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Jewish Council Questions Ruling on Religious Songs in N.j. Schools

September 19, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Strong exception to a ruling last week by New Jersey Commissioner of Education Frederick M. Raubinger upholding the reciting of grace and the singing of Christmas carols and Chanukah songs in New Jersey’s public schools was expressed here today by Philip E. Hoffman, chairman of the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Community Council of Essex County.

While acknowledging Commissioner Raubinger’s “good faith in this situation,” Mr. Hoffman challenged the Commissioner’s right to interpret the intent of the legislative leaders who enacted the statute barring religious practice in the public schools. Such interpretation, Mr. Hoffman declared, “is one that would have to be made by the courts since intent is always a very debatable question.”

Referring to Commissioner Raubinger’s analogy of the situation to the teaching of the works of Wagner, Mendelssohn, Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, Mr. Hoffman asserted: “The singing of Christmas carols and Chanukah songs in celebration of sectarian holidays has no relevance to the teaching of music, literature or history.”

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