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August 12, 1966 - Image 6

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1966-08-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Syna gogue Council , NCRA_C United



in Stand A gamst Dirksen, Amendment

WASHINGTON (JTA)—In a dra- "it is not and should not be the
matic display of unity on a sensi- business of government to aid
tive issue, major American Jewish religion and, if it does assume
religious and community relations that role, then in the very pro-
cess and precedent it estab-
organizations joined in a single
representation opposing the pray- lishes, it does religion a harm
er amendment introduced by Sen. and a disservice that will far
Everett Dirksen to permit prayer outweigh the intended benevol-
ence. For it will have compro-
in public schools.
Testifying before the Senate sub- mised that free and unfettered
exercise of religious liberty
committee holding hearings on the
without which religious faith
measure, spokesmen presented a
statement of the consitutent or- cannot long retain its integrity."
Four spokesmen appeared as a
ganizations of the Synagogue Coun-
cil of America and the National delegation representing the Jewish
Community Relations Advisory organizations. They were Rabbi
Seymour J. Cohen, of Chicago,
Council.
The statement denounced the president of the Synagogue Council
of America; Milton Goldstein, of
Dirksen amendment as "unde-
St. Louis, vice-chairman of the
sirable constitutionally, a n d
fundamentally inimical to reli- Commission on Church-State and
Interreligious Relationships of the
gious interests."
It termed the neutrality of gov- National Community Relations Ad-
ernment in matters of religion es- visory Council; Rabbi Richard G.
sential to religious freedom. By Hirsch, of Washington, director of
putting the force of government the Religious Action Center of the
behind prayer, it asserted. the Union of American Hebrew Con-
Dirksen amendment would impair gregations; and Rabbi Henry
that neutrality and thus change Siegman, of New York, executive
the "climate" assured by the First vice-president of the Synagogue
Amendment to the Constitution, Council of America.
Speaking for the delegation,
"which has made for the unparal-
leled growth of religious activity Rabbi Cohen stressed their com-
mitment to a society guided by
and affiliation in this country."
The National Community Re- religious values." We are thus
lations Advisory Council is com- spiritually attuned and practically
posed of the Union of American oriented to the antithesis of secu-
Hebrew Congregations, Union of larism and the secular society,"
Orthodox Jewish Congregations of he said.
In opposing prayers in public
America, United Synagogue of
America, American Jewish Com- schools, he emphasized, the Jewish
mittee, American Jewish Con- organizations were seeking to
gress, Bnai Brith Anti-Defamation avert the "trivialization and de-
League, Jewish Labor Committee, secration of genuine worship" to
Jewish War Veterans, National which it would inevitably lead.
"Prayer is the singular ex-
Council of Jewish Women, and
79 Jewish community relations pression of a particular faith,"
councils in local communities he asserted. "It is an act of gross
insensitivity to involve in such
across the United States.

In a pluralistic society such as
the United States, the joint testi-
mony of the Jewish groups said,

The government's new econ-
omic program, the convention
voted, deserves support as "a
bold decision" needed to raise
the country's creative productiv-
ity and, thus, prevent unemploy-
ment. The organization sup-
ported the government's call for
aiding the competitive nature of
Israeli products by increasing
productivity.

Addressing the convention at an
earlier session, Finance Minister
Pinhas Sapir warned that the high
cost of labor was strangling Is-
rael's export drive and indirectly
leading to unemployment.
Sapir said that direct and in-
direct labor costs accounted for 80
percent of the costs of production.
Production costs, he noted, were
higher in Israel than in Europe
where output per man is 25 per-
cent greater.
Sapir scored outdated norms as
the basis of pay rates - in Israel,
which, he said, had to be adjusted
to modern technology.

He castigated the low profit-
ability of enterprises operated
by the government and the
Histadrut, Israel's labor federa-
tion, asserting that "it is easier
for such enterprises to run up
deficits because they can be
covered out of public funds.
Public enterprises just go bank-
rupt and are turned over to of-
ficial receivers."

