WEST ORANGE, N.J (Feb. 19)
A second incident in a New Jersey town, involving a public denunciation of a Jewish board of education member, was disclosed her this weekend.
Frank P. Combs, a Protestant member of the West Orange Board of Education, publicly attacked the appointment by Mayor Louis Falcone of Abe I. Charnak to succeed Mr. Combs. At a board meeting last January 9, Mr. Combs said that “unfortunately, Mayor Falcone appointed a person of the Jewish faith in my place, leaving a substantial portion of the community consisting of those of the Protestant faith, without representation on the Board.”
Mr. Charnak became the third Jewish member on the five-member board of West Orange, which is five miles west of Newark. The two other board members are Catholic West Orange is 40 percent Jewish, 35 percent Catholic and 25 percent Protestant.
The incident recalled a controversy earlier this month in Wayne Township, where the Board vice-president, a Protestant named Newton Miller, called for the defeat of two candidates because they were Jewish and, as such, might spend too much for education. Mr. Miller also said Jewish members would endanger “what is left of Christ in our Christmas celebrations.” In an election on February 14, the voters defeated the two Jewish candidates.
However, Mr. Combs said the situation in West Orange was “quite different” from that of Wayne. “We have always had representation of all groups,” he added. “I represented the Protestants for five years. This was not intended as criticism of the Jewish people.” He called the appointment of Mr. Charnack an “injustice” and then added: “Let it be clearly understood that I in no way intend to comment or reflect on the capabilities or religion of the gentleman who has been appointed.”
Noting that the appointment would make Jewish members “a clear majority,” Mr. Combs told the meeting: “Whether these three act in unison or not, at all times they will be held responsible, rightly or wrongly, by the entire non-Jewish segment of the community for everything that is not to their liking.”