ADL Calls on USA Table Tennis to Accommodate Orthodox Jewish Player at Upcoming Olympic Trials

New York, NY, February 14, 2020 … ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) today called on USA Table Tennis (USATT) to accommodate the Jewish religious observance of an Orthodox teenager at the upcoming U.S. Olympic Table Tennis Team trials scheduled in Santa Monica, CA for later this month.

According to reports, Estee Ackerman, an Orthodox-Jewish teenager, likely will not be able to compete at the Olympic trials because one day of the four-day tournament falls on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. In January, Ackerman’s father sought a religious accommodation but was reportedly turned down by USATT.

“The Olympics are about embracing diversity in competition. Forcing Estee to choose between her faith and her lifelong dream is completely antithetical to that mission,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt wrote in a letter to Virginia Sung, CEO of USATT. “The rejection of Estee’s accommodation request is disrespectful of her faith and undermines the Olympic Trials being viewed as fair.”

USATT has until today to reverse its decision before the Saturday registration deadline.

"Securing a spot for the Olympics should be passed purely on skill and merit,” Greenblatt wrote. “We therefore urge your organization to reconsider its determination and make concerted efforts to allow Estee to compete.”

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.