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Lubavitch Rabbi Blasts Jewish Groups Opposing Prayer in Public Schools

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Blasting Jewish agencies that oppose prayers in public schools, Rabbi Abraham Shemtov, the only Jewish representative on the National Advisory Council on Adult Education, said here that the issue of church-state separation has become “very vague” and needs more study before becoming a battlefield for Jews, it was reported in the Northern California Jewish Bulletin.

A Reagan-appointee and the Washington representative of the Lubavitch movement, Shemtov was in San Francisco last week to attend a conference on adult education. The Lubavitch movement and President Reagan advocate silent prayers in public schools.

During a tour of bilingual adult education centers in this city, Shemtov, 46, said it would be better to have silent school prayers rather than prayers spoken aloud proselytizing one religion or another. He also said prayers in schools might enable a child to discover something about religion.

Referring to public displays of Chanukah menorahs, such as the ones in San Francisco, Philadelphia and Washington, Shemtov said: “We (Jews) should not hide ourselves and feed on our own inferiority complexes and ghetto mentality. ” The Philadelphia-born rabbi said he took “great pride” introducing the 28-foot menorah at the foot of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and in organizing the installation of the 30-foot national menorah in Lafayette Square in Washington.

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