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Aj Congress to Challenge Constitutionality of State Aid to Private Schools

The American Jewish Congress has decided to file suit to challenge the constitutionality of a newly passed bill providing $28 million in public funds to aid secular functions of private schools. The bill, approved by the State Legislature last week, earmarks the monies for attendance-keeping and other record-keeping. George Soll, chairman of the AJ Congress’ Commission on Law and Social Action, said today that the bill was “a flagrant giveaway” and “a device to circumvent” Federal and state laws on the separation of church and state. Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller, who supported the bill, is expected to sign it within the week. Mr. Soil charged that the bill “represents a powerful attack on the principle that public funds may be given only to public institutions. The Jewish community has a special stake in the unitary principle of church-state separation and religious liberty. The security of all racial and religious minority groups depends on the health of American democracy. Any encroachment on the Bill of Rights and any challenge to its integrity presents a threat to the security of every Jew, for religious liberty is the basis of all freedom.”