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Religious Bodies to Be Heard on Proposed Reform of Calendar

December 24, 1928
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“Migratory” Sabbath Is Objection of Jewish Spokesmen (Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The House Foreign Affairs Committee at its second hearing yesterday regarding the proposed conference for revision of the civil calendar heard Dr. C. F. Marvin, chief of the United States Weather Bureau, who testified at length concerning the historical background of the present calendar. Congressman Sol Bloom, a member of the Committee, cross-examined Dr. Marvin regarding the effect of the proposed change in calendar on the Jewish Sabbath and other religious holidays.

Dr. Marvin admitted that the proposed 13 months calendar would result in at least one “floating” Jewish Sabbath during the year, that is to say, the Jewish Sabbath which would fall on a day other than the present civil Saturday.

A subcommittee was named to arrange for testimony by various religious bodies, including the Jewish, in opposition to the proposed plans for calendar revision.

Dr. Abram Simon of Washington, indicated the “whole-hearted approval” of the Synagogue Council of America for participation in an international congress for calendar revision and said:

“The Jewish people are not opposed to the general problem of calendar reform. They are most urgent, however, in having a provision for a fixed periodicity of the seventh day Sabbath so that the regular sequence of the seven-day week shall in no wise be interrupted by the migratory or so-called 365th day of the year.”

Dr. Simon expressed hope that if the resolution introduced by Representative Porter requesting the President to call an international conference for revision of the calendar was passed and approved, the dominant religious bodies in this country should have representation in the American group sent to the conference.

It was emphasized that if either of the two plans for calendar reform now under discussion was adopted, the effect would be to create a “wandering” or “migratory” Sabbath.

Mr. Bloom contended that if the blank day at the end of the year should fall on what is now Saturday, the next day, which is now Sunday, would under the proposed revision be Monday. In other words, both plans project the Sabbath and make its recurrence vary instead of fixed as at present.

“What is the objection to the change?” Representative Cole of Jowa asked.

“In all the changes that have been made in the calendar in the past, have the week days or the Lord’s Day ever been changed?” Mr. Bloom rejoined.

“Do you think our Sabbath or Sunday is still identical with creation?” Mr. Cole continued.

“No one has ever challenged it–absolutely,” replied Mr. Bloom.

Dr. Marvin was asked by Representative Cooper of Wisconsin if he considered that Sunday was set aside through a literal interpretation of Genesis. Dr. Marvin said he understood it was the result of the Fourth Commandment of Moses.

Mr. Bloom then suggested that the “wandering” Sundays might be cared for by saving up the blank days and adding another week every six years or another month every twenty-three years.

Dr. Marvin replied that this would make the comparison of that year with other years impossible for scientific and business purposes.

Congressman Bloom announced following the hearing that he is preparing a detailed statement concerning the proposed reform in the calendar which he will issue in the near future. Further hearings of the Foreign Affairs Committee were adjourned until January 7, when another hearing will be held. Congressman Bloom also announced that while he has not arranged for any witnesses to appear before the committee he would be glad to receive applications of persons desiring to appear before the committee and if such applications are meritorious, he will arrange that proper applicants be heard.

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