Rabbis Oppose “release Time” Religious Education Plan; Urge “dismissal” Plan
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Rabbis Oppose “release Time” Religious Education Plan; Urge “dismissal” Plan

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The Central Conference of American Rabbis today adopted a resolution affirming adherence to the traditional principle of separation of Church and State, particularly as this principle has been incorporated in the public schools, and recommended the “dismissal” plan of religious education as oppose to the “release time” plan. The dismissal plan means that the school day would be shortened to allow time for parents to provide religious instruction they deem essential, independent of the public schools.

The resolution represented a compromise modification of the originally-proposed straight-out condemnation of the release plan. Many rabbis felt that the trend towards the release plan was now so strong that no obstruction was possible.

Dr. Emanuel Gamoran of Hebrew Union College expressed apprehension that the release plan was the entering wedge for further connection between Church and Stats. Rabbi Lawrence Schwartz, on the other hand, said the plan had been in effect for 15 years in White Plains, N.Y., without injurious effect.

Rabbi Albert G. Minda, Minneapolis, chairman of the Committee on Church and State which presented the resolution, said ten states now have the release plan. He said in some parts of the country the experiment has been a failure, with few Christian children availing themselves of the privilege. He cited evidence of antipathy to Jews developing in some school circles following adoption of the plan.


The conference this morning adopted a resolution providing for a special committee on conscientious objectors, to cooperate with similar groups of other faiths in the National Service Board of Religious Objectors. Rabbi Edward L. Israel explained that the Synagogue Council of America had proposed to act on the matter, but the Orthodox group would not agree to do so. Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld said individual rabbis were in touch with 50 Jewish religious objectors.

A representative of the Hoover commission, which sought support of the C.C.A.R. for sending food to Europe, was heard and his plea referred to rabbis as individuals.

The Committee on Marriage, the Family and the Home, headed by Dr. Stanley R. Brav, of Vicksburg, Miss., recommended “vastly increased labors” to achieve the aim of “sound, spiritually-integrated, democratic family living in our communities.”

The report declared that “with the tearing from their homes of millions of our most physically fit young men for military training, the toll that has been taken from family strength may readily be imagined, as may be the concomitant disintegrating influences on the human beings who are involved.”

Yesterday, the conference approved recommendations of Rabbi Solomon B. Freeh of Pittsburgh for establishment of a general code of practice of Reform Judaism in marriage and divorce and directed a committee to act accordingly.

The Committee on Ceremonies reported a fruitful year in revival of Jewish ceremonies in Liberal congregations. Special Purim and Chanukah ceremonials have been prepared to revive celebration of these holidays in temples and an abridged Megillah in English has been prepared. Shofar-blowing has also been revived. The practice of wearing rabbinical robes is spreading and 83 rabbis now wear such robes.

Adolph Rosenberg, chairman of the administrative committee of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, appealed for support of the expanded Union program, calling for a budgetary increase from $300,000 to $500,000. He proposed issuance of a Reform magazine and also more youth and radio work. Rabbi Samuel M. Gup, Columbus, O., appealed for positive action for pensions for aged rabbis, and Rosenberg replied that the Union was taking action on this question.

A session last night considered unemployment among Rabbis. Rabbi Wendell Phillips said Hebrew Union College and the Jewish Institute of Religion had thrown 23 more graduates this year on a satiated field. A plan is being considered for a rabbinical placement commission.

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