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Singing of Christmas and Chanukah Songs in Schools Upheld in New Jersey

The daily recitation of grace before eating and the singing of Christmas carols and Chanukah songs in New Jersey public schools were upheld this weekend by State Education Commissioner Frederick M. Raubinger, who dismissed an appeal against these practices filed by parents of two Freehold schoolchildren.

The petitioners, Mr, and Mrs, John J. Gould, who were raised in the Jewish faith but said they were agnostics, had sought to have the practices stopped on the ground they were illegal and unconstitutional, Mrs. Gould said today they purposely did not mention the fact that they were Jewish in the petition “because we are not influenced by any Jewish philosophy in this action.”

The grace recited before milk breaks in the New Jersey schools consists of Psalm 136 of the Old Testament while various Christmas carols and the Jewish Hallel festival prayer are chanted before Christmas and Chanukah respectively. In rejecting the petition by Mr. and Mrs. Gould, Commissioner Raubinger said that the passage recited as grace was “part of our national culture and heritage” and that the carols and Chanukah songs were necessary “to properly develop the social growth of the individual pupils.”

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