Israeli prisons prepared for the Holiday season in order to allow religious prisoners to celebrate the holidays. The Israel Prison Service (IPS) had more of a challenge this year as it had to take into account not only the holiday preparations but also the COVID-19 restrictions aimed at preventing a breakout of the disease inside the prisons.
IPS Rabbis oversaw the construction of Sukkas by and for prisoners and guards that included Sukkas in the various wards as well as for those undergoing COVID-19 isolation.
Where there was usually only one central Sukkah in previous years, additional Sukkas had tot be purchased and erected in order to allow for prisoners to have some separation while eating and celebrate the holiday while complying with Health Ministry regulations. Prisoners will be allowed into the various Sukkas in small groups in order to limit the amount of exposure that they each face.
In addition to building the Sukkas, the ISP handed out Yarmulkas to prisoners who requested them as well as Chumashim and sets of Arba Minim. More than 1,050 sets of Arba minim were distributed to the prison service for prisoners and guards who will be spending the holiday inside the prisons. The Arba minim are all at the level of mehadrin-min-hamehadrin and fulfill the Minhagim of both Sephardim and Ashkenazim.
The prisoners themselves took part in building the Sukkas, and most did so with a lot of positivity and joy. In one prison, Rimonim, the prisoners all took part in creating the decorations for the Sukkah as part of a joint project and focused on the concept of finding happiness in life.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)