Sunday, July 20, 2008

Messianic Jewish Prisoners Claim Discrimination In Denial of Kosher Meals

At Mansfield, Ohio's Richland Correctional Institution, four Messianic Jews have filed a grievance with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction complaining that they are denied kosher meals. In his grievance, inmate Ronald Lutz argued that the denial amounts to religious discrimination. According to yesterday's Mansfield News Journal , ODRC religious-services administrator Rev. Gary Sims says Messianic rabbis informed ODRC that kosher meals are not a basic tenet of their faith. Sims somewhat inaccurately described kosher meals as ones that are "blessed and sanctioned by the Jewish community for those with Jewish faith, so the food is not contaminated." Messianic Jews are classified by the Ohio prison system as Protestants, and only Jews are allowed requests for kosher meals in Ohio prisons.