NEW YORK (May. 7)
A leading Orthodox rabbi proposed tonight a procedure for resolving the dispute within the American Jewish community on the issue of Federal aid to religious schools.
Rabbi Charles Weinberg, recently re-elected national president of the Rabbinical Council of America, made his suggestion in an address as principal guest speaker at the 63rd Anniversary National Dinner of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, the central agency of traditional Jewish congregations in the United States and Canada.
Rabbi Weinberg told the 700 guests at the annual dinner, held at the Pierre Hotel here that the federal aid controversy both within the Jewish community and in relations of the Jewish community with the larger community could be resolved by application of the ancient Jewish principle of “taking care of our own. “
“I would propose that all elements of the orthodox Jewish community organize a basis for an approach to the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, as the central body of the 800 federations and welfare funds of our Jewish community, to achieve a better, more fruitful approach to this problem, ” he said. “Through such negotiation, it should be possible to channel some of the funds raised from all Jewish contributors to the Hebrew Day School. “
The religious leader stressed that “the controversy now raging in the American Jewish community concerning Federal aid to private schools stems in part from a widespread concern among Jewish educators for the continued growth of a system of religious education which is accepted widely as a significant contribution to the development of a truly Jewish community in the United States. ” He cited the existence of more than 250 all-day Hebrew schools in the United States, with an enrollment of 50, 000 pupils.
He charged that the principle of “taking care of our own” was one “which has been almost totally ignored in the area of Jewish education, particularly the type of maximum Jewish education represented by the Hebrew all-day school. ” He pointed out that the traditional Jew in the United States “contributes to the central Jewish fund in his community for the needs of the total community” in application of “the democratic principle of self-taxation which has made it possible for our community to flourish without the problems of government supervision or control. “