State News

Michigan inmates must receive kosher meat, cheesecake on Jewish holidays, court says

October 17, 2021, 6:34 AM

File this one under Things That Will Not Please the 'Feed 'em Bread and Water' Crowd: Two Michigan Jewish prisoners have successfully pushed to have the state provide kosher fare for Sabbath and some holiday meals. 

The garnish, delicious-looking though it appears, is not part of the lawsuit. (File photo)

The Associated Press reports:

Michigan must serve kosher meat, dairy and cheesecake to prisoners observing the Jewish Sabbath and holidays, a federal appeals court said, rejecting arguments that a special menu would be too costly and disruptive.

The Corrections Department typically offers a vegan meal to anyone with religious dietary needs. But the appeals court said it was a “substantial burden” on the rights of prisoners who said they instead need meat and dairy to practice their Jewish faith.

Two inmates sued after the state stopped providing kosher meat for service in state prison cafeterias. Although some has been available in prison commissary, that food couldn't be taken into the chow halls, and the inmates argued that kosher food must be eaten at meals, not as snacks. 

The accommodation is estimated to cost the state about $10,000 a year. 

The cheesecake angle might be harder to understand, but the inmates argued:

Ackerman and Shaykin believe they must eat kosher cheesecake on Shavuot, which recalls the ancient harvest of wheat and the delivery of the Torah to Jews.

Enjoy that creamy goodness, Jewish inmates of Michigan. Someone fought for it. 

Read more:  Associated Press

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