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Religious Instruction in Public Schools of Ontario Leads to Controversy

March 5, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

The movement to foster instruction in the Bible, including the New Testament, in the public schools of Ontario led to a sharp controversy between the school authorities and the Jewish community here.

Last week a Jewish boy was to prepare some passages from the New Testament as homework. The pupil is the son of a member of the Bond Street Synagogue, and Rabbi F. M. Isserman of the Synagogue complained to the Chief Inspector ### the Public Schools. R. H. Cowley.

John Waneless, a trustee on the School Board, answering Rabbi Isserman’s complaint issue a statement to the Press in which he declared:

“I have every respect for the Jews and I have had dealings with them and always got along well with them, but I must say that this is a Christian Country and I would not stand for any suggestion of throwing the Bible out of our Schools. The Jews are a comparatively small portion of our population and they must recognize that they cannot dominate our educational system. The British constitution is based on the Bible and I would not be disposed to abandon our British inheritance.

“I think the present provision for the excusing of objecting pupils is sufficient. There is another aspect of the matter, and that is that no child today is properly educated unless he knows something of the New Testament as well as the Old. Just as on the matter of evolution, no child is properly educated unless he knows the story of the creation as told in the Bible as well as the modern theory of evolution.”

Mr. Waneless then attacked the Jews. emphasizing their inability to be assimilated.

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