Reflections by a Jewish Corrective Services Chaplain

August 25, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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Rabbi Danny Yaffe has become the Jewish chaplain for NSW’s Corrective Services. He told J-Wire of his first day.

Rabbi Danny Jaffe

Rabbi Danny Yaffe

Danny Yaffe said: “Yesterday I began my prison chaplaincy, and visited a correctional facility for the very first time in order to meet the four Jewish inmates that resided there. I was unsure of how the experience would ‘look’ and how I would react to the initiation of these relationships, as well as the overall environment. I was concerned about how I would be perceived in the system, treated by inmates of other religions, and apprehensive about how my visit would be perceived by the Jewish inmates themselves. I began my experience with a sense of insecurity, but left with a sense of true respect.

I have gained a true respect for those living in such an environment; a system completely different to the daily freedom in which we experience. Despite the challenging environment in which some have lived in for many years, those I visited still managed to smile, and still focused on seeing the bright side of their situation, despite the fact that the mere environment in which they live could easily cause the opposite.
I have gained a true respect for those living in such a confined environment, yet they have found expression for their raw skills and talents. The inmates unify what we would perceive as unrelated skills and craftsmanship, creating items and instruments that bring them solace, distraction and peace. They have no access to technology, social media, iPhones, Facebook, Instagram and the like. They live life without such items; items that we would rely on for our basic daily functioning. I’m
I have gained a true respect for those living in such a confined environment, yet they possess basic communication skills that many of us nowadays may lack. They talk to each other face to face, and eye to eye, with no screens in between their interactions with each other.
In these mere two hours, I have learnt more core life lessons from these inmates regarding the power of human resilience than any other interaction I have had as yet. And to this, I tip my hat.”

Comments

2 Responses to “Reflections by a Jewish Corrective Services Chaplain”
  1. ben gershon says:

    to all the Jewish chaplains.who are still doing and those in the past who have done this job .I dips me lid

    we started as a convict colony and the rehabilitation of prisoners has only diminished

    kol-tuv

    ben

  2. Debbie Scholem says:

    What a total mensch Rabbi Danny Yaffee is.

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