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Jewish Inmates in Florida to Receive Kosher Food

Jewish Inmates in Florida to Receive Kosher Food

Gov. Rick Scott (center) after receiving a plaque for championing religious freedom in Florida from Rabbi Shalom Ber Lipskar (center), director of the Aleph Institute.
Gov. Rick Scott (center) after receiving a plaque for championing religious freedom in Florida from Rabbi Shalom Ber Lipskar (center), director of the Aleph Institute.

MIAMI, Fla.—The Florida Department of Corrections has agreed to serve kosher food to Jewish inmates, ending a five-year struggle that included a recent Justice Department lawsuit against the state.

The Chabad-Lubavitch Aleph Institute, which serves the interests of Jewish inmates and soldiers around the nation, praised Gov. Rick Scott’s strong advocacy on behalf of the inmates. “The Aleph Institute and the Jewish community would like to thank Governor Rick Scott profusely for arranging that kosher food will be available to Jewish inmates in Florida,” said Rabbi Menachem Katz of the Aleph Institute.

The issue first arose when the Florida Department of Corrections eliminated its kosher food program in August 2007. At the time, an average 250 prisoners across the Florida were enrolled in the state’s kosher meal program.

A Justice Department complaint filed last year asserted that Florida’s policy since 2007 was illegally depriving Jewish prisoners of kosher meals, and violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. The act protects prisoners’ freedom of worship, which the government claims Florida ignored through a meal policy that was “not necessary to achieve any compelling state interest.” The government filed its suit against the Florida Department of Corrections for declaratory and injunctive relief in the Southern District of Florida.

On Friday, the Aleph Institute gave special thanks to Gov. Scott, who was participating in the organization's Jewish military chaplain training program, by presenting him with a plaque for championing religious freedom in Florida.

“This is a major milestone,” said Katz. “Our great country was founded on the principle of freedom to worship, and we thank the governor for his appreciation of this fundamental ideal. For the Jewish people, eating kosher is not a perk but a G‑dly commandment, and observing one’s faith goes a long way in rehabilitating inmates and integrating them back into society as law-abiding citizens.”

By Staff
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sylvia BERMAN Palo Alto, CA via February 1, 2013

ALEPH INSTITUTE,RABI SHALOM LIPSKAR May the strength of the Institute continue with the blessings of Hashem. Reply

sue Kanta January 17, 2013

Special thanks to Governor Scott Such an admirable person, and a well- minded democrat, Gov. Scott must be. There is certainly no need to mortify the flesh the way that it was once believed would chasten a criminal.
I write in the hope that the kosher foods will be available to any or all inmates. Good and clean food can go a long way to nourish wellness, where punishments and confinement fall down. Reply

Anonymous January 16, 2013

Baruch Hashem for Aleph! A loved one of mine benefitted from the wonderful people of Aleph...your assistance with him being able to receive Kosher meals and speaking for him, were the blessings that enabled him to sustain his time "away" and to come home and remain a human being. Unfortunately, he recently passed, but he was so very grateful (as am I!) for the blessing of Aleph in his life! Baruch Hashem! Reply

Gavriel Eliezer ben Ze'ev Gershon Largo, FL January 15, 2013

Baruch HaShem, finally something good and mentchadik for the people of the State of Florida from this man. Praise to where (and when) it is due. Reply

Eleazar Shlomo ben Yakov Goldman GUANAJUATO, MEXICO January 15, 2013

KOSHER food while in prison in the USA? I too, thank FLORIDA GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT for his advocacy and support of KOSHER food for Jewish inmates of the correctional system in FLORIDA. It's critical to a Jew, after committing acts that require him or her to be incarcerated, to have access to all the aspects of Judaism that can help rectify that persons' neshamah, and give him or her support religiously. I hope all states in the USA will follow Governor Scott in his support for the Jewish people.

And great thanks to the ALEPH institute for all their kindness and help in this matter. Reply

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