Black, White Inmates of Reformatory Hold Seder; All Termed ‘professing Jews’

Passover services were conducted this week at Washington’s reformatory, the Lorton Complex in nearby Virginia, for eight inmates-five whites and three blacks. The eight inmates were described by a reformatory official as “professing Jews.” The Lorton seder was presided over by Rabbi Simon Burnstein of the Southwest Orthodox Hebrew Congregation in Washington. The seder was also attended by James Freeman, the black associate superintendent of the correctional institution, and the Rev. Edward M. Casey who is the Catholic chaplain. Rabbi Burnstein is the advisor at the reformatory for the National Jewish Welfare Board which joined in sponsoring the seder. The rabbi was assisted by Albert Thomas, a black, who, according to the rabbi, “comes to our shul every morning to join the minyan.” Herbert Cohen, Lorton’s classification and parole officer, described the event to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency as a real seder with the traditional Passover food and religious observance. Miriam Schwab, 10-year-old daughter of a Jewish employe at Lorton, asked the “four questions,” and the eight inmates wore yarmulkas during the seder, Cohen said.

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