Less than 1.5% of the 1.9 million men and women in prison in the United States are Jewish. Despite the Free Exercise of Religion clause in the First Amendment of the Unites States Constitution, many prison facilities still operate out of ignorance and incidents of religious abuse and anti-Semitism are commonly reported, while often times incidents go unreported for fear of retaliation.
Spark of Light religious freedom advocacy programs ensure that inmates do not leave their First Amendment religious rights at the jailhouse door. When an inmate reports incidents of abuse or discloses large policy problems, Aleph responds with extensive surveillance of prison practices and addresses these matters with prison and government officials to ensure state and federal prison compliance with the constitution and new federal laws that protect the religious and humanitarian rights of persons in institutional environments.
The Aleph Institute addresses the constitutional rights of Jews to obtain kosher food, and coordinate work schedules that respect the Sabbath and religious holidays as follows:
Kosher Diet • Guidance in the implementation of kosher cafeteria menus and support for inmates’ requests to receive kosher meals in order to keep the laws of kosher • Shelf-stable kosher meals and snacks for resale through the institution’s canteen
Sabbath/Holiday Work Scheduling Supplication for work proscriptions so inmates can observe holidays in accordance with Jewish law
Anti-Semitism Resolutions Support for prisoners nationwide with religious discrimination cases
Institutional Handbook of Jewish Practice and Procedure An invaluable reference book and guide published by The Aleph Institute for institution staff with information about religious practice and requirements of Jewish inmates throughout the year
Aleph Advisory for Institutions: A semi-monthly memo to institution staff detailing upcoming Jewish events and requirements including an order form for chaplains to purchase and/or apply for free Jewish religious items