Jewish Congress Clarifies Stand on Christmas Celebrations in Schools

The American Jewish Congress has issued a new set of guidelines for Jewish parents troubled by Christmas celebrations and other sectarian practices in the public schools, it was announced here today by Howard M. Squadron, chairman of the Congress’ commission on law and social action.

Noting that the main issue was “the propriety of clearly sectarian practices such as Nativity plays, “Mr. Squadron said that “such devotional practices, which amount to turning the schoolroom into a religious chapel, are flagrantly violative of the church-state separation principle.”

The guideline issued by the AJC cautioned against combined Chanukah-Christmas observances, noting that “the impropriety of sectarian observances in the public schools is not cured by adding to them.” While asserting that religion in the home, church or synagogue “serves incomparably to ennoble the spirit of mankind,” the guideline stressed that religion in public schools “serves only to harass, hurt and dislocate children of minority faiths and to impair wholesome classroom relationships.”

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