Sentencing Guidelines Petition – Forming Now

From the Prisology.org website:

In 2014, Prisology–WITH YOUR HELP–pushed for the adoption of a change to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines that allowed approximately 46,000 federal drug offenders to apply for early release. Taxpayers have saved billions of dollars as a result of this change, and public safety has not been negatively impacted.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission is currently seeking public comment on what its priorities should be for the 2018 Guideline amendment cycle.

Read more at prisology.org/action

 

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Worthy of Respect: Video

Rabbi Sholom Ber Lipskar is executive director of the Aleph Institute, which services the religious needs of Jewish men and women in prison.

In 1985, they brought a group of prisoners to spend a weekend in Crown Heights, where they attended the Rebbe’s Shabbos Farbrengen.

Watch this inspiring video clip, produced by JEM and hosted on Chabad.org.


Click here to watch!

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CALL NOW to help make re-entry more successful – a limited time opportunity!

Call now to support HB 2373

CALL the Governor TODAY & ask him to SIGN HB 2373 
to expand record sealing for non-violent offenders.

CALL
217-782-0244
312-814-2121

 

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Guest Post by Attorney Michael Traison

I SPENT THIS MORNING IN JAIL WITH TWO RABBIS.

I saw inside portions of the Cook County Jail and some of the 8000 prisoners held there in a massive complex spread over hundreds of acres.

But most importantly, I saw for the first time the work of Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman and his son Chaim of the The HINDA Institute, and witnessed the tenderness and loving kindness of these men.

Together we visited eight prisoners who put on tefilin and recited the Shema and told their stories. Rabbi Scheiman consoled, supported and encouraged them.  He told one of them the story of the 42 stops the Jewish People made during our 40 year journey from slavery to independence, and suggested to him that his personal challenges could be one of those stops in his own journey.

Guards and prisoners alike greeted the Rabbi as they saw him in the corridors. They watched with rapt curiosity as the prisoners we visited wrapped themselves in tefillin and donned kippot.

This morning’s experience for me was as unusual and spectacular as it is the norm for the people who work or are incarcerated behind those walls. I understand more than ever the debt we owe to the Hinda Institute.

(reposted from Michael Traison’s Facebook page, 6/14/2017)

Thanks for the good word, Michael!

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Live From The Field

If you’re on our mailing list, please check your email today for a chance to support our work in memory of Hinda Scheiman, a very special person. Or click on Donate on our website. Many thanks and blessings.
The HINDA INSTITUTE Staff

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HINDA Newsletter May 2017

Click here to read the entire newsletter.

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Hindy Scheiman’s yahrtzeit is a meaningful time to support the work of the HINDA Institute

Tuesday, May 23, 2017, corresponds to the 27th of the Hebrew month of Iyar, the anniversary of the passing (yahrtzeit) of a very special lady, Rabbi Scheiman’s late wife Hinda Gittel Alte Chaya.  Many remember her warmth and simple acceptance of people, whether providing quiet words of support and encouragement, teaching Torah to small children, or welcoming them into her home for Shabbos and holiday meals.

Donations in her memory can be made via our website, or by check to 9401 N. Margail, Des Plaines, IL  60016, to further the work of her husband and family via the HINDA Institute.

Additional donations, in the form of volunteer assistance, are also gratefully accepted. Whether you live in the Chicago area or anywhere in the State of Illinois, please contact us to learn about volunteer opportunities!  Visitations, writing to inmates, providing support to family members, in-kind donations of needed items or books of learning, sponsoring a holiday event to bring joy to children whose parents are incarcerated (hint: Chanukah is approaching), packing care packages to send hope to inmates, ex-offenders, and families — call us to find out what you can do, even on a one-time basis.

Hindy Scheiman was the type of person who stepped up to do what she could for whomever needed a helping hand at the time, simply and modestly, with all her heart.  Please join us in perpetuating her legacy.  Click here to Donate now.

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Written Inside | WBEZ

WBEZ has a new podcast which tells stories about life in prison, and it is produced right here in Illinois. Written Inside, by Alex Kotlowitz, is a series of dramatized vignettes that lets people understand more about what it is like to be incarcerated.
Here’s the link:
www.wbez.org/shows/written-inside/6b7651a3-2b8b-47c9-a5c4-5175e60bc5b4

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DuPage County Congregation Etz Chaim Generously Offers Its Support

Dear Rabbi Scheiman,

Thank you very much for being our guest speaker for our social justice program in recognition of Martin Luther King Day. You were a wonderful and informative speaker that both our youth and adult congregants enjoyed hearing. I loved how you started the program by sharing a joke that you tell to your inmates. I can see how you have a calming and positive effect on these Jewish inmates that are lucky enough to have you for their chaplain. We were glad that … was able to join you and give us her personal account of her family member who is serving time. We could also tell that you have a very supportive relationship with her and her son.

