Orthodox Girls Basketball Team Tournament Conflicts With Taanis Esther

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northwest-yeshivaKomo News reports: What the girls basketball team from Northwest Yeshiva High School used to dream of is now reality. The team of only seven active players is heading to the state tournament in Yakima.

“There’s been no Jewish school go to the state tournament all across the U.S., so this is really a big deal and would be really great to get this to work out for us,” said sophomore Julia Owen.

They’ll arrive in Yakima Tuesday night and play their first game on Wednesday.

Northwest Yeshiva is strictly Orthodox Jewish, and the team is nicknamed “the 613s” for the number of commandments they observe.

If the girls win on Wednesday, they’ll play a night game on Thursday. If they lose, they’re supposed to play a day game the next day. And that’s a big problem, because Thursday is one of several fasting days of the year. The team cannot eat or drink until after sunset.

“For them to play a game without hydration, without being able to drink, we would not feel comfortable with that,” said Rabbi Bernie Fox of Northwest Yeshiva High School. “That’s not in the best interest of their safety.”

In the case of a loss, the school has requested to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association to move the Thursday game to another venue in Yakima so the team can play. The school has even offered to travel to its opponent’s home court just so it can be an evening match-up.

“We’re willing to partner with the WIAA even financially to find a solution to this problem so our girls can play through the tournament,” said Fox.

But the school says the WIAA has dug in its heels, and that could create a worst case scenario. If the girls lose the first game, they’ll be forced to walk onto the court on Thursday and forfeit.

“No team wants to go out there and not be able to play,” said Owen. “We’re all going to be there to play, and have the chance to play our hardest and do our best. And if we can’t, that’s going to be unfortunate and a disappointment.”

In the past, the WIAA has made adjustments for religions observing the sabbath on Saturdays. But this situation is apparently something that’s not covered by its current policy.

{KomoNews/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. give them IV’s 1-2 hours before a game with Dextrose solution, so they get both hydration and calories. if someone can contact them let them know.

  2. As an alumnus of NYHS, I think everybody needs to chill out a bit. The school is at least 50% not shomer shabbos families and is the only school providing Jewish identity in the entire Pacific Northwest.

    This is not an issue of kol kevodo bas melech pnima… this is an issue of developing Jewish pride for these kids so they maintain a Jewish identity and marry a Jew when many of their parents DREAM of sending them off to completely secular colleges immediately after high school. It is a community school that welcomes kids from families that eat in treife restraunts and drive on shabbos. In many ways, they are a very successful kiruv operation – through the means of Jewish education.

    The fact that these kids are happy to fast (when their parents don’t) is a tremendous accomplishment and opportunity for them to be involved in a massive kiddush Hashem. Let’s keep this in mind when we comment. We are not dealing with Bais Yaakov D’Brooklyn, and fyi – many of these girls do wear special-tailored uniforms that cover their elbows and over-the-knee skirts. (This usually depends on family background – the girls have a choice). Go 613’s!

  3. Why shouldn’t we build Jewish pride as being the best hunters, that’s also popular sport in this country?
    Is the Torah about positive Jewish self-identification? Is being Jewish limited to 613 commandments? Was ever Kidush HaShem achieved by participation in competitive sports?
    Really? Kidush Hashem???
    Are we talking about G-d of the Bible and Talmud?

  4. To “nyhs alumnus”

    I am amazed at the level of adherence to Halacha by these young ladies.

    To be honest though, I would not call the school a successful kiruv operation. Many kids that come from frum families are more influenced by the non-frum (the majority) than the other way around. I’m not sure if you still live here, but if you did, you’d know the facts.

  5. Matys, please read my comment. You are speaking to a different oilam. Many of these kids come from NON SHOMER SHABBOS homes. Their homes are not KOSHER. They are talking about giving up their lifetime dream b/c of a taanis drabbanan. This could be a tremendous growth experience. How could you belittle this?

  6. NYHS is a strictly orthodox school. There is nothing Halachikally wrong or feministic with playing basketball. It is simply a fun and healthy thing to do. These girls should be praised for their devotion to Halacha.

  7. I guess the girls should compete in an ironing competition or a baking competition. Putting on lipstick competition? Or maybe a “picking a man’s socks off the floor” competition?

    Exactly what is a feminine sport or activity appropriate for them?

  8. to Rebbe (10): while I think that it’s title XI that does offer young women some good athletic college scholarships, I doubt any of these girls have aspirations of playing professionally. It’s just something for comaraderie and a healthy constructive way to let off steam and develop the self-esteem that may help them avoid some of the hurdles they may face that B”H many frum girls don.

  9. I understand tremendous mesiras neifesh of many of these girls. Many of my friends went trough this and no FFB can stand on their place. Belittling anybody is not theme of my post. I do not understand calling sport teem “orthodox” and the fact of describing it as Kidush HaShem.
    On individual level it is great mitzva to choose what is proper; however it doesn’t make it “Orthodox” in my view


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