As a parent who advocated last February for my USA Gymnasts daughter Amalya Knapp, I fully applaud and appreciate Daniel Edelman’s Opinion piece, “Lessons From Beren’s Legal Challenge,” March 23. I too agree with the “additional value” that came along with Mirwis’ and Kosowsky’s perseverance in advocating for their Beren and Maimonides children and students — “to appreciate and experience the beauty of Shabbat while internalizing “… the lesson of inclusiveness fundamental to this country’s purpose.”
When Amalya, a Level 4 gymnast, was scheduled to compete at the New Jersey state level on a Saturday, we debated what the better “teachable moment” would be for our then 7-year-old: to simply accept the scheduling decision and highlight the beauty of Shabbat, and the ennobling sacrifices and limitations that at times come along with that, or to “responsibly” and respectfully challenge the scheduling decision to see if perhaps in our inclusive country, open discussions and compromises can be had, and she could fully participate and compete on a different day.
We ultimately decided it would be a disservice to ourselves and to our daughter not to speak up, and Amalya competed as a state Level 5 gymnast on Sunday this year, feeling great about her love for and commitment to Shabbat and gymnastics, one not to the exclusion of the other, and appreciating our country’s commitment to freedom of religion.
Pretty powerful lesson for an 8-year-old, no?