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American Jewish Congress Clarifies Its Attitude on Federal Government Aid to Education

The American Jewish Congress today issued a statement reiterating its opposition to any legislation “which by permitting public funds to be used for sectarian education violates the fundamental democratic principle of separation of Church and State.” At the same time, the statement emphasized that the Congress will support the provision of health services and facilities from public funds to all children, no matter in what school system they are enrolled.

“Separation of church and state, full equality in fact as well as in law and extension of health services to children in all school systems will continue to be the criteria by which the American Jewish Congress will judge all legislation on these problems,” Rabbi Irving Miller, chairman of the executive committee of the organization, emphasized in the statement.

“It would be extremely unfortunate if false and malicious charges of bigotry that have been made are permitted to becloud and distort issues of fundamental importance now before the people of this country or to intimidate those who must make the ultimate decisions,” Rabbi Miller pointed out. “In the current controversy over Federal aid to education, three wholly separate problems are involved, namely: the use of public funds for parochial education, the use of public funds to support and maintain any system of enforced racial segregation, and the provision of health and welfare services to the country’s children.”

The formation of a Committee for a Democratic American Jewish Congress was announced here today. The new body, headed by Rabbi Shepherd Z. Baym, member of the national executive of the A.J.C., issued a statement calling for the “ousting” of the present leadership of the Congress at its forthcoming national convention, which is scheduled to open in New York on Nov. 9. The statement charges that “an autocratic few have seized control of the American Jewish Congress” and that “expulsions and threats of expulsions are the order of the day.”

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