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November 25, 1983 - Image 20

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-11-25

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

20 Friday, November 25, 1983









2 for $35 00



1 1 1,11116 16 1 1 1 1 1


Men's Furnishings and Accessories

offer expires 12/3/83

sorry, one coupon per customer

sorry, one coupon per customer

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Thum. till 8
Sunday 12-5


Crew or V-Neck solid sweaters
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offer expires 12/3/83

Parking & Entrance in Rear

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3•X _

Holiday Hours:
on.-Sat. 9:30-6
Thurs. till 8
Sunday 12-5

FREE MONOGRAM Sunday, November 27, 1983


NEW YORK — The Na-
tional Foundation for
Jewish Culture announces
the Berman Playwriting
Award Competition for the
best new play which sig-
nificantly illuminates an
aspect of Jewish life or ex-
The award includes a
$500 prize plus a staged
reading at a New York the-
All entries must be sub-
mitted prior to Feb. 28 and
should be sent to Berman
Playwriting Award, Na-
tional Foundation for
Jewish Culture, 122 E. 42nd
St., No. 1512, New York,
N.Y. 10168.

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All sales can be exchanged or refunded

Boris Smolar's

`Between You
. . . and Me'

Emeritus, JTA

(Copyright 1983, JTA, Inc.)

Hanuka-Christmas season is usually marred by irritation
in some communities over Christological programs in pub-
lic schools and especially over nativity pageants. All major
Jewish organizations are opposed to the observance of re-
ligious holidays in public schools. They view such obser-
vances as a violation of the traditional American principle
of the separation of church and state. They are also against
joint religious observances such as Christmas-Hanuka and
Easter-Passover which they consider no less of a breach of
the separation principle.
The Supreme Court has agreed this year — for the first
time — to review whether the Constitution permits funds
obtained from taxes to be used to set up nativity displays as
part of a religious holiday celebration; and, also, to tackle
the question of whether government involvement in spon-
sorship of such practices violates the First Amendment of
separation of the church and state. Its ruling will have
important implications.
Involved in the case is the municipality of Pawtucket,
R.I. For years it has included a creche as part of its Christ-
mas public display. City funds are used by the muncipality
to purchase and maintain the creche. The city argues that
the First Amendment should not prevent the government
from acknowledging that the birth of the founder of Christ-
ianity is part of the historic evolution of Christmas.
The National Jewish Community Relations Advisory
Council — the coordinating body of 11 major national
Jewish organizations and 111 local Jewish community
councils evaluating developments of concern to the Jewish
community in the field of community relations — has long
held that government involvement in the erection and
placement of religious symbols constitutes, in effect, gov-
ernmental support of religion in general, and even specific
support of one sect or creed to the exclusion of others. Such
support is considered by the NJCRAC a serious impair-
ment of the church-state separation principle.
REAGAN'S STAND OPPOSED: Jewish organiza-
tions expect that attempts to introduce prayer and religious
practices into the public schools will continue to be made
during the coming year through a constitutional amend-
ment that would sanction public school prayer, particularly
since this has the active backing of President Reagan. Con-
tinuing attempts, at the local and state level, to bring
prayer and other religious practices into the schools also
are expected.
A call by President Reagan for passage by Congress of
a constitutional amendment to permit "voluntary prayers"
in public schools was strongly criticized in a joint statement
by major national Jewish religious and lay organizations,
by the National Council of Churches, and by leaders of the
Baptist Church. In seeking to justify this move, Reagan
declared that "no one must ever be forced or coerced or
pressured to take part in any religious exercise but neither
should the government forbid religious practice."
The joint statement stressed that efforts to introduce
religious practices in public schools generate the very
inter-religious conflict that the First Amendment was de-
signed to prevent. The statement also insisted that religi-
ous practice should never be made a matter of majority
In guidance to its 122 constituent national and local
groups for their activities in 1984, the NJCRAC urges them
to continue to oppose government involvement in the erec-
tion or placement of religious symbols.
THE JEWISH ATTITUDE: AI present there are two
proposed amendments in the Senate concerning school
prayers. One — favored by the Administration — would
permit "individual or group prayer in public schools or
other public institutions." The other would permit "indi-
vidual or group silent prayer or meditation in public
schools" and "equal access to the use of public school
facilities by all voluntary student groups." Both have re-
ported out of the Judiciary Committee and will come to the
Senate floor after the Senators return from Christmas vac-
The majority of Jewish groups, both rabbinical and lay,
believe that any form of religious holiday observance in the
public school necessarily marks a sectarian event and
therefore violates the principle of church-state separatism.
At the same time most Jewish groups recognize that school
Christmas celebrations are traditional, and, despite their
disapproval in principle, the Jewish groups have tended to
accept programs that avoid doctrinal themes or emphases.
Consistent with their basic position, most of the Jewish
groups also oppose the introduction of Hanuka programs in
the public school, maintaining that the celebration of a
Jewish religious holiday has no place in a public-school
setting. They insist that the place to celebrate Hanuka is
the home, the synagogue and the iewish school.
, .

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