Aleph Symposium Reminds That Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

This week, chaplains, volunteers and correctional officers gathered at the Annual Jewish Chaplains Conference in Pittsburgh for a “Second Chance” symposium.

By reporter

The Aleph Institute chapter led by Rabbi Moshe Mayir Vogel, executive director of Aleph Institute – North East Region, held a symposium for its volunteers and chaplains to remind and inspire them about their powerful role in prisoners’ lives.

The relapse statistics of prisoners who return to crime within three years of being released from prison is high in Pennsylvania- nearly two-thirds of all those incarcerated. Nationally, that number is even higher- a grotesque 82% of people who served time were arrested within ten years of their release. Those numbers were drastically reduced to only 8% relapse with prisoners who were involved with Aleph.

Aleph reminds people that everyone deserves a second chance. At the symposium, keynote speaker Marshall Dayan a retired federal public defender and the president of Pennsylvanians Against the Death Penalty, praised Aleph’s work.

“We’re all created B’tzelem Elokim,” Dayan said. “We are commanded to engage in being partners with Hashem, in creating the kind of universe that we all want to live in. Even those who’ve committed heinous acts have “some role to play. Yiddishkeit teaches about teshuva and everyone has an opportunity to turn from evil and do good.”

Aleph Institute refuses to give up on any prisoner, even those r”l on death row. Their conviction comes from the Rebbe who shared, “One of the goals of the prison system is to help Jewish inmates and non-Jewish inmates — who are required to keep the Noachide laws — to raise up their spirits, and to encourage them, providing the sense to the degree possible, they are just as human as those that are free, just as human as the prison guards. In this way they can be empowered to improve”

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  1. I volenteered with Aleph. They stand up for those who have nobody, just because they are “bad” and just because society like primitive barbariens beleive in punishment.

    1. You know, the Torah believes in punishment too, up to and including the death penalty when appropriate. On the contrary, “primitive barbariens” (sic) are those who think that criminals should be free to prey on everyone else.

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