NATIONAL COUNCIL OF JEWISH WOMEN
Greater Detroit Section
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CONGREGATION B'NAI DAVID
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cordially invites you to attend our
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1994
T HE D ETRO I T J E WIS H N E WS
JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER/MAPLE-DRAKE/SHIFFMAN HALL
• Cantor Usher Adler will chant the liturgy
• All the favorite melodies and familiar davening
• Traditional services in the Sefard Nusach. Services every Shabbat
• Kiddush will be served following services
• The community is invited - children are most welcome
School Prayer Rejected,
Groups Declare Victory
Washington (JTA) — Jewish or- dude school prayer language that
ganizations declared a major many view as unnecessary, it is
victory after Congress over- nonetheless "very reasonable,"
whelmingly defeated a last-ditch Mr. Pelavin said.
Under the bill, in order for the
effort to link federal education
funding to prayer in public Education Department to cut off
funds to a school, a federal court
Both the House and Senate would have to rule that the school
staved off proponents of school "willfully violated" a court order
prayer by passing the Elemen- to allow "constitutionally pro-
tary and Secondary Education tected" prayer — a term not yet
Act without reopening the debate defined.
Activists on both side of the de-
on school prayer in the final days
bate agree this scenario could al-
of this session.
The $12 billion education bill most never happen.
Although this year has marked
is the federal government's pri-
in activity by school
mary vehicle for dispensing aid
prayer advocates, AJCongress
to public schools.
Jewish groups across the spec- Executive Director Phil Baum
trum opposed an initiative by said last week's votes should
Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., who "sound the death knell" of Mr.
sought to cut off federal funds to Helms' proposal.
Jewish groups also succeeded
states and school districts that
prevent participation in what he in blocking another Helms
considered to be "constitutional- amendment that would have pre-
ly protected" prayer in public vented schools from spending any
What, if any, school prayer is
Many found the
protected by the constitution is a
matter of spirited debate that has
not yet been resolved.
Jewish groups opposed Mr.
Helms' proposal, fearing that it
threatened the separation of
church and state, as well as local
money on counseling or educa-
control of education.
"This marks the death of ef- tion programs, for example, if
forts to get such coercive school those programs did not paint ho-
prayer language passed by Con- mosexuality in a negative light.
Many found the language es-
gress," said Mark Pelavin, Wash-
ington representative of the pecially troubling in light of the
fact that suicide is the leading
American Jewish Congress.
Michael Lieberman, associate cause of death among high-
director and counsel of the Anti- school-age homosexuals, and the
Defamation League's Washing- bill would have tied counselors'
ton office, painted a less hands at the risk of losing fed-
optimistic picture. He called this eral funds.
In its place, Congress adopted
year's battle a "harbinger of what
language that prevents schools
we can expect in the future.
"This shadows the kind of from promoting homosexuality.
struggle that a Congress with a The cutoff of funds also posed cen-
different dynamic could mean," sorship problems for a wide range
he added, referring to predictions of education advocates who
that the next Congress may be feared Congress would try to link
other funds to such restrictive
much more conservative.
AJCongress, the ADL, the In- proposals.
Not all of the Jewish commu-
stitute for Public Affairs of the
Union of Orthodox Jewish Con- nity's attention was focused on
gregations of America and the negative aspects of the education
Religious Action Center of Re- bill.
Measures to combat hate
form Judaism and other groups
launched the largest grass-roots crimes through grant and edu-
effort on a domestic issue to date cational programs drew wide-
to defeat Helms and his sup- spread support both inside the
porters, according to many ac- Jewish community and in Con-
The bill aims to prevent crimes
In February, the House adopt-
ed restrictive school prayer lan- by encouraging the teaching of
guage. Jewish groups then tolerance. It includes model pro-
mobilized in Washington and grams for schools to follow.
Mr. Lieberman of the ADL
across the country in an effort to
have the amendment removed praised the initiative for "insti-
from the final education bill.
Although what the Senate and tion as a means for crime-
House passed last week does in- prevention.
Call (810) 557-8210 for further information.
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