web analytics
July 2, 2015 / 15 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post


Women behind Bars Get Three Days of Jewish Studies

“Some of the women were doctors, and lawyers—educated women with tears running down their faces in gratitude..."
Coleman Federal Prison Camp, Orlando, Florida (illustrative only)

Coleman Federal Prison Camp, Orlando, Florida (illustrative only)
Photo Credit: Tom Benitez / Orlando Sentinel ORG XMIT: DIGITAL

For Jews in prison, incarceration can keep them isolated from their family and their faith. But thanks to the Aleph Institute, a Florida-based nonprofit, they and their loved ones receive some much-needed help from an organization that has been providing assistance for more than three decades.

In fact, the institute’s Yeshiva in Prison program recently expanded to include a visit for the first time to female prisoners, said Rabbi Aaron Lipskar, executive director of the institute.

The program spans three days of interactive classroom-style work. Yeshiva volunteers work with inmates in small groups or on a one-on-one basis to provide introspection using the Torah. Inmates learn how to live as a Jew despite their surroundings.

The program covers many topics, including Jewish law, ethics, explanatory prayer services, kosher dietary laws, faith and reason, and Kabbalah. Daily afternoon lectures focus on the idea of personal responsibility, self-control and the skills for accepting authority.

The idea is to help channel the inmate’s energies in a positive manner, which could improve a sense of personal responsibility, explained the rabbi.

THREE-DAY PROGRAM FOR WOMEN

Earlier this month, program volunteers Rebbetzin Chanie Lipskar, Judy Adouth, Leah Lipskar and Rochel Katz went to Coleman Federal Prison Camp near Orlando, Fla., for their first time teaching female inmates.

The three-day sessions included a full-day program—8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.—of interactive classroom-style learning. The volunteers also divided the women into smaller focus groups, each concentrating on a prepared course subject by the teacher.

Katz said of the experience: “I’ve gained as much as the inmates have, if not more.”

She alluded to preconceptions regarding inmates and prison culture in general, and noted that they can often be misguided. “Some of the women were doctors, and lawyers—educated women with tears running down their faces in gratitude for myself and my colleagues taking the time to spend the day with them,” she said.

Chaplain Yolanda Garcia works there, and called the Yeshiva program “awesome.”

“I think the women felt a sense of womanhood being around Jewish female representatives,” she said. “I actually received a ‘thank you’ card from them. It taught them how to get along with each other and pray with each other.”

Garcia welcomed the opportunity for the program to return to the prison camp. Rabbi Lipskar responded that the group will absolutely come back to female prisons.

WORK THAT TOUCHES THOUSANDS

The Aleph Institute was founded 32 years ago by Lipskar’s uncle, Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, at the request of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory. The organization says it regularly services more than 4,000 Jewish inmates and nearly 6,000 of their family members. The institute has 35 employees, including a dozen rabbinical positions and many volunteers.

“From a personal perspective,” said Lipskar, “it’s very rewarding to make a tangible impact in someone’s life at very challenging times. It certainly is very special.”

Beyond the Yeshiva program, the institute’s prison work encompasses a range of activities at the federal, state and local levels.

During the High Holy days, for example, it helps conduct more than 300 services in prison. Much of Aleph’s inmate advocacy work is related to basic issues, Lipskar said, such as inmate placement, medical concerns and what materials can be contained in a religious library.

The foundation does not provide lawyers or legal advice, but it can be involved in the legal process, he said, such as creating alternative programs for offenders. If a medical professional is found guilty of prescription fraud, for instance, Lipskar said the institute could suggest he work a certain number of hours at a rehab center, perhaps cleaning bed pans, to appreciate the damage he has done.

“We try to help people through the entire process, and to maintain familial relations,” said the rabbi.

To that end, the institute has a gift program, sending birthday or Chanukah presents to children in the name of the inmate. There’s even a pen-pal program to write to Jewish inmates, both of which add moral support to their prison stays.

In addition to its prison-related efforts, the institute has been helping Jews in the military for 20 years now.

