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State Support to Jewish Day Schools in Canada Opposed by Leader

Opposition to the granting of government funds for the support of Jewish day schools and private Jewish schools was expressed here today by Saul Hayes, executive vice-president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

“The general practical consideration,” declared Mr. Hayes, “is that, if tax monies are used for private schools, a great drain on the public treasury will take place, which will not be to the benefit of the citizen and will create very serious arguments.” He held that Jewish day schools must be considered private schools.

“The specific practical question,” he continued, “is how Jewish schools would operate if the government supported them. To my mind, the issue is clear. There would be such an interference by the Department of Education, which would insist on a certain curriculum; which would measure the amount of time that would have to be given for the complete curriculum on the basis of what is given in the public schools; and that would leave all other subjects, such as Hebrew and Jewish history, to extracurricular time-tables.

“I believe dogmatically that, if the Jewish schools accept government monies, within a few years the whole character of the schools will be changed, and the Jewish day school will be back to the old system of Jewish subjects after school hours. Then the whole fuss will be about having Jewish children in a building owned by Jews, but nothing else.”

As for the position of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Mr. Hayes asserted that “actually, Congress has not taken any official view of the day school. Nowhere will you find any resolutions to this effect. It is frankly and avowedly in favor of ‘bigger and better’ Jewish education, and that is all.”

“I will candidly admit,” the executive asserted, “that there is a general feeling that the day schools are good ideas, but only for gifted children, being those who can take a full course according to the curriculum of the Department of Education in any given province and who can add to this during the school hours, Jewish history, Hebrew and such other distinctly Jewish subjects as give a school a Jewish character. For people who want this for their children, either the community should pay for the gifted children, or parents should do so, or as is now the case in Jewish high schools, a combination of both. To ask government to do so may or may not run counter to the Congress philosophy, but there is no known or stated position as yet.”

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