An 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish table tennis phenom was reportedly disqualified from a national tournament last month after declining to play one of her matches on the Sabbath.
The Christian Post reports that Estee Ackerman, from Long Island in New York, opted out of participating in the conflicting match while competing at the 2012 U.S. National Table Tennis Championships in Las Vegas.
“I advanced in my round robin and then we looked at my schedule and saw the next match would be during Friday night, which is our Sabbath, so of course I’m disappointed,” Estee told The New York Post.
Glenn Ackerman, Estee’s father, said the family had been expecting the potential conflict to become a problem.
“I believe everyone in life has certain things that they love to do, maybe they love to cook, they love to play golf, they love to work, but the Sabbath, unless you’re a doctor or a fireman – you have to save people’s lives – the Sabbath takes precedence over all these things,” Glenn Ackerman told the Christian Post.
Ackerman said tournament organizers did a “very good job” in spite of his daughter’s disappointment, acknowledging the difficulty in rescheduling a five-day competition involving 60 events and 800 players.
“We clearly try to be inclusionary in the manner in which we run our events,” Michael Cavanaugh, CEO of USA Table Tennis, told The Christian Post. “Estee entered eight events and played to completion in all but one of them.”