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At competition, Israeli robots take a day of rest on Shabbat

Trigon 5990 sent a letter explaining why the team could not continue.

The Trigon 5990 robotics team in Modi’in, Israel, left their booth as is to celebrate Shabbat. Source: Twitter.
The Trigon 5990 robotics team in Modi’in, Israel, left their booth as is to celebrate Shabbat. Source: Twitter.

The booth at the international robotics competition in Houston on April 21 had a rather unusual diorama: Shabbat candles, challah, a Kiddush cup and a poster explaining that it was Judaism’s official day of rest.

The teens from Modi’in on Trigon 5990 sent a letter to tournament organizers informing them that the team could not compete on the holy day, despite having reached the final stage.

“We come from a religious Jewish background, and our faith is an integral part of who we are,” they wrote in the letter. “Saturdays, Shabbat, hold a special significance in the Jewish faith.”

A tournament official read the team’s statement, and as the audience applauded, he thanked the team for the “reminder of the importance of things outside of robotics.”

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