Letters to the Editor: Jewish Prison Outreach is community effort

In the Nov. 10 edition of the Light there is an ad for Jewish Prison Outreach. Readers may be interested in hearing about the founding of this group. JPO came about because Margie Kessler, a member of B’nai Amoona’s Social Action Committee (SAC), read an article in the Light about how Jews in Missouri prisons were getting minimal help and support from the Jewish community. She was upset about it , and wanted to see the situation change. At the time I told her to go for it – and she did. She contacted many people, not all of whom were Jewish, and worked for several months to get others to listen and support her idea.

Eventually several groups – Jewish Family & Children’s Service, Congregation Neve Shalom and the St. Louis Rabbinical Association – got involved and helped to see that there is a broader base of interest and involvement.

However, we still hear a monthly report at SAC meetings about how her project is coming along. In support of Margie’s Project , in B’nai Amoona’s Tikkun Olam center we collect prayer books, ritual objects and books with Jewish content. We would welcome donations from the Jewish community. Margie personally boxes and mails the items. Margie’s dedication to Jewish Prison Outreach and those it is helping is remarkable and she should be recognized.

Phyllis R.S. Cantor


Social Action Chair, Congregation B’nai Amoona