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N.Y. Legislature Limits Fair Sabbath Law to New York City Residents

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The New York Senate approved today a Fair Sabbath measure limited to New York City, to permit Sabbatarians observing a day other than Sunday as their day of rest to do business on Sunday.

The Assembly then dropped its version, which provided for local option on the matter throughout the state which it approved previously, and adopted the Senate version. Early signature by Gov. Rockefeller, who has endorsed the proposal, was expected.

The approved measure contains a clause which makes it effective September 1 and requires the New York City Council to pass a local enabling ordinance on or before next December 31.

Jacob Stein, chairman of the New York City Committee on Jewish Affairs, termed the Legislature’s action “a welcome, if small first step.” He indicated that he expressed the views of all the organizations participating in the New York City Committee, which had coordinated their efforts in behalf of the bill.

The participating organizations are: The American Jewish Congress, Jewish Labor Committee, Jewish War Veterans, New York Federation of Reform Synagogues, the United Synagogue of America. Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, New York Board of Rabbis, National Council of Jewish Women, Brooklyn Jewish Community Council, Rabbinical Council of America and the Sabbath Observance Council.

Howard M. Squadron, chairman of the American Jewish Congress Metropolitan Council, expressed disappointment that the legislature had failed to approve the state-wide local option proposal contained in the abandoned Assembly measure. He added that his organization and other Jewish groups which have been fighting for nearly a decade for a Fair Sabbath law would continue to work for a state-wide local option law.

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