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Jewish Communities Have Responsibility to Strengthen Public, Jewish Education

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Mrs. Charles Snitow, retiring president of the American Jewish Congress’ National Women’s Division, told its convention banquet here today that Jewish communities had a responsibility to strengthen public education as well as Jewish education. Mrs. Snitow, of Scarsdale, N.Y., observed that “one of the glories of America has been the social mobility of its immigrants and their children for whom public schools were the way out of poverty and ignorance, the way up the social and economic ladder.” She told the more than 500 delegates attending the biennial national conference that “if public schools should become a catch-all for the unsuccessful, the poor, the helpless and the misfits–an inevitable development if private and parochial schools receive public funds–we will see a hardening of class distinctions and a deepening of racial and religious divisions.”

Addressing a workshop session, Rabbi Herman Pollack, Hillel director at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that Jews were faced with the alternative of “either living by our moral commitments or becoming sycophants. Our relation to our heritage must not be determined by the climate of opinion,” he said. He cited a recent opinion by the Rabbinical Court of Massachusetts upholding the right of selective conscientious objection, an opinion at odds with the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that only those opposed to any form of war could be granted conscientious objectors’ status. At an earlier session, Dr. Henry Rosovsky, a Harvard professor, said that demands on Israel to withdraw from occupied territories without adequate safeguards is antithetical to American national interest. He declared: “It is unrealistic and unfair to ask Israel to accept the same international guarantees that have failed her at critical moments over the years.”

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