Central Conference of American Rabbis Urges Separation of Schools and Churches

Expressing faith in the “American public school system as an institution that embodies the American principle of separation of church and state,” a resolution adopted today at the Central Conference of American Rabbis opposed the use of public school assemblies and convocations for evangelistic purposes.

The resolution also voiced opposition to “attempts made by Bible societies to use the public school as a medium to distribute various versions of the Bible to school children.”

A second resolution called on all rabbis teaching and preaching Judaism to speak out on all the challenges of contemporary life in which moral principles are involved. It asserted that “the principles of our faith offer guidance for the conduct of industry commerce, politics, government and international and inter-racial relations.”

The resolution was adopted following a report by Rabbi Ferdinand Isserman of St. Louis, chairman of the Conference’s Justice and Peace Commission, in which he declared that “laymen of all faiths are being urged to bring pressure on their prophetic clergy by well-publicized, well-financed, and well-organized forces of reaction that work zealously to sabotage political, economic, and industrial reform and thus nullify the social gains of the past few years.”

Dr. Maurice N. Eisendrath, director of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, spoke of the need for cooperation between lay and rabbinical groups for the furtherance of a religious revival among American Jews. He declared that the “world needs religion more today then ever before in history,” and revealed that to meet this need the U.A.H.C. will sponsor an “American Jewish cavalcade” in November. This effort toward a religious revival in the more than 300 Reform congregations in America will take the form of three and four day visits to the various communities by outstanding rabbinical leaders, Dr. Eisendrath said.

Dr. Louis Nann of Chicago reported that 66 Institutes on Judaism had been held this past year, attended by 4,200 Christian ministers. He announced that the Conference was planning to hold over 100 such institutes during the next year.

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