Jonah* is serving a life sentence in a prison in Hawaii. After years of good behavior, he was finally eligible to apply for parole. But when an old disciplinary action came up during his application, he was immediately put into solitary confinement, eliminating any chance of parole. Jonah was inconsolable. As his mental health deteriorated, he felt tormented and considered harming himself.
Throughout this painful time, Aleph was consistently in touch with Jonah to provide spiritual and emotional support. We sent him “Positivity Bias,” a book based on the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s teachings which completely shifted his mindset and his outlook on life. He tearfully wrote us a message: “Deep in my mind, my heart, and my spirit I was in despair… I had seriously considered harming myself… The book you sent to me with the explanations of the Rebbe’s belief helped me through a very dark period. I was able to seek and maintain views of my world in a positive light… Reading these insights may have saved my life…Thank you.”
Aleph’s free books and educational programs are a literal lifeline to countless individuals behind bars, offering a glimmer of hope and inspiration in one of the darkest places imaginable. When someone like Jonah is able to discover the beauty of the Torah and connect to the teachings of his faith, it can truly be transformative.
On Shavuos, we celebrate the receiving of the Torah over 3,000 years ago. Our rabbis teach that all Jewish souls – even those of future generations – stood united under the canopy at Mt. Sinai to accept the Ten Commandments.
Shavuos reminds us that the Torah and its traditions are eternal. And for people like Jonah, it’s a reminder that although they may be alone physically, their souls are never forgotten; they are part of the 600,000 souls who were at Mount Sinai, past and future generations united in their acceptance of the Torah.
To continue bringing the light of Torah to these precious souls, please consider sponsoring some of Aleph’s education programs in prisons or dedicating a day of learning in honor or in memory of a loved one.
Click here to contribute.
This is a beautiful story and one of many more like it!