Orthodox Jewish teen from LI unable to attend Olympic team tryout due to Sabbath

Posted: Updated:

An Orthodox Jewish teen from West Hempstead won’t be able to try out for the U.S. Olympic Table Tennis team after the group organizing it refused to reschedule her matches from the Saturday Sabbath.

Estee Ackerman, 18, is nationally ranked and was eager to attend this year’s USA Olympic qualifying event for her sport. However, the event in California is being held over a weekend and she can't play on the Saturday Sabbath.

Glenn Ackerman, her father, appealed to USA Table Tennis and asked them to rearrange her matches so she wouldn't have to play on the Sabbath.

“I tried, I figured there are only 14 women, probably only seven matches on Friday and Saturday, maybe we could somehow figure that out and do it,” says Ackerman.

But in an email to News 12, the USATT said, "After confirmation with tournaments officials, USA Table Tennis determined it was not reasonably possible to accommodate Estee's specific scheduling request." 

The Anti-Defamation League rushed to her side, saying in a letter to the USATT organization, "The rejection of Estee's accommodation request is disrespectful of her faith and undermines the Olympic Trials being viewed as fair."

USA Table Tennis has not responded publicly to the Anti-Defamation League’s letter.

While Estee Ackerman says she can’t try out this year, she won’t let it dash her dreams of someday competing in the Olympics. She also says she will continue training and looking forward to other tournaments she can compete in.

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