A. No. But many civilian pen pals have developed a wonderful rapport and have gone on to teach Hebrew, discuss Talmud and enter into educational and informative discussions about gardening, cooking, and culture by mail. If this is your forte then go for it! Remember all of our Jewish inmates have had real lives and professions in the free world.
A. A caring heart and a postage stamp are all that is required to perform this important Mitzvah of becoming a pen pal to a Jew in prison. (MITZVAH = a good deed) and any one of the 613 commandments that Jewsare obligated to observe.
A. Currently they are all in US prisons. Over 5000+ Jewish inmates have registered to receive our weekly Parsha mailings, Jewish calendars, and the \"Liberator\" newsletter. Only those inmates without family ties have asked for a pen pal...about 10%.
A.Every inmate has already completed a written Application. In detail they state their birthdate, release date, religious affiliation, outside interests, education, hobbies, and the sort of person they would like to correspond with. We ask fewer questions of you, so that we can match your interests withthose of an inmate. Since we have over 500 inmate applications...themore you can describe yourself and your preferences...the harder we canwork to find a compatible match, and thereby form an interestingrelationship between both parties.
A. No. Many inmates ask to have a pen pal in another part of the world. We now have civilian pen pals from 15+ countries. Also there are Jewish inmates that prefer to correspond in another language...Spanish, Hebrew, French, Russian, etc. or in English.
A. Most Jewish inmates are in prisons for non-violent offenses, some are, and those were usually not street crimes but youthful family disputes. Should you feel that it is undesirable for an inmate pen pal to know your home address we suggest that you use a business address...or a pen-name and a P.O.Box. The Aleph Institute also operates a secure anonymous mail system. You use a pen name and our POB address and we will forward the mail. Those that use this facility usually revert to their normal address oncethey have established a rapport with their inmate pen pal.
A. No. We have many pen pals who do not have email facilities and wecommunicate with them by ordinary \"snail\" mail.
A. Tell us, and discontinue writing that inmate. All inmates have signed a declaration stating they agree that our program is not a dating service, nor an avenue to solicit money or legal advice. If the situation is irreconcilable we will let the inmate know, remove him or her from our pen pal list...and offer you an alternative pen pal.
A. You tell them. We will give you the name, address, and full details of an inmate before you write. Then it is up to you to write in your style and introduce yourself. The first time they know about you as their pen pal is when they receive your first letter or greeting card.
A. No. Inmates in the USA do not have access to the internet.
A. Nothing is usually wrong. Letters to inmates sometimes experience quite unjustifiable delays. Others get \"lost\" or \"mislaid\" taking weeks and months to reach the inmate. Some inmates are transferred and their mail that should be forwarded but is not. The same is true with occasional returned mail. Just let us know and we will look into it and advise you.
A. Yes. We welcome your interest. There are many non-Jewish inmates who have asked us to find them a pen pal. The Aleph Institute provides social services to all who reach out to us,regardless of race, creed, sex or religion.
A. We would ask you to take responsibility to accept and distribute information. Refer interested people to this web site http://www.jewishpenpals.org/
and give them my Email. The most important thing is to provide the name of the person we can be in contact with in your organization.
A. No. Each prison has very specific mail rules. Your Pal will know his or her mail rules, so before sending anything but letters, check with the inmate first. Once a request has been made, sometimes books etc. may be sent c/o a Prison Chaplain, for example. We suggest that you never volunteer to send money, or respond to a request for money.
A. Let us know. The Aleph Institute has a wide range of religious books and material we make available to inmates. That is part of our service and we know how, and what to send to a particular institution.
A. Of course you can. Some pen pals have as many as three or four inmates they write to regularly. Others are content with just one. Initially we suggest you write to one inmate, and once that writing relationship is established you can then extend your kindness to others....we have so many waiting for a pen pal.
A. Jews are human, with human failings. We estimate there are some 8,000 Jews in US prisons, a very small percentage of the over 2,000,000 inmates held in US prisons. Being such a small minority makes for a very lonely life in a prison population that can be rough, callous and very anti-Semitic ... from both authorities and other inmates. This is an important reason that caring pen pals are sorely needed.
A. We are available to help and answer any questions you have. We also send out a newsletter every 4-6 weeks to every pen pal. This gives news and views plus invaluable tips on how to communicate with your inmatefriend.
A. We are very cautious about young people writing without supervision. We do have some young people who write on behalf of their family and are the \"scribes\" and their letters are read by, and include replies from, adult members of the family. In such cases we ask for prior parental consent before assigning a pen pal.
A. If you\'re a caring human, that can afford a postage stamp.... then you\'re qualified. We have pen pals who are parents, grandparents, academics, laborers, shop keepers, Rabbis, moms at home, single, married...all caring people. Some are very religious, others totally secular.
A. Just as often as it suits you and your pen pal. Some write as often as once a week, others only once a month. Every writing relationship is different. To the inmate Pal...it is important receiving mail from the outside world, therefore a greeting card...or a short note with some magazine clippings...is as welcome as a long letter.
A. Of course. This already happens in some cases. A group can take responsibility to write to several inmates, and share the responses within the group. All we ask is for one person to be the coordinator and keep us in touch.
A. Prisons are not places that we in the free world can easily understand. Things do happen on the inside, and sometimes the inmate wishes to unburden these things to their pen pal. Let us know about any serious problem. If there is a genuine incident of anti-Semitic behavior, or abuse, we have an active legal department that will dealappropriately with these problems.
A. All of us err at times and a friendly, kind gesture is always appreciated at such times. Friendship in any form is a great healer. A friendly word from you to another person could be the beginning of a rehabilitation miracle and of great value to a \" forgotten person \". Never underestimate the value ofA. All of us err at times and a friendly, kind gesture is always appreciated at such times. Friendship in any form is a great healer. A friendly word from you to another person could be the beginning of a rehabilitation miracle and of great value to a \" forgotten person \". Never underestimate the value of Mitzvot..and reconnecting any forgotten Jew back to his roots. Mitzvot..and reconnecting any forgotten Jew back to his roots.
A. Sadly, no. Many inmates are forgotten as a busy society and time moves on. Friends get involved in careers, family members die or drift away, and synagogues attend to problems of their active congregations. Jewish people are mistakenly embarrassed by brethren in prisons...and abandon them.
A. Most Jewish inmates have been imprisoned for white collar crime like tax evasion and financial problems. Some professionals are imprisoned because of violations of fraud statutes. These inmates need your support too...and we will try to honor your request in matching you with a Pal.
A.Initially I was asked to be a pen pal to a Jewish inmate. My experience was so gratifying on a personal basis that I asked for 2 more. The personal writing experiences with writing the three was a true mitzvah for me. Because it was such a positive experience I volunteered to serve as the Aleph full time Pen Pal Coordinator, and I love my volunteer job which brings people together...worldwide.This opportunity is now yours...Be A Pal.
A. That\'s great. Let us know the details and we will supply you with all the pre-written material you need.