Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Jersey Prisons Now Allow Real Candles In Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Ceremony

In late November, the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) issued a press release announcing a pilot program to allow state prison inmates celebrating Hanukkah to use NJDOC-approved candles in religious menorah lighting ceremonies.  Candles can be lit in a designated room by a NJDOC staff member or authorized volunteer religious leader. Inmates will be allowed to view the lighting and the burning down of the candles. Electric or battery-operated menorahs will also be permitted. According to an AP report on the policy change, in the past most prisons have been uncomfortable allowing real candles to be used. [Thanks to Joel Katz (Relig. & State in Israel) for the lead.]