NEW YORK (Feb. 28)
Charles Pam, the Orthodox Jewish grocer in Brooklyn who is challenging the New York state Sunday closing law, was found guilty today by Judge Herman Weinkrantz, in Brooklyn Criminal Court, of selling a can of tuna and a Jar of baby food on a Sunday during prohibited hours. He was fined $5. and given a suspended sentence.
The American Jewish Congress, which is providing free legal counsel to the grocer in testing the constitutionality of the state law, announced immediately it would appeal the decision, to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. It was the grocer’s eleventh appearance in court in his battle against the law which, he contends, violates his religious freedom.
Testifying in his own behalf while wearing a skullcap, Mr. Pam said he was an Orthodox Jew who closed his grocery store from Friday evening to Sunday morning, in observance of the Jewish Sabbath. A defense witness, Rabbi Sidney Hoenig, professor at Yeshiva University, testified that, in Jewish tradition, the seventh-day Sabbath was regarded as the central point in Jewish life. Rabbi Shabtai Rubel, of Congregation Hapoel Hamizrachi of Brooklyn, testified that the defendant was president of the congregation, and attended services every Saturday.