A national humanitarian organization says Michigan’s prison system is keeping Jewish inmates from celebrating Hanukkah because they are not allowed to use matches or lighters.
The Detroit News reports that the Surfside, Florida-based Aleph Institute says prisoners are unable to light menorahs over the eight-day Hanukkah observance. The holiday started Saturday.
Rabbi Menachem Katz says Corrections officials “should have a little compassion.” Katz is director of prison and military outreach for the Aleph Institute.
The newspaper reports that prison policy prevents inmates from possessing candles, lighters and other incendiary devices during group religious services or activities.
Corrections spokesman Chris Gautz says inmates can light menorahs if prison staffers or volunteers hold the matches or lighters.
Katz says staffers or volunteers would have to attend ceremonies each of the eight nights.