Our Social Action Committee recently met and voted to change our tzedakah collection to the Hinda Institute. Donations will be collected in our tzedakah box at our synagogue. We will also make announcements of the collection in our temple bulletin and at various meetings. We hope to have a generous collection.

Thank you again for enlightening us about your important work.

L’Shalom

Marla Gerard (Co-chair of Etz Chaim Social Action Committee)

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Send a Seder – Join us on our Pre-Pesach Road Trip – or just send a box of matzah!

Send Matzah to a Needy Family

Click on this post or the Donate Button to your right to set up your donation.

Thank you!  A Kosher and Happy Pesach to all!

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Watch New 2017 Interview with Avy Meyers on YouTube

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Shabbat in Las Vegas – Chabad of Summerlin

February 3, 2017, Friday Night Dinner Parshat Bo.  Call (702) 855-0770 to reserve.

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Etz Chaim Presentation in January Well Received

Thank you to Congregation Etz Chaim for hosting Rabbi Scheiman as the speaker for their recent 2017 MLK Lecture Event.  He had as much pleasure speaking to the group as they apparently had hearing him.  Here is one response we received from an audience member:

Rabbi Scheiman was a wonderful and informative speaker that our kids and adult congregants enjoyed hearing speak for Martin Luther King Day.

I loved how he started the program by sharing the joke that he tells to the inmates. What he says and does makes sense. If you treat people with respect, build up their confidence, educate them, help their families and treat their mental issues you can make them into contributing members of society and not repeat offenders.

Rabbi Scheiman truly does wonderful work!

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Live From The Field

REMOVING LEGAL BARRIERS TO RE-ENTRY
Listen to Illinois Rising’s segment on re-entry challenges and recent improvements in our state.  See the entire series on criminal justice reform at upstream-ideas.com

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Upcoming Talk, Monday, January 15 in Lombard

ETZCHAIM LECTURE 2017 35 YEARS

Join Congregation Etz Chaim’s Social Justice Program for MLK Day, “35 Years Behind Bars”, 10:30 am, January 15, 2017

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HINDA meets with Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently elected Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx met with Rabbi Meir Shimon Moscowitz, head shaliach of Lubavitch Chabad of Illinois, Rabbi Avraham Kagan, Government Affairs Director for LCI, and State and County Chaplain Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman this past week. The rabbis had a chance to explain Chabad’s activities to help others materially, emotionally and spiritually, including Rabbi Scheiman’s approach to reducing recidivism among those he helps, and to learn about Ms. Foxx’s goals and agenda as well.

HINDA meets with Kim Foxx

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Live From The Field

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HINDA Institute wishes you a very Happy Chanukah!

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You DID IT! Thank you everyone.

hinda-success

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QUADRUPLE MATCHING FUND-A-THON RIGHT NOW!


charidy-2016

Dateline 12/4/2016, 7:29 pm, Sunday night…

Do you like what HINDA Institute does?  Be a part of our winning efforts – improving the lives of families and individuals materially, emotionally and spiritually – and bringing as many Jewish people back to the community on a stronger basis to become responsible, productive members of society.

Be a partner with us RIGHT NOW — go to www.charidy.com/hinda

Every dollar you pledge will have 4X the impact, thanks to our Matching sponsors.

But please hurry… we’ve only got 24 hours to reach our goal, or your pledge will be returned.

Thank you!

charidy-logo

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HINDA Newsletter Fall 2016

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Click here to read the entire newsletter.

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Re-entry’s easier when you have a profession

WSIL: First Illinois inmate to get cosmetology license behind bars leaves Vienna Prison

Almost 50 percent of inmates in the Illinois Department of Corrections end up returning to prison within three years of being released, according to state data.

Prison officials say a new program implemented by Governor Bruce Rauner earlier this year could help change that. IDOC now allows inmates to obtain professional licenses while they are still behind bars.

It began in April of this year as a way for offenders to find and keep work after being released. The first inmate in Illinois to complete the program walked out of Vienna Prison Tuesday morning, a free man and licensed cosmetologist.

See this story at https://www.illinoispolicy.org

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For Hinda Scheiman’s Birthday – Support Her Legacy of Kindness

hindy-dancingThis Wednesday evening in the beginning of the month of Cheshvan, we will be marking the birth date of a very special lady, Rabbi Scheiman’s late wife Hinda Gittel Alte Chaya, who returned her soul in purity to the Creator 27 Iyar, 5773.  Many remember her warmth and simple acceptance of people, whether providing quiet words of support and encouragement, teaching Torah to small children, or welcoming them into her home for Shabbos and holiday meals.

Donations in her memory can be made via our website, or by check to 9401 N. Margail, Des Plaines, IL  60016, to further the work of her husband and family via the HINDA Institute.

Additional donations, in the form of volunteer assistance, are also gratefully accepted. Whether you live in the Chicago area or anywhere in the State of Illinois, please contact us to learn about volunteer opportunities!  Visitations, writing to inmates, providing support to family members, in-kind donations of needed items or books of learning, sponsoring a holiday event to bring joy to children whose parents are incarcerated (hint: Chanukah is approaching), packing care packages to send hope to inmates, ex-offenders, and families — call us to find out what you can do, even on a one-time basis.  Hindy Scheiman was the type of person who stepped up to do what she could for whomever needed a helping hand at the time, simply and modestly, with all her heart.  Please join us in perpetuating her legacy.  Click here to Donate now.

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HINDA Newsletter Summer 2016

Picture2Click here to read the entire newsletter.

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An Inmate Writes to Thank Rabbi Scheiman, July 2016 / Tammuz 5776

Dear Rabbi Scheiman, Thank you for all that you have done to help myself and ALL THE OTHERS!!!  ... Please tell Mendel that I am ... not being so confrontational with people these days... I know it is the anger management and just growing older and wiser that is helping... I don't know what I would have done without your expected visitations... they kept me looking forward to the coming months... THANK YOU!!!

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Letter from a Former Inmate

Dear supporters and friends, here is a letter we were forwarded from an inmate who was touched by HINDA’s help.  We are including this to show you both the potential of people to learn and change, as well as the obstacles they face when they are released.

13 Sivan, 5776

Shalom Rabbi,

I hope your Shavuot holiday was well.  I was so excited to see in the Liberator (Aleph’s National Liberator Magazine) the article about Rabbi Scheiman.  I met that man at my worst in the Illinois Department of Corrections in 2007, and that man never made me feel like a prisoner.  Even after release, at a holiday dinner, I was treated as a member of the family.  He (Rabbi Scheiman) introduced me to the Aleph Institute.  Rabbi, next month is … the anniversary of my violent almost deadly… but the Lord stepped in and said “no!”.  I have had a lot of battles, but I am coming to the end of my stay.  I was never a person to ask for help, but now I [am turning to you for assistance]… Do you have resources in [certain states?].  I have [relatives] and I will get [small amount of monthly disability funding].  I know that at one point Aleph used to help with security deposits and first month’s rent, but that was back in 2007, times have changed… well, whatever you can do or suggest will be most helpful… I don’t want to go back to [my previous location]. I need to change my direction, and I know that will be a bad situation, considering after everything up until now.

Have a great week.

Shalom.

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HINDA Newsletter Pesach 2016

459461-1459461-2Click here to read the entire newsletter.

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Send a Seder – Join us on our Pre-Pesach Road Trip – or just send a box of matzah!

Pesach Road Trip Send a Seder

 

 

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A Rabbinic Family’s Calling: Lend an Ear to the Incarcerated

 

Read a great article about how Rabbi B. Scheiman began his work with prisoners, and how the next generation has joined him in expanding HINDA’s help to Jewish families and individuals across the state.

Read the full article here

Chabad at SIU university students write letters of support and encouragement to prisoners, connecting the two constituencies of the Scheimans’ outreach.  Students practice compassion as prisoners receive hope.

 

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Please Give Generously

As we approach the festive holiday of Purim and begin to prepare for the Chag HaGeulah of Pesach, we are reminded of our responsibility to help Jews in need around us and throughout the world. The requests for Tzedakah may be overwhelming at times but we must take this time to do what we can to share the brochos bestowed on us from Hashem especially when the needy are members of our own community. A family many of us know is currently in dire financial circumstances being that their breadwinner is no longer able to provide for the family. The existing needs and expenses of this mother and her 9 children are only increasing and their ability to maintain their home is dependent on any help they can receive from others. Please consider giving generously to assist this family.

The donations are tax deductible.

https://www.youcaring.com/ anonymous-family-541123

Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman

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HINDA on Criminal Justice, at the Illinois Policy Institute

Illinois Policy Institute

Click the link to read this new interview vignette posted at IllinoisPolicy.org.

“Statistics show that children of people who are incarcerated have a higher rate of incarceration later in life. It does affect them … Read more

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ACLU and Illinois Policy Institute Panel Discussion — Today in Downtown Chicago

Illinois Policy Institute and the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois representatives and representatives from the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform host a panel today to discuss new research and solutions towards reducing recidivism, today, February 24, in the Loop.

The panelists are Rodger Heaton – Chairman of the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform, Director of Public Safety, and Homeland Security Advisor to the governor; Bryant Jackson-Green – Criminal Justice Policy Analyst with the Illinois Policy Institute; Ben Ruddell – Criminal Justice Policy Attorney with the ACLU of Illinois; and the panel is moderated by Khadine Bennett – Staff Attorney and Legislative Counsel with the ACLU of Illinois.  Lisa Creason — mom, activist and ex-offender — will be a special guest.

 

 

 

 

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MAZEL TOV 60

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to HINDA Institute director Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman on his 60th birthday, the 18th of Shevat (Wednesday night and Thursday, Jan 27)!

Rabbi Scheiman is accepting gifts in the amount of 60:

60 more minutes a week of study, make 60 people smile, put on tefillin for 60 days, 60 seconds to think before you speak, Learn 60 Torah verses by heart, Add 60 seconds of concentration to your daily prayers, Give 60 cents to charity daily, or Your Own 60 Mitzvah

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News Video: Progress on State Criminal Justice Reform

Governor Prison Changes

 

 

 

 

 

 

See the video at Nexstar’s   illinoishomepage.net

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Hiring?

Sheriff Tom Dart, in his opinion essay in Crain’s Chicago, suggests that employers and business decision-makers should give ex-offenders more opportunity in 2016:

When I walk through the jail and analyze detainee criminal histories, it’s increasingly clear that those jailed on nonviolent charges are predominantly good people who were born on the wrong side of the tracks. They made mistakes and are eager for second chances. Permanently shutting the revolving door between the streets and jail begins with offering fair opportunities for solid jobs with steady incomes…

We all benefit when ex-felons transition from costing society to contributing to it—but only a select few influencers have the capacity to turn this rhetoric into meaningful action.

Chicago’s business community has a rare opening to catalyze the criminal justice reform movement, break the insidious cycle of recidivism and revive our depressed economy.

For such a unique opportunity, it’s worth dusting off the 2016 list of resolutions—and lobbing a call into HR in the process.

Click here to read the full article.

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Message to Rabbi Mendel

Dear Rabbi Mendel Scheiman:

Thank you and God bless you for all you do.

My husband was on the bus the other day and he met a (non-Jewish) man who noticed that my husband was obviously Jewish. He went on to explain how he had been visited in the prison for many years by Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman, and when he eventually got out of prison he went to thank him in Niles. I assume that that is a relative of yours.  It is amazing what your family is doing and we’re all very proud of you.
A Community Member
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New Employment Hope

“Both state legislative chambers passed a bill sponsored by Rep. John Cabello, R-Machesney Park, that would allow nonviolent felony offenders to shield their criminal records from potential employers if they earn a high school diploma, associate’s degree, career certificate, vocational technical certification or bachelor’s degree or pass the GED test while serving time or while on mandatory supervised release.

“‘Too often people are not being hired because they are a felon,” Cabello said. “This way, they can hopefully get back into society after paying their debt. They can become a productive member of society and stop that recidivism.'”

Click HERE to read the full article at the Rockford Register Star

Click HERE to see the bill

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New Video: Hear directly from ex-offenders

Watch a short but inspiring video about the impact of HINDA Institute on real people.

When you donate to The HINDA Institute – Real lives are changed. #hindahelps

Posted by Binyomin Scheiman on Sunday, November 29, 2015

When you donate to The HINDA Institute – Real lives are changed.

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Amazing Success! End of Year 24-Hour Online Fundraising Drive

HInda charidy exceeded

 

You did it!  Hinda Institute friends and matching sponsors EXCEEDED all expectations and raised $76,004 in 24 hours.  THANK YOU EVERY ONE!

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CLICK HERE TO WATCH A VIDEO THANK YOU FROM RABBI BINYOMIN SCHEIMAN

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HINDA Newsletter Chanukah 2015

hindahelps2Click here to read the entire newsletter.

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Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform Hearing in July

Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman took the opportunity of the hearing held in Chicago on July 27, 2015 to present several points from his unique perspective as an experienced chaplain. Among his points were: support for more community-based responses (less incarceration), planning for success on re-entry, record expungement for those who have demonstrated trustworthiness, and especially incorporating restitution as a more meaningful and effective response – one that better addresses practical, psychological and spiritual aspects for offenders, victims, and society than the current approach.

For more information about the work of the commission, visit their site at http://www.icjia.state.il.us/

 

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Family of Rabbis Visits Cons Who Violated ‘Thou Shalt Not Get Caught’

By Justin Breen

CHICAGO — The High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur offer Jews a fresh, new year and a chance to ask God for forgiveness.

Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman said those opportunities should be extended to current and former inmates within the Illinois prison system.

Scheiman runs the non-profit Hinda Institute with two of his sons — like him, both are Orthodox rabbis — and their two wives. The family counsels Jews in prison and those who have been released, and also their relatives and friends.

Continue reading on dnainfo.com

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Recent speech about the HINDA Institute

Click here to listen to Rabbi Scheiman talking about the HINDA Institute in England.

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Rabbi Scheiman and the Jewish “Rocky”

Dna info Story on Sam Horowitz

Coinciding with the appearance on Cahnmann’s Round Table televised interview, this well-written article appeared on dnainfo.com

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Cahnmann’s Roundtable

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HINDA Newsletter Summer 2015

hinda summer 2015

Click HindaHelps Summer 5775 to read the newsletter.

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Watch: The HINDA Institute

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On The Air with Avy Meyers 2

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The Rebbe on inner city unrest

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Hinda Newsletter Spring 2015

Hinda Newsletter Spring 2015

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spring 2015 2

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On the air with Avy Meyers

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Canadian Jewish News article

…”Chabad of Richmond, B.C., recently replaced its High Holiday prayer books and was looking for a new home for its several hundred older versions, which were still in great condition. When Rabbi Yechiel Baitelman posted on a Chabad site that he was ready to pass them on, the first request came not from Canada, but from Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman in Illinois.

The founder of the Hinda Institute (formerly known as the Jewish Prisoners’ Assistance Foundation), Rabbi Scheiman’s organization aids families of Jews incarcerated, arranges visitation for incarcerated Jews in Illinois jails and helps with their re-entry process once they are released. He jumped at the opportunity to receive the machzorim. “We estimate there are up to 150 Jews incarcerated in the state of Illinois and these High Holiday prayer books are so important,” he reflected. “For Jewish inmates, Rosh Hashanah is a time in their life when they’re very open and repenting for mistakes they’ve made in their lives. The prayer books are an extremely generous contribution.”…”

– See more at www.cjnews.com

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Rabbi Scheiman at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

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HINDA Family Pre-Purim Party

“Starting off with Hamantash baking, we filled the dough circles with jam, shaping them into triangles like Haman’s hat. Then everyone sat down for dinner and heard the Purim story; how Esther & Mordechai helped save the Jews from Haman’s decree, with G-d orchestrating a series of events. Afterwards a clip of children acting out the Purim story was viewed followed by a game of Pictionary- guess which scene is drawn in the picture.
Finally, we got to taste the delicious hamantashen!
Happy Purim!”
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New: Indigent Families and Children Fund

Dear Hinda Institute Supporters

I’d like to make you aware of a special mitzvah opportunity.

Even with public and community aid, there are families we deal with who do not have enough for their most basic needs.  Sometimes the amounts provided by the state and the amounts available from other community organizations are simply not enough.

Several people have recently come forward to offer support for the general fund or for specific families. Please consider joining in this effort.  Basic supplies such as shampoo, new socks and notebook paper do not cost much for some of us, but can make the difference between dignity and misery for the children of our clients.

To donate to this fund, simply earmark your donation for Indigent (or needy) Families Fund.

Thank you,

Rabbi Scheiman

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Chanukah Thank You Dreidel

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Chanukah Newsletter

HindaInstituteChanukah5775_01

 

Happy Chanukah!  Click the link to view our Chanukah newsletter!

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WBEZ Interview

Listen to Rabbi Scheiman’s interview on WBEZ Chicago’s Morning Shift, December 01, 2014

The pop-culture picture of clergy working in prisons is someone with a collar. A Catholic priest. A Christian minister. But one man with a black fedora and a long beard can be found every month in prisons from Chicago to Cairo, tending to the spiritual needs of Jewish prisoners. Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman talks about his mission and the miles he puts on his car.

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Jewish Chaplains Conference 5775-2014

Aleph Institute 5775Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman was recently invited to speak at the national 2014 Jewish Chaplains Conference: Repairing Our Community – One Person At A Time, held in early November in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home of Aleph Institute Northeast Regional Headquarters.

The conference / training workshop was attended by chaplains & volunteers. Rev. Ulli Klemm, Head Chaplain for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, and Dr. Wanda Jackson, former warden and current Religious Service Administrator for Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, also addressed the group.

 

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November 2014 Newsletter

November 14 NewsletterClick here to read the monthly newsletter distributed to Jewish inmates November 14 Newsletter

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HINDA Newsletter 5775 High Holiday Edition

Click here to read the newsletter

Hinda newsletter Tishrei 5775 image

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Rabbi Scheiman’s speech in England

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Endangered Kosher Meals

Tired of prison food? Claim Judaism.

This article by Dianne Frazee-Walker of the Prison Law Blog describes a frequent occurrence: prisoners, even if they are not Jewish, request kosher meals from the prison system.  Unfortunately, this situation can cause trouble for inmates who truly need those meals — since authorities sometimes call a halt to the kosher service if they feel it is being abused.  Read more here…

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HINDA Stories and News Articles, New and Old

scheimannews_476701ad32c718f2f1eda79699b47756Links to Articles and Stories about the HINDA Institute:

Just click here, or on “HINDA in the News” under the Media tab of our Menu.

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August Newsletter

Check it out. August Newsletter

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Summer 5774 HINDA Institute General Newsletter

Hinda Institute Summer Newsletter 5774 Summer 5774 NewsletterWe’re up to a lot of good!  Read thank you letters from prisoners, mazal tovs, new plans and accomplishments in our latest newsletter publication:   Hinda Institute Summer Newsletter 5774

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July 2014 Hinda Newsletter

July Newsletter Click to view our newsletter which is distributed to Jewish inmates.

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Uptown People’s Law Center Addresses Appalling Conditions in Cook County Jail

The Uptown People’s Law Center’s new case alleging that 50 prisoners were shuttled around the jail, held without a bed, toilets, showers, or food for almost a week, was covered on Chicago Tonight.

http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2014/06/12/cook-county-jail-faces-another-lawsuit

For more details, visit:

http://uplcchicago.org/blog/

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Skokie Ketura Hadassah Women to Host Rabbi Scheiman Sept 30

Join the Ketura Group of Chicago-North Shore Hadassah

Tuesday, September 30

Mayer Kaplan JCC

5050 Church St

Skokie, IL 60077

to learn about the work of Rabbi Scheiman and the HINDA Institute

Meeting convenes at 12:30 p.m., Rabbi Scheiman will speak at 1 p.m.

For more information about Ketura and Chicago-North Shore Hadassah,

visit their website  Hadassah_Smaller_Logo_with_CNS.1

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Hinda Newsletter June 2014

Click here to read it! June Newsletter

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Hinda Newsletter

 

The newsletter in PDF format
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May Newsletter

May Newsletter

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AAUW PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAM: RABBI SCHEIMAN TO THE RESCUE!

Some feedback from the AAUW PUBLIC POLICY PROGRAM: RABBI SCHEIMAN TO THE RESCUE!

recently planned and implemented so capably by Moe Headington – Thank you, Moe

 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014.6:30 Reception – 7:00 Program
Oak Brook Library • 600 Oak Brook Road
Free/Open to the Public

 

Recidivism rates at all time high: over 70% of offenders returning to prison
within 3-5 years: staggering judicial & incarceration costs.

 

Rabbi Scheiman, state prison chaplain for more than 30 years.
Director of the HINDA Institute, achieves a recidivism rate of 10%.
Saving lives. Saving families. Saving communities.

Hosted by AAUW: American Association of University Women
Hinsdale/Oak Brook & Salt Creek Branches
hinsdale.oakbrook.aauw©gmail.com

There were a number of positive “thank you’s” and comments rendered as we were preparing to leave, and some later via email.

L. said: The Rabbi was great! He really had a great message about humanity. Many people would benefit from hearing his perspective on the prison system. His is fortunate to have found his calling… Thanks for all of your efforts organizing this program.

A. called to say that “she loved listening to the Rabbi talk … amazing how he is living his passion”.

R. came up to me and started to cry, saying how deeply this program touched her since she had lost two loved ones close in time … that she really felt a connection – and thought his (Rabbi’s) presence in my life at that time was like that of an angel”.

 

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Anti-Semitism and Proselytization in Prison: The Forward reports

A new article by the FORWARD mentions Rabbi Scheiman in its discussion of racial polarization in the prison environment, including intimidation by authority figures as well as inmates. On the other hand, sometimes unlikely friendships or alliances spring up. Read more here…

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Chicago Jewish News Cover Story

Jailhouse Flock

by Pauline Dubkin Yearwood, Chicago Jewish News, October 18-24 2013

Eleven days out of the month, every month, Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman wakes at 4 a.m. and gets ready for a 12- to 15-hour day that might see him traveling up to 400 miles. At the end of his journey? Often, a single Jewish prisoner.

That doesn’t matter to Scheiman, who has been doing this work since he moved to Chicago in 1980. He’ll go to any one of Illinois’ more than 25 state, county and federal jails and prisons if there is even one Jew incarcerated there.

He estimates there are between 100 and 150 Jewish prisoners in the correctional system at any one time in Illinois.

Often, he does no more than sit and talk with the incarcerated person – whom he calls a client, not a prisoner. He talks, he listens, he prays, he advocates. Sometimes he reads from the Torah, other times he’ll go to bat for a prisoner who wants to have kosher meals. And his help doesn’t stop when a person is released.

Many of those he has helped say his visits were a lifeline.

They are people like Diane, who did not want her last name used in this article and who was incarcerated for years in various prisons for what she says were white collar crimes.

“He’s just the best. He doesn’t judge you – I could tell him anything and he wouldn’t be shocked. He keeps you going. I’ve been out many years and he’s been there for me the whole time. I adore him,” she says.

Sam Horowitz, a young Jewish man whose struggles with anti-Semitism at a downstate Illinois prison were detailed in a front-page Chicago Jewish News story in 2006, says Scheiman “was a vital part in my sanity. He always had my back. I respect him more than anybody else on this planet and I don’t think there is one person he has interacted with who doesn’t feel the same way.”

Horowitz has been free for three years after spending nearly nine years in prison and is doing well; he stays in touch with Scheiman and sometimes volunteers with his organization. That’s not unusual, the rabbi says.

Now Scheiman, still grieving the death of his wife, Hinda, from cancer five months ago, hopes to do even more for prisoners and former prisoners and their families and is looking to expand his organization, which he has renamed the Hinda Institute and now includes two of his sons as partners. The name, aside from honoring his wife, stands for “Helping Individuals Ascend.” That’s how he sees the job.

Rabbi Scheiman didn’t set out to be a prison chaplain, he said in a recent interview. Recently married, he came to Chicago in 1980 from his native Brooklyn as a Chabad Lubavitch emissary tasked with running the area’s Gan Israel camps. Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz had just become the head of Illinois’ Chabad organization and he needed personnel.

“I was his first hire, and when I got here I asked, what exactly do you want me to do” aside from heading the camp program, Scheiman says. “There weren’t many Lubavitchers in Chicago, so he said, why don’t you start with things that don’t cost money – give classes, speak, organize things.”

Scheiman was beginning to do that when he received a call from a Jewish man from New York whose son had gotten into trouble and was in prison in downstate Joliet. It was just before Passover.

“He asked if we could see to it that his son would have matzah and grape juice, have a Haggadah for Passover,” Scheiman says. “I started making calls, I called the prison, the (non-Jewish) chaplain and arranged to drop off matzah and grape juice. That was my first contact within six weeks of moving to Chicago.”

Slowly, he began getting more involved with Jewish prisoners, and when the rabbi who had been visiting the Cook County jail in Chicago died, he took over that task as well.

“As I was doing it, I felt a sense that this is what I should be doing,” he says.

“He was the first person to visit me when I was incarcerated. He visited me every month and he was very inspirational and forgiving. He inspires you with words – I can’t explain how he does it but he makes you feel better about yourself. He seems to be able to get past all the things that people think about people who are incarcerated and get them back in touch with who they are, what they are supposed to be, just feeling better about yourself….I don’t think I’ve ever met a person like him before. He is still my rav. I talk with him every week.” – Michael (he did not want his last name used).

There was a problem. Scheiman had no official status – “I couldn’t walk into the prison. I was sitting with the other visitors in the visiting room,” he says. He and Rabbi Moscowitz eventually met with several government officials, including then-State Sen. Howard Carroll.

“He said, ‘We have imams and priests going to visit (members of) their faith groups, why not have a Jewish one?’ ” Scheiman relates. Eventually, accompanied by much red tape, that came to pass. It meant that Scheiman had easier access to prisoners in every facility in the state and received a small stipend, along with paid mileage. (It’s not his only job; he also heads Chabad of Niles and still oversees the Gan Israel camps.)

Today, he might visit up to 25 prisons, assuming that each has at least one Jewish inmate (not always the case). One facility he goes to regularly is Cook County Jail, where, he says, out of a population of about 10,000, there are usually up to 15 Jews awaiting trial. If non-Jewish prisoners ask for his assistance or show an interest in Judaism, he will offer his services to them as well.

What he does during his visits depends almost entirely on what the inmate wants, he says. It might be anything from praying with tefillin (inmates are not allowed to keep the ritual objects in their cells for safety reasons) to delivering food for Passover to helping sort out problems by talking to family members on the outside.

“I am there first and foremost to remind them that they are a human being, they’re not just a number. That they were created by G-d, they have a purpose, they have something good inside them,” he says. “I go in with a friendly non-judgmental attitude and to them that is like a breath of fresh air. The main thing I do is go. The mere fact of someone coming in with a smile, not to judge, to lift up someone’s spirit – does it pay to travel 300 miles and spend 12 hours driving to see one Jew in a maximum security prison? Yes, when you see the face of that man or woman.”

