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Calendar Reform Proposal Dropped by U. N. Body; Was Opposed by Jews

April 23, 1956
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A proposal for reforming the civil calendar to make every day of every month fall on the same day of the week every year was dropped by the United Nations Economic and Social Council this week-end. The decision to postpone debate on the proposal was adopted by a vote of 15 to 0 after the representative of the Netherlands said that the time was not ripe for taking up the idea because of religious and other objections to it.

Jewish organizations have been objecting to the calendar reform proposal because it would affect the Jewish holidays. Urging rejection of the proposal, Dr. Isaac Lewin, representative of the Agudas Israel World Organization, told the UNESCO session this week-end that the proposed calendar reform would make it impossible for Jews, Christians and Moslems to observe their traditional days of rest, since the universal day of rest, to be called “Worldsday” would be likely to fall any day of the week instead of on the traditional Sabbath.

Dr. Lewin told the Council he was speaking not only on behalf of Agudah but also for other Jewish opponents of the measure, including the American Jewish Committee, Anglo-Jewish Association, Alliance Israelite Universelle, Board of Deputies of British Jews, B’nai B’rith and the South African Jewish Board of Deputies. The rejected plan would add an extra day at the end of every year. The day would not be counted as a part of any, week. A similar extra day would be inserted in midyear of every leap year.

The idea of United Nations backing for world calendar reform has been on the Council agenda since it was introduced here by India in October, 1953. The United Nations circulated a questionnaire on the subjects among all countries. To date, 31 replies, have com in. Of the total, 24 governments, including those of the United States and Israel opposed the proposal; seven countries declared they would withhold approval unless religious authorities agreed; and only one sovereignty, the Principality of Monaco, has come out in favor. Jewish, Christian and Moslem religious leaders are unanimously opposed.

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