Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Jew on death row sues to keep kosher after eating chicken dinner (not certified kosher)

William Harry Meece has been removed from the kosher meals program after eating an unlabeled meal of rotisserie chicken; according to Meece and a Reform rabbi, this was not a violation of dietary laws.

 A Jewish inmate on Kentucky's death row is suing in federal court, saying he was unfairly removed from a kosher meals program for eating an unlabeled meal of rotisserie chicken.

The Courier-Journal reports that William Harry Meece's chicken dinner violated a rule requiring people getting special meals to strictly adhere to their religious diets. That's because Kosher meals cost 72 percent more to prepare.

The Jewish Prisoner Services International ministry estimates that at least 20,000 inmates nationwide falsely identify as Jewish to get these meals. [...]

But Meece says he was born Jewish, and was a dues-paying member of a Reformed Jewish synagogue in Lexington. His lawsuit says that while Orthodox Jews are limited to food stamped "kosher," Reformed Jews can merely avoid pork and shellfish and maintain other dietary restrictions.

The Courier-Journal reports that Senior Rabbi David Ariel-Joel of one of Louisville's Reform synagogues, who holds a master's degree in Jewish Philosophy from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, agrees with Meece and is supporting him in struggle with the prison authorities.[...]


  1. Lawsuit makes no sense. He's agreeing he doesn't need the strictly kosher meals. On what basis, then, should he receive them?

  2. Not necessarily specific to this case, but if someone sins by eating non-kosher, that should not be a basis to force him thereafter to eat non-kosher and lose access to kosher.

  3. Must not have a yiddishe kup

  4. the simple question is according to his standards - why doesn't he just avoid things like shell fish or pork? He acknowledges he doesn't need certification to establish kashrus

  5. Personally, I would support every Jew, irregardless of how religious or irreligious he is or how high, low or non-existent his kashrus standards are, in having access to kosher food.


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