Fred M. Webber Comments on Regents’ Prayer Decision: “Not a Great Tragedy”

BS Segregation Baltimore Miller Bros.jpg

Fred M. Webber 1962

It is surprising how frequently the news today echoes the news of the 1960s. As one example, courts in 2014 are hearing cases concerning prayer in public meetings and whether a Bible curriculum written by the conservative Christian and owner of Hobby Lobby can be taught in public schools. On June 25, 1962, the Supreme Court delivered a decision on Engel v Vitale, a case involving a state-written prayer for use in the public schools in New York.

Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.

“As supervisors of the state’s public education under New York law, the Board of Regents wrote this classroom prayer in 1951. Formal religion has no place in public schools, they said, but ‘teaching our children, as set forth in the Declaration of Independence, that Almighty God is their Creator’ would give the ‘best security’ in dangerous days. They recommended their prayer to local school boards; some accepted it, including the board in New Hyde Park, which voted in 1958 for the prayer to open each school day.” (1)

The parents of ten students in the Hyde Park school system objected and asked a New York court to stop the use of the prayer. The state court upheld the use of what became known as the Regents’ Prayer in the schools. In 1961, the Supreme Court accepted Engel v Vitale for review. And on June 25, 1962, the Supreme Court reversed the state court’s decision, saying that it violated the First Amendment’s ban against the establishment of religion. The court ruled that “any state-sponsored prayer, even if it is denominationally-neutral, represented an unconstitutional effort to promote religion and an infringement of the wall of separation that the Constitution set up between church and state.” (2)

As one can imagine, the decision sparked a great controversy, with a number of prominent church leaders and politicians speaking out against the decision.

President Kennedy was asked about the decision during a press conference on June 27, 1962:

And later that day, Fred M. Webber, General Presbyter of the Presbytery of Baltimore, spoke briefly at a celebration of the the 110th anniversary of the founding of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Baltimore. Fred M. Webber addressed some of his comments to the Supreme Court decision and recommended that people “read and heed” what President Kennedy had to say. He is quoted as saying:

“I find it a little difficult to think that the striking down of that prayer is a great tragedy.”(3)

1962.06.28.Newspaper Prayer Comments

1962.06.28.Newspaper Prayer Comments 2

I’m with you, Uncle Fred.

***
If you would like to read more about Fred M. Webber, click the Fred Myron Webber tag/link at the bottom of this post.

Sources:
1. “The Warren Court, 1953-1969.” The Supreme Court Historical Society. http://www.supremecourthistory.org/history-of-the-court/history-of-the-court-2/the-warren-court-1953-1969. (June 23, 2014).
2.  ”Religion in Public Schools: Engel v Vitale.” Digital History. http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/disp_textbook.cfm?smtID=3&psid=1197. (June 23, 2014).
3. “Cleric Says Court Ruling Is Not ‘A Great Tragedy’.”The Baltimore Sun.” JUne 28, 1962. Pg. 48.

Family Recipe Friday: Dad’s Chocolate Chip Cookies – Revised!

Well… what to do? I posted this yesterday, then posted to Facebook and tagged my sisters and asked if they had any stories about these cookies. The conversation that ensued leads me to make some revisions. So the new stuff is in blue.

Neiman Marcus cookie recipe

Cookie Recipe Revenge

First, my sister Karla said that she thought this was the “Neiman-Marcus” cookie recipe that was going around years ago. Sure enough, I googled it and it is almost the same as the recipe that goes with the urban legend. Then I looked back at the recipes I copied from Dad and found the original that he had printed from an email.

Then I found a compilation of recipes that Dad typed up with the same cookie recipe – but the brown sugar is missing.

Guess he made a mistake.

Now I understand why my cookies didn’t turn out quite as I remember his… He used the copy he typed to write out the recipe for me, so they are missing brown sugar. – He also cut the proportions in half so it would make a smaller batch. The cookies are good as I made them, so if you don’t like really sweet cookies, go ahead and leave out the brown sugar.

My sister Kim added a great story to go with the cookies, so I’ll share that too:  ”Dad does not really follow recipes. He makes lots of adjustments. The first time he made them he blended the oats and then measured them so he had way too many dry ingredients so the batter was too thick for the mixer. Rather than add water or milk, dad started melting sticks of butter and adding sweetened condensed milk. They were very good but I renamed them cookies of death!”

We all get a laugh at Dad’s expense on occasion because of his recipe revisions. Love you, Dad! 

What follows is my original post with the addition of brown sugar. Enjoy!

DSCN3365My husband has been really sick this week so the shoe has been on the other foot – with me taking care of him for a change. Hubby wanted a cookie yesterday and asked our daughter to get him one at the store, but she came home without cookies!

What could I do? I had to bake cookies. They were required for his well-being after all.

Dad's Chocolate Chip Cookie RecipeAfter looking through my cookie recipes, I decided to bake some that my Dad(Jim) often makes. I don’t know why, but I hadn’t made them before. Guess I always made Mom’s recipe.

After consuming waaayyy too many of these one weekend, I asked Dad for his recipe and he wrote it out for me, as you can see here. When I was making them yesterday I discovered that he left off the oven temperature and my baking time differed, so I’ll type his directions and add my edits.

