Councilman Demands Kosher Food for Orthodox Jews in Penal Institutions

Democratic City Councilman Theodore Silverman, representing the Crown Heights and East Flatbush sections of Brooklyn, today demanded that the city provide kosher food for those Orthodox Jews held in its detention and correctional institutions.

At a meeting of the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety, Silverman called on Department of Corrections Commissioner Benjamin Malcolm to “respect the dietary laws of Orthodox Jews.” Silverman said that “if I were arrested today and remanded to a house of detention or a correctional institution, I could not observe the dietary laws of my faith.”

When Malcolm replied that “he could not provide separate kitchen facilities in detention and correctional institutions,” Silverman responded by noting that this left Orthodox Jews two alternatives, “starve or violate their dietary laws. We except neither and demand respect for our dietary laws.”

Following the meeting, an aide to the Councilman said there were not generally many Orthodox Jews in city correctional institutions. “But even if only one, he is entitled to observe his religious beliefs.”

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