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Jewish Congress Opposes Introduction of Prayer in Public Schools

The national executive committee of the American Jewish Congress, composed of more than 75 representatives from all parts of the country, today adopted a resolution calling upon the New York State Board of Regents to rescind its recent proposal that every public school day begin with the recitation of a prayer.

The resolution asserted that the Regents’ proposal would result in introducing into the public school system influences and pressures which would threaten the existence of the non-sectarian public school. “Although the prayer recommended by the Regents is described as non-denominational,” the resolution stated, “experience has shown that, sooner or later, non-denominational religious exercises acquire sectarian additions and deviations. What is non-denominational to the majority is frequently sectarian to the minority.”

Pointing out that children of different faiths pray in different ways, the resolution urged that “these religious differences should not be brought into the public school where all children must be deemed Americans, without divisions according to race, color or religion.”

Dr. Israel Goldstein, president of the American Jewish Congress, who just returned from England, reported at the meeting of the national executive committee that anti-Semitism in Britain has “declined perceptively in recent years” and that a friendly relationship is growing up between Britain and Israel. Reporting on his conversations with British Jewish leaders concerning the recent German offer to make reparations for Nazi crimes against Jewry, Dr. Goldstein said agreement existed that no discussions with Germany can take place “unless there is evidence that Chancellor Adenauer has in mind something really commensurate with the magnitude of the damage done.”

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