NEW YORK (Sep. 1)
The New York City Board of Education plan to close public schools on Rosh Hashanah, September 22 and 23, came under legal attack today from the Freethinkers of America. Joseph Lewis, president of the group, and Alfred L. Klein, father of two Staten Island children, filed papers in court asking the Board of Education to show cause why the schools should be closed.
The order is returnable September 5 in Brooklyn Supreme Court. The show cause demand argued that the school closing would violate both state and federal constitutions because the constitutions “prohibit the disruption of the public schools for the purposes of religious instruction or the benefit of any religious sect.”
The suit also contended that children who are not of the Jewish faith would be compelled by the closing “to observe the Jewish New Year against their will.” The school board decided last January to take the action because of the large numbers of teachers absent on those days. Yom Kippur observance is not involved because it falls this year on a Saturday when schools are closed.