Convention of Reform Rabbis Opposes Federal Aid to Religious Schools

Reform rabbis were told today to assume a “vigilant” approach in their communities to prevent public fums, whether state or federal, from being used to aid parochial schools, or church or synagogue sponsored educational institutions.

“We are gravely concerned by provisions of the new federal aid bill which seriously threaten the future of the public schools and for the first time offers a breakthrough on a sacred democratic principle which has protected the rights of all minorities, “Rabbi Edward E. Klein, chairman of the Central Conference of American Rabbis’ Committee on Church and State, told the convention of the CCAR now taking place here.

The conventior overwhelmingly endorsed the church-state report and continued the CCAR’s 73-year old stand for a strict separation. The statement asked rabbis to “be vigilant in thier communities and see to it that under the law public funds be publicly administered, and that they not be used for sectarian purposes.

“Moreover, where shared time arrangements are implemented, we urge our colleagues to be watchful lest religious educators be involved in decision making for the public schools and in reviewing teaching materials, lest parochial school children attend public school as a bloc, lest teachers be submitted to a religious test, and lest the public school’s interest in the numanities and social studies be diminished, “the statement stressed.

Rabbi Klein also suggested that rabbis “join with likeminded leaders of the community, Jewish and non-Jewish, in bringing public attention to such violations for whatever redress may be possible.” He especially stressed that in shared time arrangements under the new federal bill, rabbis should see to it that education procedures, curriculum decisions, choice of textbooks, “be the sole province of the public school authorities and that if children of sectarian schools attend public schools for shared-time classes they be integrated into the public school population rather than maintained as a bloc within the school.”

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