NEWARK, N.J. (Dec. 11)
A protest was lodged today with Governor Richard B. Hughes, of New Jersey, against the action of a municipal court judge at Secaucus, N.J., who forced an Orthodox Jew to remove his skull-cap while before the bench, thus impairing the pious man’s religious principles.
The protest was sent by Benjamin Epstein, president of the New Jersey region of the American Jewish Congress. According to Mr. Epstein, Secaucus Judge George W. King ordered Morris Steigman, of Brooklyn, who was appearing on a traffic charge, to remove his yarmekle. Mr. Steigman did so. The man, noted the letter to the Governor, “is an Orthodox Jew whose religious principles require him to keep his head covered at all times.”
“By requiring Mr. Steigman to uncover his head,” Mr. Epstein informed the Governor, “the judge used his official position to compel conduct that violated Mr. Steigman’s religious principles. This is a direct impairment of religious freedom. It was a gross departure from the traditions of this state, which has yielded to none in its attachment to the democratic principles underlying our system of government.”
Mr. Epstein expressed the hope that the Governor would see to it that the courts of the state avoid “such abuses” in the future “and, in particular, that they are instructed that Orthodox Jews are permitted to keep their heads covered in the court room.”