Prison Chaplain Condemns Lewisburg Passover Ruling
Menu JTA Search

Prison Chaplain Condemns Lewisburg Passover Ruling

Download PDF for this date

A vigorous attack on the ruling of the Department of Justice forbidding the receiving of Passover food supplies by Jewish prisoners at the Lewisburgh Federal Penitentiary was made here today by Rabbi Charles Mantinband, Jewish chaplain of the prison, in an exclusive statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

He characterized the danger of contraband being hidden in the the packages as “arrant nonsense.”

“Last Christmas.” Rabbi Mantinband declared, “over two thousand packages came to Lewisburg without any complaint, The total number of Passover packages was fifteen, all subject to examination by prison authorities. The arbitrary ruling of the Department of Justice, and Sanford Bates’ deliberately absenting himself from Washington, nearly caused an up rising.


“Bates has said, ‘Religion is the basis of prison reformation,’ but the provisions for a religious program at the Northeastern so-called model penitentiary is little short of disgraceful. There is no full time Protestant chaplain.”

Eight hundred non-Jewish prisoners voluntarily absented themselves from supper last Friday as a gesture of sympathy for the 175 Jewish inmates of the prison who in a Passover fast protested against the government ruling prohibiting special Passover food. Five hundred Christians attended the Jewish service on Friday night and the entire prison population of 1,000 attended a sedar service conducted last night by Rabbi Mantinband.

Rabbi Mantinband served as Jewish chaplain for a year on a volunteer basis, and now receives twenty dollars monthly, minus a fifteen percent out. He is spiritual leader of Temple Beth Hasholom, of Williamsport, a city thirty miles from Lewisburg.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund