ATLANTIC CITY (Jun. 17)
Employment discrimination against Jews is more widespread than is generally recognized, even in periods when jobs are plentiful, it was reported here today at the opening session of the four-day annual conference of the National Community Relations Advisory Council, the coordinating body of six national and 32 local Jewish groups engaged in combatting anti-Semitism.
The report presented to the conference pointed out that anti-Jewish bias in employment, which is still strong, frequently goes unnoticed because of the high level of employment among Jewish workers. It recommended that the problem of employment discrimination receive much greater attention from Jewish community relations agencies and Jewish vocational services than it is getting. It also advanced a number of recommendations for dealing with the problem effectively.
Bernard H. Trager of Bridgeport, NCRAC chairman, said the report is based on the proceedings of a two-day conference of representatives of Jewish community relations agencies and Jewish vocational agencies held some time ago in New York. It was presented to the session by Louis Feinmark, president of the New Haven Jewish Community Council, who is chairman of the NCRAC Committee on Employment Discrimination.
The report stresses the need for Jewish agencies to interpret the problem of Jewish employment discrimination to the public employment service and to the public agencies responsible for the administration of fair employment laws and government regulations against employment discrimination.
SUBTLE WAYS OF DISCRIMINATION CITED; OPPOSITION URGED
The urgency of the problem of discrimination in employment against Jews is not recognized, the report says, because at the present time almost all Jewish workers are gainfully employed. “Jews are employed by Jews, they are found in government, in civic agencies, in their own businesses, or are self-employed in professions. This has tended to obscure the fact that employment discrimination against Jews may be continuing with only little improvement.”
The report stresses that discrimination on any grounds must be opposed. It points out, at the same time, that discrimination against Jews in employment is manifested in special ways and that the ways in which such discrimination is practiced are frequently very subtle. As a consequence, the report says, “many leaders in the fight against employment discrimination appear almost totally unaware of the extent to which Jews are denied equality of employment opportunity. ” Among the major recommendations advanced in the report are the following:
1. An intensification and expansion of research to produce reliable data about Jewish occupational distribution and about the extent and areas of discrimination against Jews. The report emphasizes that most important is a “continuing program of fact finding, that would involve on a routine basis the systematic compilation of information from all available sources, including employers, trade unions, schools, employment agencies and members of Jewish community organizations. “
2. Establishment and maintenance of a clearance system between vocational service agencies and community relations agencies; establishment of a permanent joint national committee of the Jewish Occupational Council, representing the vocational service agencies and the NCRAC, to formulate procedures and develop a coordinated and cooperative program.
3. The assumption of responsibility by Jewish agencies for interpreting the subtleties and special characteristics of discrimination against Jews to government agencies, for providing those agencies with information about specific cases of employment discrimination against Jews, and for helping those agencies develop methods for investigating and handling cases involving discrimination against Jews.
4. Conducting a nation-wide program for finding, documenting, and interpreting cases of discrimination in employment against Jews. This, it is recommended, should include a) cooperation with employment agencies and employment counsellors; b) the compilation of a list of members of Jewish community organizations who could furnish information about Jewish employment in specific plants and industries, the policies of management, the attitudes of individual officials and department heads; c) routine questioning of all applicants who use vocational agencies regarding their employment experience.
PARLEY HEARS REPORT ON RELIGION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The session today also discussed the problem of religion in public education and the stand which Jewish groups should take on such issues as “released-time” in the public schools and prayer recitation in schools. Dr. Rolfe Lanier Hunt, executive director of the Department of Religion and Public Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., said that the American public school “is itself an expression of a religious faith. As an institution, it grows out of a belief in human personality which has religious wellsprings common to Judaism and the Christianity. This fact is perhaps more important than the particular role we assign the institution in the religious education of children.”
Mortimer Brenner, of the Brooklyn Jewish Community Council, who is co-chairman of the Joint Advisory Committee on Religion and the Public Schools of the NCRAC and the Synagogue Council, spoke on the work of the Joint Committee. Dr. Ira Eisenstein was chairman of the session.
The groups affiliated with the National Community Relations Advisory Council are: American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans of the United States, Union of American Hebrew Congregations, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, United Synagogue of America; regional, state, and county-wide Jewish Community Councils in the Southwest Region, in the States of Connecticut, Indiana and Minnesota, in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, California and in Camden County and Essex County, N. J.; and local Jewish Community Councils in the following cities: Akron, Baltimore, Boston, Bridgeport, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Elizabeth, Hartford, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New Haven, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco, Toledo, Washington, and Youngstown.