Rabbi Intervenes at Knicks Game After Israeli Coach Ousted

Rabbi: "Forgive Him"

By Emliy Feldman
|  Monday, Oct 19, 2009  |  Updated 12:30 PM EDT
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Rabbi Intervenes at Knicks Game After Israeli Coach Ousted

AP

Coaches, ref and rabbi argue about the ejection of Maccabi coach Pini Gershon from Sunday's game.

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A coach, a ref and rabbi gather on the sidelines of a basketball court.

No joke. Last night's special inter-continental Knicks game took a bizarre turn when Tel Aviv Maccabi's head coach Pini Gershon refused to leave the floor after a 3rd quarter ejection, prompting a rabbi to intervene, on behalf of the irate coach.

Rabbi Yichak Dovid Grossman, dean and founder of Migdal Ohr, an Israeli Orphanage, which took home proceeds from the game, sided with Gershon, and asked referees to bend the rules, just this once.

"I explained that this is not a regular game and the kids are watching and [it's] important that there will be peace and forgive him," Rabbi Grossman told ESPN.  "If you forgive him, I can speak to the children and say, 'You also forgive. If you have a fight, you forgive.' But he says this is the law, that you must obey."

The argument, negotiation and final submission of Gershon delayed the game eight minutes, during which time players shot hoops and spectators gawked at the sideline sideshow.

Referees called both technical fouls on the coach in less than a minute, after Gershon screamed at officials. The second technical came after a foul by Knicks forward, Al Harrington. Gershon shouted at official Ben Taylor, despite the fact that Harrington was slapped with an offensive foul.

Victory went to the home team with a final score of 106 to 91.

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