When Cantor Ilana Plutzer was serving as a chaplain at Rikers Island a few years ago, she went to the kitchen to get grape juice for Jews in the jail who said they were not getting it with Shabbat meals as they were promised. Plutzer said a kitchen worker told her they did not have any. She went back another day, only to be told there was grape juice — but that she could not have it, though the jail does not use it for any other purpose.
A pilot program is helping non-violent inmates from Rikers Island reunite with their children in a safe way. Can it serve as a model for others?
A rabbi went to New York’s Rikers Island jail to help Jewish inmates celebrate the High Holy Days. He learned lessons about repentence that everyone should heed.
As their name implies, Slavic Soul Party! updates traditional Eastern European sounds with a festive, contemporary feel. Their instrumental music conjures carnivals and circuses, pep bands and klezmer bands, James Brown and James Bond. Brooklyn music aficionados may know Slavic Soul Party! from their weekly Tuesday gigs at Barbès; uptowners may have caught them at Carnegie Hall. Like Johnny Cash and B.B. King, the band also plays prisons, with a show on November 19 at Sing Sing Correctional Facility and October 5 at Rikers Island.
When most inmates complain about jail food, they’re told — literally — to eat it up. Not Baruch Lebovits. The disgraced Satmar hasid, who was convicted of sexually molesting a teenage boy, is getting kosher food from a store in Queens delivered to his cell at Rikers Island, according to the New York Post – even though the jail already provides kosher catering for Jewish inmates.