New Jersey Prisons Agree to Allow Menorah Lighting

For the first time, Jewish inmates at state prisons in New Jersey will be allowed to participate in Hanukka menora-lighting ceremonies behind bars.

The agreement, carefully worked out by the Department for Corrections, top advisors to Gov. Chris Christie, and leaders of the state’s Jewish community, was reached Monday during a 45-minute meeting in a conference room at the governor’s office in Trenton.

Some 30 states currently permit menora-lighting ceremonies behind bars, but attempts to allow them in New Jersey penal institutions have failed in the past.

“The Department of Corrections will engage in one-year pilot project where they will permit supervised candle lighting in each prison facility for Hanukka, subject to security concerns,” explained Roger Jacobs, a West Orange attorney who played a major role in achieving the agreement.

Jacobs is a past president of the MetroWest Community Relations Committee who remains active in the state’s Jewish community.


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