B’nai B’rith Youth Convention Backs Kennedy’s Views on Religion

Delegates to 17th annual convention of B’nai B’rith Young Adults today endorsed President Kennedy’s call for an intensification of religious practices in homes and more regular attendance at church and synagogue services, as substitutes for prayers in school.

The view was expressed in a resolution defending the U.S. Supreme Court against “intemperate and abusive comments and reactions” that have followed in the wake of the recent decision banning the New York State Regents prayer. The resolution asserted that reaction to the Court’s decision had been “blown up far out of proportion to the issue involved” and noted that the Court “went out of its way” to point out that the decision “was not based on hostility to religion or prayer, but rather for protection of religion and in strict conformance to the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

“If survival of religion in America depends upon utterance of 22 canned words for children in public schools, we had better pray to save our churches and synagogues,” the resolution stated.

At a discussion on “Religious Movements in Jewish Life,” three rabbinical panelists agreed that “sectarianism of Judaism has led to confusion and alienation of American Jewish youth” and called for an end to ” adjective Judaism.” The rabbis agreed that “we would do well to stress those forces that unite, rather than divide, our people.” The panelists included Rabbi Myron Fenster, of Jackson Heights, N. Y.; Rabbi Leivy Smolar, of Worcester, Mass.; and Rabbi Abe Siegelman, of New York.

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