web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Vindicating Principle

Orthodox basketball player

Orthodox basketball player
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90

Nathan Lewin writes eloquently in his front-page essay in this week’s Jewish Press about the successful effort to secure the right of religious Jewish students to compete in a basketball tournament despite having been being scheduled to play on Friday evening.

As it turned out, the refusal of the students to violate the Sabbath was just the beginning of the episode. But we can be justly proud of all the media coverage revolving around a group of Orthodox Jewish students at Houston’s Beren Academy who had decided not to participate in a prestigious basketball competition if it conflicted with the requirements of their faith.

The tournament sponsors, the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools, refused to accommodate a request for rescheduling. This is what TAPPS director Edd Burleson said:

When Beren’s [sic] joined years ago, we advise them that the Sabbath would present them with a problem with the finals. In the past TAPPS has held firmly to their rules because of schedules are changed for the schools, it’s hard for other schools…. If we solve one problem we create another problem…. If the schools are just going to arrange their own schedule, why do we even set a tournament? Over a period of time, our state tournament, which is a highlight of our association, deteriorates to nothing. That’s the whole point of having an organization.

Of course, Mr. Burleson was trying to paper over the fact that the schools Beren Academy was going to compete against had agreed to change the time of the games in order to meet the religious needs of the Beren players.

But the valor of the students is not the only part of the Kiddush Hashem here. The accommodation of the students’ religious needs was secured through the intervention of Mr. Lewin, an internationally acclaimed attorney and well-known Orthodox Jew who since the late 1960s has, in a pro bono capacity, pioneered the notion that the reasonable accommodation of religious needs in the context of standard societal practices is an aspect of the American value of the right to the free exercise of religion. He has done this in various venues, including the United States Supreme Court.

It is also noteworthy that officials of the Beren Academy and other members of the Houston Jewish community were reluctant to commence legal action. As Mr. Lewin’s daughter and law partner Alyza Lewin, said “There was resistance to our bringing the lawsuit. We’re sorry that there are members of the Jewish community who are reluctant to challenge bias and prejudice. But this case shows that sometimes legal action is necessary to get a result.”

We agree. We believe that responsible resort to the American legal system is the right way to go for the Jewish community in protecting the rights of its members who, after all, constitute a religious minority.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Vindicating Principle”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
What's happened to NYC's Celebrate Israel Parade?
Israel Rejects as ‘False’ UJA Federation’s Claims about Israel Parade ‘Inclusion’
Latest Indepth Stories
Keeping-Jerusalem

For a peace treaty with the PA, half the Israeli public would agree to divide the Jerusalem

As for the president’s new, softer tone vis-à-vis Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel, this is most likely being driven by the results of the recent Israeli election.

What especially appeals to us is his grand – some critics would say extravagant –view of what the borders of Israel should look like.

There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.

The establishment of Hebrew University was a cause much beloved to Einstein who in 1923, during what would be his only trip to Eretz Yisrael, delivered the university’s inaugural lecture on Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus) and, discussing the theory of relativity, spoke the first few sentences of his address in Hebrew.

The Golden Square wanted Germany to destroy the British and Jewish presence in their country. The Third Reich craved what was beneath the ground – oil.

Ida Nudel’s account of how the Soviets persecuted and punished her was far worse than imagined.

Swim4Sadna is an annual event benefiting Sadna, an integrative special-ed community in Gush Etzion

Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry

Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

More Articles from Editorial Board

There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.

“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”

Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.

The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.

A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.

More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.

For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/vindicating-principle/2012/03/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: