NEW YORK (Sep. 17)
New York’s City Council adopted unanimously today a new ordinance, known as the Fair Sabbath Bill, permitting small shops that observe another Sabbath than Sunday to remain open on Sundays. Under the terms of the bill, Sunday opening will be permitted to family-owned stores that are “the sole means or occupation of the proprietor.”
Last year, the State Legislature authorized New York City to enact such a law if the City Council wished to do so. A lengthy hearing on the proposed legislation was held by the City Council’s Committee on General Welfare last week, when the bill was opposed strenuously by some labor unions.
The bill adopted today had the solid support of the New York Jewish community. Rabbi Meyer Cohen, executive director of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, argued for the adoption of the ordinance, declaring that “this legislation is the minimum measure of justice which is long due to Jewish Sabbath observers. ” The bill was also supported vigorously by a spokesman for the American Jewish Congress.
Those who favored the bill had told the City Council that the measure’s adoption would eliminate hardships and end discrimination suffered until now by thousands of New Yorkers, due to their adherence to religious beliefs.