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February 08, 1985 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1985-02-08

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


Friday, February 8, 1985 27


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Opposition to prayer in schools
has long, colorful history

New York (JTA) — The current
controversy over prayers in public
schools takes Seymour Graubard
back some 20 years when more
than 100 resolutions to amend the
Constitution to permit school
prayer were introduced in the
House of Representatives. Hear-
ings were scheduled by the House
Judiciary Committee on April,
May, and June, 1964, and
Graubard, as chairman of an
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai
B'rith (ADL) committee on
church-state relations, was asked
to testify.
In the course of the questions
and answers in the discussion,
Congressman William McCulloch
of Ohio, the Republican minority
leader of the Judiciary Commit-
tee, turned to his assistant and
said, "Let me have the book." He
then opened a large Bible to a
marked page and began to read.
After a few paragraphs he said,
"Now, Mr. Graubard, do you have
any objection to what I have just

pose and language that exists in
all history. If the peoples of the
world would follow its message,
we would not have the wars and
evils that plague us all. However,
are you not reading from the King
James version of the Bible?"
McCulloch: "There is only one
Bible and I am reading from it."
Graubard: "But the Catholics
use the Douay version of the Bi-
ble, and I belive that they would
have objections to having any
Bible reading for their children
other than from the Bible that
they recognize."
McCulloch: "I don't believe it. I
am reading from the Bible."
Then, from the other end of the
dais, came the voice of Rep. Ro-
land V. Libonati of Illinois.
Libonati, slamming his hand on
the dais, said: "I have heard

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enough of this. We Catholics have
suffered religious discrimination
ever since our country was
founded. I want this Committee to
know about the persecution of
Catholic schoolchildren who re-
fused to join in Protestant prayers
over the years in many, many
He went on to recite specific
cases going back to the early 19th
Century. He ended with "And
that is the reason we will never
have such a constitutional
When the transcript of the
hearing was printed, it had been
"cleaned up" by deleting the emo-
tional exchange recited above.
However, enough was left in the
transcript to make the issue clear.

This article is reprinted from the "ADL



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Graubard responded, "the Ser-
mon on the Mount is one of the
most beautiful statements in pur-

Women Take Up
Rabbinical Reins

New York (JTA) — "I am con-
vinced the mainstream of leader-
ship of the Conservative move-
ment believes there is no further
impediment of women acting as
religious leaders in the Jewish
community," Amy Eilberg, who
will this year be the first woman
ordained by the Jewish Theologi-
cal Seminary of America, said last

"We can now move forward to
incorporate woman leaders into
every facet of religious life in our
movement, including officiating
at weddings," Eilberg said. "In the
Conservative movement there is
relatively little opposition to the
notion of a woman officiating at a
Eilberg pointed out that there
are still a number of questions re-
garding women's participation in
Jewish rituals which some mem-
bers of the Conservative move-
ment feel are unsatisfactorily re-
solved. These questions include
officiating at weddings. But most
problematic is the acceptance of
the signature of a woman as wit-
ness on a Jewish legal document,
she said.
"We live in a Jewish world
which is pluralistic, and I believe
that this pluralism is a strength.
We will learn to move forward
with this issue as well," she
Dr. Neil Gillman, associate
provost of the Seminary, said that
the large majority of the Rabbini-
cal Assembly, the organization of
Conservative rabbis, supports full
participation by women. He
cautioned, however, that Eilberg
and the first generation of woman
rabbis will have a difficult time.

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