It works with close to 5,000 Jewish service members and their families through Aleph Operation Enduring Traditions. That support could take the form of advocating for the rights of Jews, providing training to military chaplains, sending food packages to personnel and even distributing camouflaged pocket-size Torahs.

About the Author: Chabad.org is a division of the Chabad-Lubavitch Media Center, under the auspices of the Lubavitch World Headquarters


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Women behind Bars Get Three Days of Jewish Studies”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
ISIS in Egypt, according to an image it posted on social media.
Report: Hamas Helped Sinai Terrorists Wage War Against Egypt
Latest News Stories
ISIS in Egypt, according to an image it posted on social media.

Hamas apparently aided ISIS-linked Sinai terrorists in attacking Egyptian Army soldiers.

Umbrellas over Jerusalem

The Jerusalem Municipality hung up umbrellas above Yoel Solomon street, to decorate the street with some color, and add some shade from the sun.

US Navy Yard in Washington DC where a gunmen went on a shooting spree, 2013.

No gunshots, no shooter and no wounded after a scare at the Wash. DC Navy Yard.

Israel Chief of Police Yohanan Danino arrives at the yearly event of the Police Investigations Department in Jerusalem

Yochanan Danino also distributed 200 books written in his honor and called, “My Father, the Commissioner.”

“The Jewish people and the State of Israel owe an eternal debt to Nicholas Winton who singlehandedly saved hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday after hearing of his death. Winton died in Britain at the age of 106. He saved hundreds of Jewish children from the gas chambers […]

Police Thursday morning arrested a rabbi from Safed (Tzfat) whom a woman said raped her after giving her spiritual guidance several years ago. A second woman filed a complaint Wednesday night. The allegations were presented to rabbis in Tzfat last month, and rabbinical leaders, including Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, asked the alleged rapist to […]

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

Nicholas Winton saved hundreds of Jewish children from the gas chambers but said nothing for nearly 50 years.

IDF okays Egypt’s heavy arms in Sinai. Al-Sisi claims it is in total control over the Sinai.

Iran has already been able to free up some 20% of its frozen assets, around $19 billion. At best, that’s without doing anything, and at worse, that’s while continuing to rush towards a nuclear bomb.

Egypt attacks jihadists with F-16 warplanes. Israel closes borders to Gaza and Egypt.

“The Donald” is in the number two spot, shared with Ben Carson, in Iowa and Michigan after a survey that already placed him in the second spot in New Hampshire.

Oren, now a representative of the Kulanu party in the Knesset, has moved on from diplomacy to politics.

Shin Bet foils attempt by Hamas to overthrow Palestinian Authority government in Judea & Samaria.

A demonstration and call for action against terror are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday across from the official of residence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. Government officials got on the soap box after Monday’s night murder of Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld and spoke beautifully against Palestinian Authority incitement and terror. Action is something else. […]

More Articles from Chabad.org
A rocket fell near a Synagogue in the Ukraine during some of the worst of the fighting between pro-Russia separatists and government forces. (archive)

“This is yet another extraordinarily difficult day that we have endured, and sadly, we have recently known many especially difficult and terrible days.”

Gabriel Felder was selected for the prestigious honor of representing his graduating class at The George Washington University commencement, marking the second year in a row that a Jewish student leader has done so.

Felder said he and his fellow students learned well the teaching of the Rebbe.

Chabad Rabbi Michael Oishie had left the building just 20 minutes before the attack.

Canadian Chabad rabbis accompanied Harper on his trip.

“It was quite an institutionalized racism, and we didn’t come to get involved in politics.”

Gematria is more than random wordplay.

We are brought into this confusing, fascinating, infuriating world for such a short amount of time, and it’s our mission to accomplish what we can for the several decades we are allotted.

If one has only enough money to afford either a cup of wine for Shabbat kiddush or oil for his Hanukkah lamp, the mitzvah of Hanukkah takes precedence.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/women-behind-bars-get-three-days-of-jewish-studies/2013/05/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: