Posted on March 5, 2012
On Saturday night the Beren Academy Stars lost to Abilene Christian 46-42 in the TAPPS Class 2A state championship game. Beren was the first Jewish day school in the country to even reach such a level and their story goes way beyond basketball and winning and losing. There was lots of press about Beren and the game and this article by Chris Baldwin was one of the best I read and highlights many important points.
Today a Jewish journalist reached out to me and asked for my suggestions about stories about Jewish unity. I responded to her suggesting the Beren Academy as well as some other ideas. She questioned me about how Beren related to Jewish unity. These are some of the things I told her:
Beren created a sense of Jewish pride and unity that we rarely witness. As a result of their story Jews thought differently this past week about Shabbat then they have in quite some time or possibly ever. Saturday night Jews throughout the world watched the game and many commented through Twitter and other ways on the sense of pride they had in Beren. During the game the #weareallstars hashtag was one of the trends on Twitter which is no easy feat. The Beren players stood up for their values and beliefs and in doing so facilitated Shabbat and Jewish values being central to the national dialogue. This was way beyond basketball and provided parents and educators teachable moments and concrete examples of cool Jewish role models that everyone can relate to. The game may be over but we will hear a great deal from Beren in the future and their story may be made into a movie.
I have no idea if she plans to highlight Beren in her article or use anything I told her. But know that while we may not have heard about the Beren Stars a week ago you will undoubtedly hear about them again. You may see kids dressed up like them (and Jeremy Lin) on Purim and I will not be surprised if the players, parents, school leadership and/or communal leaders are asked to speak about their experiences with audiences throughout the country in the coming days, weeks and months.