Montreal (Jun. 26)
A statement expressing strong opposition to “released time” by public schools for religious instruction was adopted at today’s session of the 50th annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis now being held here.
The statement emphasized that “to participate in any form of cooperation of this type–mild, or even harmless as it might seem–positively means to consent to a compromise on the principle of separation of church and state, which may finally jeopardize the very basis of American life, for no principle is more fundamental to the maintenance of a free democratic American life than this principle.”
The movement in America for creating good will between Jews and Christians, was re-evaluated at today’s session by Rabbi B. Benedict Glazer of Detroit and Rabbi Abraham L. Feinberg of Toronto. Rabbi Glazer criticized the Jewish defense agencies for “competition, conflicts and duplication.” He said that they are using “a scare technique” for fund raising purposes and make “excessive claims” of success in fighting anti-Semitism.
His major criticism was directed against the National Conference of Christians and Jews. This organization, he said, “does not involve itself in any social action and takes no sides on questions which deal with legislative action and efforts to eliminate prejudice and discrimination, such as fair employment practices, restrictive land covenants and discriminatory quotas in our educational system.”
Rabbi Feinberg agreed with this criticism, but said that to be cynical about the good will movement, despite all signs of weakness and omission, is “to acknowledge the bankruptcy of prospects for a healthy, extroverted American Judaism.” He argued that the good will movement “embodies the hope of constructive rapprochement with Christianity.”