Texas prison inmate drops kosher food lawsuit

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — A Texas prison inmate who won the right to receive kosher food and have it provided to all observant Jewish inmates in the state dropped his 12-year-old federal lawsuit against the prison system.

Max Moussazadeh, 40, was serving a 75-year prison sentence for serving as a lookout during a 1993 murder when he filed a federal lawsuit in 2005 complaining that the prison system did not provide kosher food. He won the lawsuit and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice started a kosher food program at one of its prisons. Moussazadeh and the other prisoners requesting a kosher diet were transferred there.

Once the state began providing kosher food to all the state’s kosher-keeping Jewish inmates, Moussazadeh put the suit on hold until his release from prison. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case Friday, several months after his release.

Moussazadeh was transferred later to a high-security prison that does not provide free kosher meals, though he could purchase kosher products from the commissary.

The prison system argued that his commitment to a kosher diet was insincere because Moussazadeh had gone through the general food line at the commissary on occasion and had purchased food without kosher supervision.


The 5th Circuit Court in 2013 ordered the Texas prison system to continue to provide him with kosher food.

Some 35 states and the federal government provide kosher food for observant Jewish inmates.

He was represented by the public-interest Beckett law firm of Washington, D.C., which has also represented inmates requesting kosher diets in Florida and Georgia.