Read more at the CJN website…

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Human Beings Shouldn’t Be Treated as “Garbage”

Rabbi Shlomo Yoffe

The New Jersey Jewish News recently covered a symposium on the Jewish view of incarceration. Here’s an excerpt:

Disparities in sentencing for minorities and lengthy sentences for minor or first-time offenses are often antithetical to Jewish notions of restitution and rehabilitation, said Rabbi Shlomo Yaffe, dean of the Institute of American and Talmudic Law, a division of Chabad Lubavitch of Midtown Manhattan.

“We have to find ways to enable them to pay back, to rectify, to give back to society, maybe with certain limits on their movement,” said Yaffe, speaking before 700 attorneys Sept. 16 at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany. “But the idea to throw people away as so much human garbage is unconscionable for the Jewish people.”

Later in the article, Los Angeles rabbi Elliot Dorf is quoted as saying, “In some cases the very experience of being confined leads people to change their lives, but only if they are supported once they are released in finding housing and a job.”

Sounds like a job for the HINDA Institute…

Full article here.

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Creating a safer society — 20 years of service.  JPAF visits every Jewish prisoner in the State of Illinois, every month, with words and deeds of inspiration, wisdom, morality, and common sense. Results? At least 70% of the individuals on our rolls do not return to prison. That’s the reciprocal of the national average for serious crime. And those who remain involved and in contact with the HINDA Institute and the rabbi after re-entry continue to be not only arrest-free, but also crime-free. Try our “money-back guarantee”!

Helping spouses and children.  Families are deeply affected by an incarceration. Besides the immediate effects, children who do not receive helpful intervention are statistically likely to themselves get into trouble with law. Help us break this cycle for children and families with counseling, sincere, personal interaction, and generous scholarships to Jewish camp. ​

Consider volunteering.We also need volunteers to write letters of encouragement, visit prisoners, deliver holiday packages, and if you’re a legal professional or social worker, to offer legal aid or help for families. Please contact us today!

Help today with a donation of any amount.  Please help fund our efforts to heal individuals and create a safer society for us all. Click the donate button above right.

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Thank you from a former inmate

A Former Inmate of Dwight Correctional Center Sends Thanks

A Former Inmate of Dwight Correctional Center Sends Thanks

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Niles rabbi wants to put God in prison

Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman with two inmates

Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman with two inmates

Here’s an article that ran in the Burr Ridge Sun-Times this summer:

BURR RIDGE — Maureen Headington has never spent a night in jail, but until recently she was in her own little prison.

“I didn’t leave my home here in Burr Ridge for months,” Headington said of the time following the deaths of both her parents.

Then she met Rabbi Binyomin Scheiman of Niles. As he has done for so many others, Scheiman helped Headington emerge from a dark place and to start living again.

“His work is about transforming darkness into light,” said Headington, who is now returning the favor by helping Scheiman to expand the ministry he began 33 years ago.

Scheiman travels 70,000 miles each year visiting Jewish inmates in jails and prisons across the state. He provides spiritual guidance, counseling and hope to Illinois inmates, ex-offenders and their families.

His goal is to turn people around and to help them stay out of prison.

Until recently, Scheiman’s efforts were funded by the state, but that funding has taken a hit. Rather than cut back, however, Scheiman has increased his fundraising efforts, with hopes of expanding the scope of his work.

“I lost my wife of 33 years to a battle with breast cancer in May,” Scheiman said.

He since has renamed the Jewish Prisoners Assistance Foundation the HINDA Institute, after his wife, Hinda.

“It’s an acronym for Helping Individuals Ascend,” Scheiman said.

With an annual fundraising goal of $250,000, the Des Plaines-based institute is expanding its focus to offer more support to people once they are released from custody. He hopes to offer more family mentoring and support, jobs assistance, and mental health services.

After a few months, the HINDA Institute has reached nearly one-quarter of its goal.

“We went from zero to 60 (thousand dollars),” Scheiman said.

To help spread the word, Scheiman is adding some speaking engagements to his already busy schedule.

His work is with individual people. But Headington said it is society that ultimately will benefit from fewer people heading back to prison. That fact was recognized in June when Scheiman accepted the Honorable Gerald C. Bender Humanitarian Award from the Decalogue Society of Lawyers.

“I’m humbled,” Scheiman said of the award. “I’m just doing what I’m doing.”

Reposted from original article in the Burr Ridge Sun-Times, August 02, 2013, BY SANDY ILLIAN BOSCH | sbosch@pioneerlocal.com | @sandydoings

(We have amended the spelling of “HINDA Institute” in this post.)

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