The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Temple Beth El (TBE)/Jewish Community Center, Aptos, CA, and the RAC have both endorsed the Together to End Solitary (TES) campaign, a nationwide initiative to build public support and political power to ban the use of solitary confinement. TES is a series of events that take place on the 23rd of each month, as a reference to the 23 or more hours a day that up to 100,000 people in U.S. prisons spend in small solitary cells. People hold actions wherever they are. Please join us. In California, the campaign includes Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement.
Temple Beth El has hosted a series of powerfully moving events to raise awareness and work to end solitary confinement:
Jewish teachings make clear that solitary confinement and other forms of social isolation are deeply disturbing. Genesis 2:18 declares: “It is not good that the human should be alone.” In the Babylonian Talmud, Ta’anit 23a, Honi the Circle-drawer prayed for death to end his loneliness. Raba said, “Either friendship or death.”
Our congregation currently is working to oppose an ongoing practice of loudly awakening prisoners in CA solitary every 30 minutes throughout the day and night, causing great mental and physical harm. Prisoners and families have filed a sleep deprivation complaint with the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture.
Temple Beth El will also work to pass CA Senate Bill 1143 to limit youth solitary “room confinement,” and to educate and mobilize our congregation, community, courts, and legislature until solitary confinement is ended. Please join us in spreading awareness about solitary confinement, and in working to end the use of solitary confinement in prisons, jails, detention centers, and youth facilities around the country.
Willow Katz is a member of the Social Action Committee of Temple Beth El/Jewish Community Center in Aptos, California and an activist with the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition in California and Together to End Solitary nationwide.