FALLSBURG, N.Y. (Jun. 22)
The newly elected first vice-president of the Rabbinical Council of America called today for tax credits for the parents of religious school children as a means of retaining the separation of church and state while “preserving” such schools. “By granting tax deductions for tuition we are in no way infringing upon the separation principle, Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills told the Orthodox rabbinical organization’s 36th annual convention here. Rabbi Schonfeld noted that “all of these schools are tax exempt and contributions to them are exempt from taxation.”
“Our courts,” he continued, “have held that contributions to the religious institutions are completely tax-exempt. Why, then, can we not exempt from taxation the sum which parents pay for their children’s education?” He contended that the parent who sends his child to a religious school is relieving the community of that particular educational expense. “Is not relieving him of the taxation on that money the least that we can do for him?” Rabbi Schonfeld asked.
According to Rabbi Schonfeld, “The religious-school system, which comprises a substantial portion of our educational system, faces its greatest and worst financial crisis in history. Without some form of assistance the schools will collapse and disappear,” he said.