Archive for December 21st, 2009

Some Thoughts About Jews Behind Bars From Readers

December 21, 2009

Note From Director/Producer, Rhonda Moskowitz 

The thought of Jews behind bars is a startling one, especially if the crime is not white collar.  I hope RETURN (TESHUVA) will change this and will expand peoples’ consciousness. The following are some readers feelings and thoughts on this heretofore hidden, but powerful subject. 

  • From Jane:

“Thank you for bringing attention to the people behind bars. I founded HOPE-HOWSE Int’l. after witnessing an electric chair execution (GA), as media.
In the early days much of the work was with Jewish prisoners. I encourage you to PLEASE visit our website and read some of the articles in the “articles” section.
“I met G-d on Death Row” might be of interest. Also the article by Rodger Kamenetz. HOPE-HOWSE, along with Aleph and Jewish Prisoners Services serve Jewish prisoners.
Thank you for your work. ”

  • From Barry (re: Martin, the Jewish prisoner we’re filming on Death Row):

“I  knew Martin as a teen and his mom was such a nice lady. Martin was such a nice kid that I dont understand how this could have have happened. To his aunt please till martin that Barry said hello.”

  • From Rabbi Yossi Caron, Jewish Chaplain, LA County Jails:

“The following drash was written by one of the men I worked intensively with during his incarceration at Men’s Central Jail. He has been sober and studying and learning as he prepares for his eventual release. We are both very hopeful that this will be the end of this chapter in Dylan’s life and that, indeed, the holiness and hope that he has been experiencing will be just the beginning for him of the life, however imperfect it may be, that he can have. A holy and sober life.

Rabbi Yossi Carron
Rabbi Chaplain, Los Angeles County Jails
California State Prison, Corcoran

A drash from Dylan L., delivered at seder inside the Los Angeles County jails

Matzah is the bread of affliction, but this year it became for me the symbol of the disease of addiction.

Matzah is flat, plain and simple. Our first bite of matzah at the seder is a bit of a shock. Darn right, it’s the bread of affliction, you think. After that first bite we cover it up with charoset, dip, anything we can to make it taste like something! Iver the days of pesach we get rather creative with it: sandwiches, matzah brie, salsa, charoset.

This is what we do to ourselves in the disease of addiction. We take that first bite of an imperfect life and we just don’t like it. But, like matzah on pesach, it’s all we’re permitted to have, So we cover it up—with alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling. No matter what we slather it with though, underneath it is still the matzah of that imperfect life.

It takes the burden of addiction and the blessings of recovery, enslavement and freedom to understand that the plain, flat, simple piece of matzah, like the imperfect life we once tried to cover up with our addiction, is truly holy.”