Hillel Foundation Rabbis Endorse Teaching Religion in Universities

A national staff conference of rabbi-directors of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations today endorsed the teaching of courses in religion at state universities “when their purpose is limited to promoting knowledge and understanding and does not seek to indoctrinate or make converts.”

The Hillel rabbis, who supervise the organization’s programs on 75 major American and Canadian campuses, said that the tax-supported university can properly deal with the philosophy of religion and the history, psychology and literature of the various faiths. “But,” they said, “to expect a state university to help make students more religious is to misconceive its purpose, violate the separation of church and state principle, and impinge upon the unique domain of the church or synagogue.”

The Hillel staff directors were in agreement that a state university can rightfully concern itself with the study of religion “since higher education is expected to encompass the totality of human knowledge and experience.”

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