Jonathan Pollard is appealing to the U.S. District Court in New York on Wednesday for easing conditions of his parole that make it impossible for him to work and require him to violate Jewish law on Shabbat.
HaModia reported that the presiding judge at the hearing, on the third day of Chanukah, will be Katherine B. Forrest, who was appointed to her current position four years ago by President Barack Obama.
A New York financial institution had offered Pollard a job after his recent release from prison following 30 years in jail.
However, the parole’s conditions require Pollard to remain under house arrest 12 hours a day, from 7 in the evening until 7 in the morning, preventing him from attending synagogue on the eve of Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
Attorney Jacques Semmelman, acting on behalf of Pollard, previously has filed a brief stating that he cannot find work because he is required to wear a GPS bracelet, which needs re-charring at least once and sometimes twice within 24 hours.
Moreover, he has to remain seated for two hours while the battery for the monitoring system is being re-charged.
His parole conditions also require him to violate the Shabbat by answering the phone if his probation officer calls on the Day of Rest.
Turning on the electricity on Shabbat for the re-charging system is a violation of Jewish law, and even if he uses a “Shabbos clock,” he cannot move from his seat for two hours.
Rabbi Pesach Lerner, executive of the National Council of Young Israel, told the court in an affidavit that when there is a two-day Jewish holiday, which occurs four times day and sometimes if it immediately followed by Shabbat, it would cause more violations of Jewish law.
Rabbi Lerner, according to HaModia, also pointed out that the parole conditions disturb the meaning of Shabbat. He explained:
Lest anyone think the Sabbath is merely a collection of prohibitions, that is not the case at all. The Sabbath is a special day which, if properly observed, provides spiritual respite and growth.