Menorah candles in Arizona prison debated

Menorah candles in Arizona prison debated

CREATED Dec. 11, 2012

Web Producer: Mekita Rivas


PHOENIX (AP) - A Jewish educational outreach organization is asking Arizona to allow inmates to celebrate Hanukkah by lighting menorahs with real candles behind bars.

The Arizona Republic reports that Chabad of Arizona says Arizona is one of seven states that does not allow the lighting of a menorah with real candles in state prisons and the group wants to change that.

Rabbi Zalman Levertov, the group's regional director, says prison guards could light a menorah visible to Jewish inmates.

But Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux says burning menorahs pose a safety concern.

Mike Linderman, administrator of pastoral activities for the DOC, said if an open flame were allowed for about 680 Jewish inmates in the state, the DOC would also have to permit burning candles for 11,000 other inmates.

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