Orthodox Groups to Defend in Court Federal Aid to Parochial Schools

Jewish Orthodox organizations today announced that they will defend in court the Federal Aid to Education program challenged in court suits initiated by the American Jewish Congress and three non-Jewish groups. The suits charging that certain provisions of the Federal Education Act violated the principle of church-state separation were filed last week by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the American Jewish Congress, the United Parents Associations and the United Federation of Teachers.

Joseph Karasick, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, deplored today as a “disservice to education and religious freedom,” the action by the four organizations who filed suit in New York State and Federal Courts challenging the inclusion of pupils at religion-sponsored schools in the benefits of the Education Act. Dr. Joseph Kaminetsky, director of Torah Umesorah, the Hebrew day school movement, declared that “We have battled the American Jewish Congress in the U.S. Congress where we favored passage of this legislation and we are prepared to do battle in the courts of the land where here, too, we hope to emerge victorious.”

Jewish day school educators and lay leaders in 31 states and 104 communities where America’s 330 Hebrew day schools are located pointed out that the American Jewish Congress does not in any way speak for the Jewish community in religious and educational matters and that it is primarily a secular agency. Mr. Karasick, referring in his announcement to the American Jewish Congress, similarly said that organization “speaks for itself only and is under no circumstances to be taken as representing the American Jewish community. The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, central spokesman for this country’s 3,100 Orthodox synagogues, as well as all Orthodox rabbinic bodies and every other Orthodox Jewish body, have given full support to the Federal Education Act and deem its provisions to be consonant with the principle of church-state separation.”

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