Still no Kosher food for David Cyprys

October 20, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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David Samuel Cyprys has been in custody in Sydney facing charges since last Wednesday and still has not received any Kosher food.

David Cyprys

The 51-yr-old Cyprys is detained at the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre in Silverwater.

The charges relate to incidents in Sydney when he was between 16 and 18.

His wife Miriam Cyprys told J-Wire: “I can confirm that since Wednesday, he has still not been given kosher food and is, therefore, being starved by Corrective Services New South Wales (CSNSW), despite their obligation under law to provide those in custody with food appropriate to their religious needs. He is unlikely to receive food before his bail application on Thursday 24 October meaning he has gone without food for more than a week. A nurse at CSNSW has provided him with electrolyte powder to keep him alive in the interim! I am appalled and disgusted that this type of inhumane treatment should be the case in a modern democracy like Australia.

Samuel has also had his kippah, tzitzit, siddur and Chumash confiscated, again despite legislation and policies that allow this. I can only conclude that anti-semitism is alive and thriving at Corrective Services, despite and in contradiction to the law.”

Miriam Cyprys explained that the CSNW asks that a prisoner’s family pays for the difference in cost between kosher meals and regular prison meals.

She added: “However, this is a process that takes a minimum of four business days and I was only informed of this on Friday afternoon, after countless calls to CSNSW by Jewish prison chaplain Rabbi Mendy Ulman. Basically, in order to transfer money to a prisoner account, I need to receive a Visitor Identification Number (VIN). Receiving a VIN is a process that takes 2 days. Once the VIN is received,  even if I transfer money immediately, CSNSW says it will take 2 days for the money to show in Samuel’s prison account.  They are not willing to order food before the money is received. So at an absolute minimum, any Jewish prisoner will be starved for a minimum of 4 days.

In my husband’s case, he was arrested on Wednesday and only moved to Silverwater on Friday, adding an additional two days without meals being supplied. Then there is this weekend. And Monday and Tuesday are festivals so the supplier of food will be unavailable. The very first day that the order could be processed is Wednesday, 23 October – a week after Samuel’s arrest – and there is no guarantee that he will receive the food on the same day.

In addition to numerous appeals by the chaplain, my husband’s legal representative has tried to speak to the prison governor. The governor was apparently “unavailable” to speak to him when he rang and the lawyer was told that the governor would not be available to call him back.

How is this allowed and acceptable?

How can I, along with the children, enjoy the festival, knowing that our husband and father is quite literally starving?!

If anyone can help in helping my husband please contact me through J-Wire?”

Rabbi Ulman told J-Wire: “I have been in liaison with the authorities from early today and Katzys who delivers kosher food to Jewish prisons is standing by, but no result as yet.”

J-Wire is monitoring the situation.

To contact Miriam Cyprys email


9 Responses to “Still no Kosher food for David Cyprys”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    The ghost of French Queen Marie Antionette might say “let him eat cake”

  2. Stan Greenberg says:

    You shame Australia because of his prediciment? For goodness sake he’s a convicted pedophile criminal, he’s not holidaying on Club Med!!!

  3. Ilana Leeds says:

    Totally agree with Rabbi Danny. Having worked for a year in the corrective services education sector it is a very bureaucratic system by virtue of its clientele and there are checks and balances in place to ensure security.
    There are alternatives like fruit and vegetables available. If he is starving it’s because he wants to be the “victim” in this case. He’s an adult.

  4. Rabbi Danny Yaffe says:

    I would just like to comment in relation to this article to clarify a few points. As a Jewish Chaplian in Corrective Services NSW, without knowing the details of the case other than reading what has been written here, these points indicate this is not a case on anti-semitism but a case of regular bureaucratic paperwork of a government institution. While not wishing to be insensitive to the individuals involved, the points made:

    “His Kippah, Tziztis and books were taken away” – All inmates upon entry into the system have their possessions removed until release or through applying for them once after the hearing or at some point. Chumashim and Siddurim are available upon request through the chaplaincy and takes about a week to get them. The kippah can be gotten back through filling out paperwork, this isn’t anti-semitic but part of the process. Allowing inmates to wear tziztis in facilities which also house inmates on charges of murder and manslaughter isn’t anti-Semitic, it’s called life saving and avoiding more murders.

