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Ajcongress Suits Called ‘coup De Grace’ for Day Schools

The National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs (COLPA) accused the American Jewish Congress today of seeking to administer “the coup de grace to the day school movement following the body blow delivered by the Supreme Court last week.” The charge, leveled by COLPA president Julius Berman, referred to last week’s announcement by the AJCongress that it was joining the American Civil Liberties. Union in sponsoring suit in six states to halt the use of tax monies to aid parochial schools. The AJCongress announcement said the Supreme Court decision of June 28 halting such aid would be the basis of the suits in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Vermont. Berman said, “This collaboration between the American Jewish Congress and the ACLU is another sign of the increasing secularization of American society.” Contending that “the continued vitality of religious Jewish life in America is directly dependent on the Jewish Day School movement,” Berman added, “We can only hope that the Congress, which contends that ample funds are available in the Jewish community, will move within its own membership to secure these funds for the desperate day schools and join with other groups in similar efforts directed to the Jewish community at large.”

The Religious Zionists of America meeting here, urged “Federal and State agencies to find the necessary legal and constitutional instruments for providing massive aid to the parochial school system” in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down such aid. Dr. Bernard A. Poupko, RZA president, authorized Dr. Bernard Bergman, president of its national Torah education council, to “meet with Government and State officials in an effort to devise a program of political action to reverse the deleterious effects of the Supreme Court decision.” Poupko said such action would be taken “before embarking upon a nationwide campaign, in conjunction with other religious bodies, to enlist massive public support for a correction of this injustice.” Bergman called the Supreme Court decision “a defeat for equality within our educational system and a blow to the thousands of youngsters who are entitled to the support they so desperately need.”

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