President Obama and the American Jewish Community

A Visit with the Beren Academy Stars

Jarrod Bernstein with Beren Academy Basketball Team

White House Director of Jewish Outreach Jarrod Bernstein with Beren Academy basketball team in Houston, TX, March 16, 2012. (Photo from Robert M. Beren Academy)

Last Friday, I had the privilege of visiting the Robert M. Beren Academy Stars basketball team in Houston, TX. The team received attention after they chose to forfeit the Texas state semi-final for high school basketball rather than playing on Shabbat. After receiving attention in thenational news, the league eventually agreed to move the game and the Beren Stars were allowed to play in the state championship.


Although they eventually lost in the state championship game to Abilene Christian, the story of the Beren Stars was far more important than just a regular basketball team. This is the story of a group of high school students who stuck to their values, and of athletic rivals who were willing to reschedule a game to allow students of a different religion to adhere to their faith.
 
Because of this exciting story, I made sure to visit the Beren Academy Stars while I was in Texas last week. I was amazed to see a great group of high school students who were far more than a basketball team. They had so many great questions about my role in the White House both as a member of the staff but also as the White House liaison to the Jewish Community. Following our talk, we were able to shoot some hoops on the basketball court and I was able to see why they were one of the top teams in the state of Texas this year.
 

Jarrod Bernstein is the Director of Jewish Outreach in the Office of Public Engagement

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