunity," the complaint said, "and its deprivation constitutes irreparable harm attributable to disqualification of Beren and its team because of their Jewish religious beliefs and observances."
It was early Thursday morning that the Headmaster of the school, Harry Sinoff and the basketball Coach Chris Cole heard about the legal action against TAPPS. They regretted that the denial of playing a game due to religious observances on the Jewish Sabbath had gone to the courts. As they said:
Associated Press – "It's a mixed emotion," Cole said. "We feel like we've earned the right to play. Our focus all week has been trying to get TAPPS to reschedule the game times to accommodate us. At the same time, this was not the course of action that we wanted…
The complaint says that the basketball team is "being denied, solely on account of their religious observance, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete in their athletic conference's state basketball championship tournament.
"That is an irreplaceable opportunity," the complaint said, "and its deprivation constitutes irreparable harm attributable to disqualification of Beren and its team because of their Jewish religious beliefs and observances."
According to a separate Associated Report, it was reported concerning the legal action, that Richard Rohan, the Dallas attorney who filed the lawsuit, stated that the 14-page complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas about 9 a.m. It took only two hours for TAPPS to response and agreed to accommodate the suit without a court order, that had been filed against the Mansfield Independent School District where the games were originally scheduled to be played.
Rohan's firm on the other hand also filed the suit with the legal recommendation of the Washington, D.C. attorney Nathan Lewin, who is a well-known champion of civil rights who has represented Jews who have faced discrimination over the Sabbath and other issues plus former Richard Nixon, ex-Beatle John Lennon and actress Jodie Foster.
This nationally known attorney had already been contacted 10 days earlier by the father of the Captain of “The Stars”, Isaac Mirwis and was already aware of the potential legal complication. According to Attorney Lewin:
Attorney Nathan Lewin – “I thought if we got to court there was no judge in the world who would uphold (TAPPS). No way a remotely fair judge would say this makes any sense."
Later that morning after the school coach, Chris Cole hesitantly placed the call to TAPPS claiming it was not the school that filed legal action. Later that morning a special session at the school was held when Rabbi Avi Pollak told the entire 247 student body that the basketball game had been reinstated. They would be playing in the mid-afternoon on Friday, with enough time for the game to be over before the Jewish Sabbath began at the setting of the evening sun. If “The Stars” won the semi-finals, they would be playing in the championship game after the setting of the sun on Saturday evening at 8 p.m.
The school went electric and excitement swept throughout all the campus. According to the coach, the phone “started going crazy”. The reversal of the decision came suddenly, for the day before they had resigned the fact that playoff was not going to happen. As Coach Cole expressed the mood that day;
Coach Cole – “We felt like we had exhausted all opportunities. We kind of sat around, like a family, and just talked and reminisced about things that happened during the season. It was a nice, quiet time. Today's events were pretty shocking."
Beren, a TAPPS member since 2011, advanced to the semifinals by beating Kerrville Our Lady of the Hills last week. Sinoff said the school never planned legal action, even though the final resolution was what the school wanted from the beginning. "We deserve this opportunity, we've made that case all along," Sinoff said. "This is good for basketball, it's good for the tournament. These are the teams that should play."
When all the games are over, the international world will understand a little bit more about the sanctity of the Jewish Sabbath, and the dedication to their faith that these Jewish basketball “Stars” who study in a Torah observant educational campus believe, live, and will not give up even for a championship trophy. This is true dedication to the G-d of Israel.
The prophecies are clear that the G-d of Israel will fulfill what He has promised to fulfill so that peace can restored to all the earth. One of the roles the Sages of Judah are participating is a conduit for the Divine to give us hints as to HaShem's role in bringing forth the "Appointed Time" and the revealing of the Messiah. The great theme in all of this is the restoration of All Israel. This is not a conditional prophesy and neither is it a Jewish prophesy, but a Hebrew-Israelite prophesy. We will be restored back into brotherhood and fellowship with our cousins, the Jews of the House of Judah for that is G-d's will (Ezekiel 37).
This Biblical portrayal includes Prophecies that the Lost Tribes of the House of Israel are about to return to the Land of their Biblical Inheritance. This is Divine Destiny in living reality as the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel return to their Homelands first in Shomron (Samaria), Israel. If you want to learn more, Contact “Kol Ha Tor Vision”, the Voice of the Turtledove.
Here is a joint Orthodox Jewish and 10-Triber Mission to bring awareness of the imminent fulfillment of the Biblical Prophecies regarding the Redemption of all Israel (12 Tribes Re-conciled and Re-United). This super Event of all Times will entail Establishing the Shomron (the Ancient Bible Heartland of the Patriarchs) and the Judean Wilderness as part of the Land of Israel, and preparing the “Land” for the Return of the Lost Tribes of the House of Israel and then the Redemption of All Israel.
For inquiries about Kol Ha Tor Vision for the Lost Tribes of Israel, Visit – “Shomron Lives!”, a Spiritual Retreat and Guest House in Samaria, that is hosting a Shomron / Samaria 13-day Succot Tour in October 2011 to reacquaint the Returning Lost Tribers of the House of Israel.