SEATTLE (Sep. 3)
Many American Orthodox Jewish leaders are “increasingly concerned” as to the wisdom of the United States Supreme Court ruling that prayer in the public schools is unconstitutional, one such leader declared last night.
The statement was made by Moses I. Feuerstein, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, in an address to 450 delegates and visitors at a banquet of the Northwest regional convention of the organization.
He said that, while the Orthodox group was committed to the concept of the separation of church and state as a basic foundation of American life, the emphasis on freedom of religion by Jewish civil liberties leaders could become a concept of freedom from religion. He added that the relegation of prayer to the home and house of worship and its elimination from the public school leaves religion without relevance to what is most respected–education.
“What the effect of this lack of relevance will be to the young America of the coming generation is what is bothering many Orthodox Jewish leaders,” he added. “A national community highly educated but without a religious discipline is what religious leaders fear most in this coming era when scientific progress and human survival are approaching the crossroads.”
As a constituent of the National Community Relations Advisory Council, the Orthodox Union has been formally associated with the position taken by the NCRAC’s constituent organizations in support of the U.S. Supreme Court June 25 decision, barring the New York Regents Prayer from use in public schools. Mr. Feuerstein told the regional convention that the issue was receiving further study by his organisation and would be considered at the organization’s national convention in Washington, D.C. in November.