I need to do more of Dad’s recipes. He started cooking beyond the grill later in life – and he especially enjoys baking. A visit to their house means desserts are plentiful – and usually includes cookies, cake, and a couple of pies. And maybe some brownies for good measure.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oats – measure and then blend to fine powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
12 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 8-ounce Hershey bar (grated)
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts (usually pecans)

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, baking soda – add chips, candy and nuts.

Roll into balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 6 minutes. Should make approximately 66 cookies. Original recipe says to bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. 

My changes: I mixed the dry ingredients together and added them to the creamed sugar/butter/egg mixture. I baked at 350 degrees for about 10 or 11 minutes. Maybe if you bake at 375, the cook time will be shorter. I didn’t have a Hershey bar around, so missed that extra bit of chocolate. :( Also, my chocolate chips were the oversized kind, which makes the cookies look smaller in the picture, I think. There was just enough dough to hold the chips together!

DSCN3367I decided that since we have a real problem with limiting our cookie intake around here, I wouldn’t bake all of the dough. I rolled it into balls on a cookie sheet and stuck it in the freezer. Once frozen, I put my cookie dough balls in freezer bags for future freshly baked cookies. I haven’t done this before, but it seems like a good idea.

 

 

3 Rabbis, a Priest, and a Presbyterian Minister …

walked into the Mandell and Ballow deli in Baltimore on February 7, 1962.

But they didn’t walk into Miller Bros. restaurant that day.

The group also included Dr. Furman Templeton, director of the Urban League in Baltimore – an African-American. They were refused entrance to the segregated restaurant.

After learning that my great uncle Fred M. Webber had participated in the 1963 March on Washington, I immediately started searching the internet to see what else I could find. I was excited by a link to Google Books.

The link took me to page 56 of Glimpses of Jewish Baltimore by Gilbert Sandler. Curious, I thought, since Fred wasn’t Jewish, but there was Fred M. Webber’s name on the first page of the chapter titled “Demonstrators: Baltimore Rabbis Confront Segregation.” And scrolling down to page 57 was a picture of Fred M. Webber! (The picture immediately below is the one referenced in the book, but does not appear in the book.)

BS Segregation Baltimore Miller Bros.jpg

Clergy standing outside Miller Brothers Restaurant after being refused entrance

The chapter begins:  ”Awakening on the morning of February 8, 1962, the Jews of Baltimore were stunned to see in their morning newspaper, a two-column picture that, for the Baltimore Jewish community, would close one era and open another. The picture would please some, disturb others and become the talk of the synagogue circuit.

The caption beneath the picture described the event depicted: Demonstrators: Five clergy and the Urban League director stand outside segregated restaurant that refused to serve them. They are from left: Rabbi Abraham Shaw, Rev. Fred M. Webber, Rev. Joseph Connelly, Rabbi Morris Lieberman, Rabbi Abraham Shusterman, and Dr. Furman Templeton.” (1)

In the weeks preceding the clergy protest, several restaurants in Baltimore had been picketed by biracial groups of college students who had previously been refused service. As reported in the Baltimore Sun newspaper, the clergy randomly selected two restaurants known to be segregated and called to inform them that they were coming – to give the restaurants “every advantage.” The clergy also notified the press. The protest was timed to coincide with the opening of the Maryland General Assembly, which was to consider public accommodations legislation that would desegregate all restaurants and hotels.

Although the group was seated at Mandell and Ballow and stayed for a half-hour lunch, the restaurant’s comptroller explained that the group was seated out of deference to the clergy and that the restaurant would remain segregated until passage of the public accommodations legislation. (2)

1962.02.08 Fred M. Webber newwspaper 1

1962.02.08 Fred M. Webber newspaper 2

I’m sure I read another source (but I can’t find it now!) that said that the clergy wanted to pay a visit to one Jewish restaurant as part of their protest. Mandell and Ballow fit the bill.

Shortly before the clergy protest in early February, Mandell and Ballow deli had experienced an embarrassing incident in which a “group of Israeli sailors, all originally of Yemenite extraction, had gone to the deli and been denied service because of their dark skin.” Once the manager learned the men were foreign Jews, they received apologies and were seated. (3)

Following the incident with the dark-skinned sailors, the deli was picketed by a youthful labor Zionist group and, the following week, the Baltimore Board of Rabbis urged Jews not to patronize restaurants that discriminated.

I’m guessing the deli management didn’t want any more bad publicity the day Fred Webber and his clergy colleagues showed up for lunch.

While researching this, I found a wonderful website with many personal stories told by civil rights activists in the south. Rosalyn Garfeld Lang picketed Mandell and Ballow and shared this and other stories. Check out http://crmvet.org/.

To view a photo of the clergy standing outside Mandell and Ballow deli that day, search for Glimpses of Jewish Baltimore and include Fred M. Webber in your search terms.

If you would like to read more about Fred M. Webber, click the Fred Myron Webber tag/link at the bottom of this post.

(1) Sandler, Gilbert. Glimpses of Jewish Baltimore. Charleston, SC: The History Press,
2012.
(2) Nordlinger, Stephen E. “Clergymen Demonstrate Against Bias.” The Sun. Feb. 8, 1962.
(3) Lang, Rosalyn Garfeld. “A Baltimore Girl Sits In.” http://crmvet.org/nars/balt61.htm
(June 15, 2014).