    Re Kosher food – All inmates can access their preferred dietary requirements through filling out correct paperwork. There is still fruit and vegetables and certain items are kosher by dint of what they are. Wh Lu this individual is starving I can’t comment on, but while yes the variety isn’t amazing, there are still options to get by on until the kosher food starts coming through.

    Re cost of food being subsidised by the families, while it’s not convenient, the question perhaps should be asked, why should tax payers pay more for some inmates to have kosher while less for others. The CSNSW pays one price for all and if any inmate wants extra, then they pay more for it as well, this is not only with Jews. There are also a very limited amount of Jews in CS, thus less demand, less supply.

    NSW is a different state to Victoria and there a different rules and the access and treatment Jewish inmates and Chaplains have in Victoria is completely different to NSW.

    The claim that anti-semitism is alive in the system, in my personal experience of about 5 years is that I’ve never experienced it. In fact when we wanted to bring Tefillin and shofar in, while there were safety hoops to jump through, the staff were very flexible and accommodating.

    I hope this situation is cleared up quickly for all involved, but I’d be slightly hesitant to make a public statement of anti-semitism is overtly or otherwise is practised or condoned in the system.

    • Gwenyth Ryan says:

      Thank you for your insight Sir.Yes of course there are always two sides to these claims and it is good to hear that this prisoner is being looked after.

    • Adrian Jackson says:

      Well said Rabbi Yaffe. Its best to get the facts from a person on the ground like you.

    • Miriam Cyprys says:

      Dear Rabbi Yaffe,

      Thank you for your response – it is always good to hear another perspective and I am pleased that your personal experience with CSNSW has been positive. However, I can’t help feeling that your views and trust of the system are somewhat naive.

      As you yourself say, there are not many Jewish prisoners and certainly very few who are Orthodox. Correct me if I am wrong but my guess would be that my husband is the only one. Therefore, you probably have not had a huge amount of experience in dealing with the challenges faced by orthodox Jewish prisoners or spent much time speaking with such prisoners. If you had, I believe you would discover that CSNSW’s manner when speaking to officials such as prison chaplains is very different to what in fact occurs on the ground.

      In this way, Corrections Victoria and CSNSW are very similar. In Victoria we have seen time and time again that prison management will lie outright to chaplains and the ombudsman to absolve themselves of any wrong doing.

      To clarify, I have no issue whatsoever in paying for my husband’s meals. My complaint referred to the lengthiness of the process (4 business days) to get kosher food. To reiterate, a prisoner requesting kosher food on a Monday will, at best, receive his first meal on a Friday. A prisoner who requests kosher food on any other day of the week will not receive a meal for at least 6 days. And this does not take into account the time that the prisoner spent in police custody without kosher food.

      In the interim, the prison will provide what they term “kosher friendly” food. As an Orthodox Jew yourself, I imagine that this would not be acceptable to you either.

      Regarding religious items, why should a prayer book be confiscated at all and then applied for? And tzitzis – they can be worn in a way that they are not visible. My husband has worn his tzitzis around murderers for the past 6 years!

      Your colleague Rabbi Mendy Ulman has spent immeasurable hours over the past week trying to get kosher food to my husband. His response to me tonight by text message, after yet another failed attempt, was “[It’s] very hard to understand how this situation is allowed in our justice system”.

      Rabbi Yaffe, you are in a unique position of influence so your assistance in achieving change would be greatly appreciated. Some suggestions are as follows:

      1. Liaise with NSW police to put policies in place to provide kosher food when required to Jewish people in police custody
      2. Work with CSNSW to come up with a solution to either expedite the current process of providing kosher food, or to provide an interim solution for when Jewish prisoners first enter custody
      3. Work with CSNSW on the list of food that the kosher caterer is authorised to provide. I note that the current list does not allow for grape juice or challah for Shabbat and Yom Tov. I also note that it only allows for 1 meal per day, so it would be useful for you to liaise with CSNSW to build a list of foods they have readily available that would be suitable e.g. tinned tuna, cereal, soy milk etc…
      4. Read through and work with CSNSW to update the “Custodial Operations Policy and Procedures”. Section 11.2 refers to “Regligious and Cultural Services”. To this you should add the requirement for grape juice and challah, as well as update other parts e.g. it recognises Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Chanukah as Jewish festivals. What about Sukkot, Purim and Shavuot?

      If you were to achieve the above, you would truly make a difference far beyond the dedication you already show to prisoners. You never know, one day it could be your loved one who could benefit…

  5. Gail Kerbel says:

    Shame on you Australia ……..

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