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Gov. Smith Urges Religious Education for Jewish Children

July 27, 1923
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Religious training of the children of all faiths and all creeds is urged by Gov. Alfred Smith in a letter he has just sent to the Jewish Educational Association, of New York.

The Governor says that the Association, which is engaged in a campaign to take ten thousand Jewish children off the streets and place them in religious schools this Fall, is dealing with a fundamental problem as important to the community as the care of the sick and the poor.

The campaign is headed by Nathan Straus, Judge Otto Rosalsky, Judge Edward Luzansky, Israel Unterberg, Jacob Wener, Samuel Rottenberg and Bernard Semel.

Governor Smith’s letter in part follows:-

“I have noted with deep interest in your communication to me that hundreds of thousands of children, both Christian and Jewish are growing up in this State without any religious education. This fact must challenge the conscience of every rightminded man and woman in this State, irrespective of his race or creed. No state or country can long endure which neglects to inculcate the principles of morality and religion in the minds and hearts of its young people.

“I agree with you that the vast majority of the 90% of all offenders who come before our criminal courts could have been saved if they had come under the influence of a religious education in their childhood.

“The Jewish Education Association, of which you are the president, is dealing with a most fundamental problem in the only way it can be solved, and that is, by religious education. I sincerely hope that my fellow citizens of the Jewish faith will respond as generously to this campaign to put ten thousand Jewish children into religious schools as they are accustomed to answer the call for help to the poor, the sick and the delinquent.”

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