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Boston Jewish Community Council Takes Issue with Catholic Organ

The Jewish Community Council of Greater Boston replied today to Catholic criticisms of Jewish opposition to religious practices in public schools with a reminder that Boston Catholics in earlier years had followed the same course for their children.

The statement was made in reply to two editorials in the Boston Archdiocesan newspaper, The “Pilot,” which had endorsed a public call in the Jesuit weekly, “America,” to American Jews to drop their fight against prayers in the public schools because it was creating anti-Semitism among Catholics.

Rabbi Roland B. Gittelsohn, president of the council, declared in the reply to the “Pilot,” that “we shall always take inspiration from the Catholic example of fighting so valiantly to keep inviolate the religious sensibilities of their children in the public schools.”

He recalled that when the Catholics of Boston “stood behind their youngsters who were expelled from the Elliot Public School some years ago for refusing to participate in religious exercises, they served their Church well, they served God well and they served America well.”

For so doing, Rabbi Gittelsohn added, “they brought down upon their heads the contumely and censure of the non-Catholic community, they were scorched by the fire of religious bigotry. Fortunately, they held firm and our nation is the better for this example of dedication to a cherished ideal.”

Rabbi Gittelsohn also noted that the “Pilot” in an editorial on the Catholic struggle at that time, declared that the Catholics “managed in fact to secularize the schools and to remove religion from education. Surely this was against their own basic principles, but the social situation forced them into it.”

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