Close this search box.

Women’s Lacrosse Team From Israel Ready To Forfeit World Cup Rather Than Play On Shabbos

lacThe following is an article from the Toronto Star:

Forfeit the playoffs or defy your religious beliefs.

That’s the position the Israeli women’s lacrosse team could find itself in at the World Cup going on this week in Oshawa.

And if they have to play on Saturday — the Shabbat (Sabbath) as the schedule-makers call for — they will forfeit.

Even if it’s the gold-medal game.

“We all felt the same way,” said attacker Jenna Block. “It was an absolute team consensus we will not play on Shabbat. Competing in the World Cup is very important to all of us, but who we’re representing and who we are comes first and foremost.

“That’s a sacrifice we’re all willing to make. This is about more than lacrosse. It’s about more than a game.”

At 4-0, the Israelis are a bit of Cinderella surprise at the event and face Japan (4-0) on Tuesday.

But the way the schedule is shaping up — and a win by Israel on Wednesday is all it will take — the Israeli team will guarantee itself a spot in the top-8. That means they’ll head toward a playoff game Saturday, the final day of the event that will determine final rankings and the gold medal.

The team asked for a schedule change, offering three alternatives:

  • Friday, before sundown.
  • Saturday, after sundown.
  • Sunday morning.

The Israelis also offered to pay the expenses of any teams out of pocket for the accommodation.

Their request was denied by the Federation of International Lacrosse, which set the schedule.

Stan Cockerton, president of FIL, said the federation had no problem accommodating the Israelis’ request in setting the schedule for round-robin pool play in ensuring no Saturday games.

But he said the playoffs are a different animal, governed by bylaws with a specific timetable for insurance and game times, with 8 p.m. being the latest scheduled start.

“We were able to reschedule (the round robin) so we’re not insensitive to the issue,” said Cockerton. “But for this coming Saturday, we have a set format.

“We cannot accommodate them.”

Israel’s suggested compromises were a no-go because two of them require play after the scheduled end of the tournament and one requires teams to play twice on Friday, a violation of bylaws, potential insurance violations and potentially a health risk for the athletes “especially with the weather we’ve had this week,” said Cockerton.

He acknowledged it could be an embarrassment to the tournament if the Israelis end up forfeiting the gold medal game.

“It would be,” said Cockerton. “But to change the date, you’re talking about ticket sales, it’s a tough question.”

The Israel Lacrosse Association issued a news release saying it was policy the team not play during Shabbat.

“As a new sport to Israel it is imperative . . . we cannot ignore that reasonably large percentage of our nations’ people, our teams’ players and our associations’ members would be offended if we took the field on Shabbat,” it read.

The Israelis did talk to other teams, who offered no objections to a schedule change to accommodate religious beliefs. They even have the promise of an exhibition game on Friday from teams that would have been their opponent, offering some sort of finality to their event.

“Most of the countries understand and have offered to play an exhibition game to offer some finality,” said Scott Neiss, director of the 25-member Israeli delegation.

These are not the first Jewish athletes to face the dilemma. Neiss said some play, some don’t.

In the women’s lacrosse team’s case, Neiss said the team made the scheduling request in December. Cockerton said the first he heard of the Saturday issue was eight weeks ago.

“We were optimistic the whole time this could be worked out,” said Neiss. “Up until June 30, we were still optimistic we would have a different result.”

Block hopes the FIL will change its mind.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance,” said Block. “We would love for them to reconsider. We’ll see what happens. If not this go-round, then maybe four years from now they’ll keep that in mind as Israel continues to compete.”

About 25,000 are expected to attend the weeklong World Cup —Canada is a favourite — at Oshawa’s Civic Recreation Complex.

(Source: The Star)

16 Responses

  1. Zionist chilonim and their anti-religous bias, feh.
    Akuperma is about to post how this is not really a good thing because when “secular” people have religous beliefs it’s really a ploy to get frum people to shmad.

  2. Two good stories in a row!
    (Hikinds hatzolah story)
    Keep ’em coming.
    (As for #2, The Berditchiv would NOT have been okay with you. Right or wrong re where they are; at this point they are making a tremendous sacrifice for Kovod Ha’shabbos. I should have such a z’chus. I’m wondering what was the last serious thing YOU did for shabbos. Other than staying off the internet i hope.)

  3. #3- The name is from the French word for a “stick” – it is a false cognate to the work you are thinking of. Actually the original name for the game was something in an Iroquois language that most of us would have trouble pronouncing.

  4. #4 – I was unaware that the Israeli lacrosse team is politically or militarily active. While lacrosse was originally a highly militarized sport (used to train soldiers in combat movement – there were originally hundreds per team and the fields were often more than a mile long), for the last few centuries it has been just a sport. Since it was introduced to Israel by recent North American immigrants, and since most such immigrants are Shomer Shabbos, its no surprise the team is Shomer Shabbos (similar situation with flag football).

  5. to #2, ujm, joseph, chuck schwab, volvie, or whichever of your 45+ aliases you chose for your posts here

    Your comment was extremely out of line.

    These are people who have chosen to play lacrosse. Most, if not all, have little to no affiliation with yiddishkeit (I know this 1st hand), yet they feel that since they wear something on their shirt which indicates that they are yidden, they shouldn’t play on shabbos or yom tov, no matter the stakes.

    On their madreiga that is a colossal sacrifice. Shame your views are so skewed that you cant recognize it.

    #9 – This isn’t Israeli policy, the Israel Lacrosse Organization has adopted this as THEIR policy cause they feel it is right.

  6. @akuperman

    I know for a fact that Scott Neiss, the founder and director of the organization, the coaches, and most players, consider themselves to be Reform, Reconstructionist, or even non-affiliated.

    Yet, despite his total lack of observance, Scott made the decision, long before any donations were received, that since they were representing Israel, they shouldn’t play on Shabbos. Even if it results in forfeit.

    For players, winning a championship is the ultimate goal, yet these athletes will walk away from a trophy cause of Shabbos, KOL HAKAVOD.

    By the way, if you think this is an issue, the 2014 Lacrosse World Cup has games scheduled on Yom Kippor, Shabbos and Succos. And all of those will be forfeits should alternate arrangements not be available.

  7. Each person is judged according to what is expected of him or her. How fortunate these women are to be willing to make what is for them a great sacrifice for Shabbos.

Leave a Reply

Popular Posts