"On Thursday afternoon at the SunDome in Yakima, Wash., the Mercer Island
(Wash.) Northwest Yeshiva girls basketball team walked onto the court
for its consolation-bracket game
in the Washington state tournament.
The girls shook the hands of their St. John (Wash.) St. John-Endicott
Then, they walked off the court.
Their actions weren't a protest or the result of any type of dispute.
They were just the logical outcome of following their faith.
The game was scheduled to be played during the Jewish "Fast of
Esther," a time when those of the Jewish faith go without both food –
and, more importantly, water – until sundown on Thursday.
When their request to change the game time was denied, Northwest
Yeshiva, an Orthodox Jewish high school of just 95 students located just
outside Seattle, decided to forfeit.
"We didn't think it was safe for the team to play without water," the
school's head, Rabbi Bernie Fox, said.
Because of it, the first team from a Jewish school to qualify for the
state tournament became the first team in state history to forfeit a
postseason game – all in the same week. The team finished the season
with a 10-14 record.
Their actions have drawn national attention. Some have saluted them for
showing there are more important things than sports; others have
wondered why the issue couldn't have been avoided with a schedule
The school did make an attempt to play."
A TV news story about the situation was featured on KOMO-TV's Web site. I've embedded that video below.
For the serious memorabilia collector … The team the first Jewish team, male or female, to make it to a state tourney. The school is accepting contributions in honor of the team. Perhaps they'd send a schedule or team photo to contributors?
Photo courtesy Yahoo! Sports, AP, Yakima Herald-Republic.