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Idaho Jewish Prisoners Can Now Get Kosher Food

Four Jews locked up in Idaho prisons will finally be able to eat kosher.

A federal judge has ruled that Idaho’s Department of Correction is required to provide kosher meals in all of its facilities.

After the prisoners were only able to consume fruit and matzah during Passover because they were not provided with kosher meals, a lawsuit was filed in May by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU claimed that the prison service was violating the prisoners’ constitutional rights to free exercise of religion.

Leo Morales, the Executive Director of the ACLU, told Boise State Public Radio that the Jewish prisoners “stood up for a fundamental value and constitutional principle that we have in this country of separation of church and state and also allowing the individual to practice their religious beliefs regardless of whether they’re outside the prisons or inside the prisons.”

The kosher menu will include 19 different meals to choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The court will be monitoring the implementation of the kosher food program to ensure compliance with kashrut, such as providing the meals in pre-packaged, sealed containers.

The kosher meal plan is slated to be instituted no later than November 1 of this year.

The judge’s ruling, however, does not fully resolve the lawsuit. The ACLU is also suing for compensation on behalf of the prisoners, who were forced to eat non-kosher food for years while incarcerated.

Michelle Honig is a writer at the Forward. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

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