Protestant School Board Will Not Oppose Separate Jewish School System in Montreal

The Protestant School Board of Montreal will, on principle, interpose no objections to the creation of a separate Jewish school system in Montreal, the Rev. Dr. James Smythe, chairman of the Protestant School Board, announced in the course of an address to a local gathering. Dr. Smythe pointed out that no agreement has yet been reached between the Protestants and the Jewish school commission that was appointed last April to negotiate with the Protestants and, failing that, to establish a separate Jewish school system.

Dr. Smythe said that “if despite all we have done and what we still stand ready to do, our Jewish fellow citizens decide to withdraw their children from our schools and set up a school system of their own, the Protestant School Board of Montreal, on principle, is not opposed to such action provided the rights of the Protestants are not prejudiced thereby. As Canadian citizens, however, we will deplore it for we believe that the self-segregation of the Jews would not be in the best interest of this province, of the country as a whole or of the Jews themselves.” Dr. Smythe also gave out some statistics concerning the school population of Montreal, showing that out of approximately 31,000 pupils in the Protestant schools about 10,000 are Jewish.

The Jewish school commission will issue a statement on the situation after its meeting next Monday night. The commission, which consists of Edgar M. Berliner, A. Z. Cohen, Nathan Gordon, Rabbi H. Abramovitch, Dr. Max Wiseman, Michael Garber, and Samuel Livingstone, the latter being chairman, is the result of a bill passed by the Quebec provincial legislature permitting the Jews to establish a separate Jewish school system on the island of Montreal.

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