In another resolution, the con-
vention welcomed the establish-
ment of the alignment between
Achdut Avodah and Mapai, but
declared that the political im-
provement is incomplete as long
as Mapam fails to join and, thus,
"complete labor unity." The con-
vention warned Israel on the prob-
lem of emigration from this coun-
try, decrying especially t h e
emigration of Israelis with aca-
demic degrees.

Secretary Rusk Hears Report on Soviet Jews

WASHINGTON (JTA)—Secretary
of State Dean Rusk held an ex-
tended discussion here on the spec-
ial problem of Soviet Jewry with
Rabbi Israel Miller, chairman of
the American Jewish Conference
on Soviet Jewry.
Joining Secretary Rusk in the
discussion were Douglas MacAr-
thur II, Assistant Secretary of
State for Congressional Relations;
and Walter J. Stoessel, Jr., Deputy
Assistant Secretary for East Euro-
pean Affairs.
Sens. Abraham Ribicoff and
Jacob Javits, who were unable to
attend the discussion because of a
vote in the Senate concerning the
airline strike, sent representatives
in their stead. Rabbi Miller said
that he was "most encouraged by
the depth of concern and aware-
ness expressed by S e c r et a r y
Rusk." He described the meeting
as a detailed examination of the
problem.

Rabbi Miller presented an assess-
ment of the current status of So-
viet Jewry to the Secretary of
State. He reported that there has
been no basic change in the situa-
tion during the past year except
for token concessions. He outlined
a detailed program that the Con-
ference planned to undertake on
behalf of Soviet Jewry during the
coming year.

Truth is heavy; therefore few
wear it. — Midrash Samuel on
Abot, 4.

•1=1M1•11•MOr

1

The framers of the Bill of
Rights, he said, deliberately re-
moved from the government
"any competence in the area of
religion, because they wisely
understood that religious neu-
trality of the state is the essen-
tial condition of religious free-
dom in a pluralistic society."

The language of the Dirksen
amendment, which would permit
"voluntary participation" in prayer
in public schools, is ambiguous
and misleading, the testimony of
the Jewish groups warned.
Senator Dirksen's own statement
accompanying introduction of the
proposal shows clearly,they assert-
ed, that "he intends it to permit
joint recitation of prayers by chil-
dren in the classroom and the
presentation of plainly sectarian
celebrations of Christmas and
other religious holidays."
The Rev. C. Stanley Lowell,
a deeply sectarian experience associate director of "Protestants
children of differing faiths."
and Other Americans United," a
Yet, the statement of the Jewish group defending separation of
church from state, said the pro-
posed amendment "deeply injects
the government into the business
of religion."

Kibbutzim Back Government
Plan to Raise Productivity

TEL AVIV (JTA) — A resolu-
tion strongly endorsing the govern-
ment's proposed economic policy
plans was adopted here by the
national - convention of Kibbutz
Hameuhad, the organization of kib-
butzim affiliated with Achdut
Avodah, one of the partners in
the coalition government.
The convention, held at Kibbutz
Yagur, near Haifa, was attended
by 400 delegates representing 57
kibbutzim with a total of 24,000
members throughout Israel.

organizations declared, this would
be the inescapable effect of the
introduction of prayers into the
public schools, since for children
to pray in unison, some particular
prayer would have to be chosen.
So-called non-sectarian prayers
would be no less objectionable,
the Jewish groups said. "Prayer
that is not rooted in specific faith
and in distinctive religious com-
mitment is a meaningless, empty
exercise. There is no greater
enemy of religion than a state
that promotes non-sectarian re-
ligion."
This does not mean the banish-
ment of God and religion from
national life or any challenge to its
religious foundations, but on the
contrary, gives full encouragement
to the broadening and deepening
of genuine religious commitment,
Rabbi Cohen emphasized.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

6—Friday, August 12, 1966

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