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Jewish Groups Advised Not to Oppose Religion in Public School System

A leading Jewish sociologist warned today that Jewish “organizational opposition” will not prevent religious teachings in the public schools and will have only the result that “religion in the schools will come about in the worst possible way and the Jewish people will get the worst deal.”

Prof. Will Herberg took his one-man campaign against the formal Jewish stand on the issue to the fifth annual B’nai B’rith Mountain States Institute of Judaism. He was sharply challenged by Dr. Mannel Laderman of Denver, former chairman of the Micrachi National Education Committee, and Sheldon Steinhauser, regional Anti-Defamation League director.

Dr. Herberg, who is professor of Judaic Studies and Social Philosophy at Drew University, declared that the dominant Protestant church in America “will not stand for barring religion from the public schools,” adding that opposition of Jewish organizations was “incredible, blind and unrealistic.” He said he doubted whether Jewish organizational leaders would realize their “untenable position” on the issue in time to change.

Dr. Laderman, disputing Dr. Herberg’s thesis, insisted on the importance of maintaining the constitutional principle of separation of church and state in this area and said such teaching must be opposed “in the right time and place,” Mr. Steinhauser said he did not share Dr. Herberg’s pessimism and that in Ohio, where he had served before coming to Denver, release time religious teaching was in effect in schools of 130 towns and cities.

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