Prisoner told to prove he’s Jewish

A MANCHESTER Jewish man is suing the Prison Service — after claiming that he was refused kosher food until he could prove he was Jewish.

John Reuben, a prisoner at HMP Lancaster Farms, is seeking a judicial review after authorities there and at HMP Manchester said he had to have his faith confirmed by a rabbi before receiving kosher food.

Mr Reuben wrote in prisoners’ magazine Inside Time: “Surely my faith should already have been marked on my paperwork as it had already been confirmed at [HMP] Manchester.

“This, to me, is pure discrimination as only Jews and Mormons have to go through this, ‘proving’ their faith before being fed a religious diet.

“Muslims do not have to see an imam, their word is good enough, nor do Hindus, Buddhists or Sikhs.”

Mr Reuben added that he still only received one kosher meal a day.

Rabbi Dovid Jaffe, director of South Manchester Lubavitch, who has visited Jewish prisoners, said that families can send in kosher meal packages.

But, he added, he has never previously known of a Jewish prisoner having problems asking for kosher food.

Rabbi Moishe Katz, Jewish chaplain for north-west prisons, was unavailable for comment when contacted by the Jewish Telegraph.

A Prison Service spokesman told the JT that she could not comment on individual cases.

However, she added that the Prison Service Instruction, with regard to faith pastoral care for prisoners, states:

“Any Jewish prisoner who satisfies the Jewish chaplain appointed to the establishment (or obtains such confirmation from their ‘home rabbi’) that they have a sincere desire to adhere to the Jewish faith and to follow Jewish dietary laws, will be entitled to one Kedassia supervised-kosher main meal per day while in prison”.

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