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Criminal justice reform on debate at Congregation Beth Israel course series

During a new program from Congregation Beth Israel and the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute, local residents will get an in-depth look at the United States Criminal Justice System by studying current laws and biblical laws, according to congregation Rabbi Levi Mentz.

Classes of the course will tackle topics like, “What's the purpose of prison: punishment, deterrence or rehabilitation?”, “What’s Judaism’s position on the death penalty?” and “Can criminals ever make amends, and if so, how?” and will draw from both “ancient Jewish sources” and contemporary materials, a release about the program states.

The release states that since the bipartisan “First Step Act” was signed into law by President Donald Trump, the debate behind prison and criminal justice reform has been brought into sharper focus. With this program, the release states that Congregation Beth Israel hopes to localize that debate in an enjoyable, educational environment.

“The debate over the First Step Act shows that Judaism’s timeless truths and insights about human nature, society and wrongdoing are as relevant today as ever before,” Rabbi Levi Mentz of Congregation Beth Israel said in the release. “(Rohr Jewish Learning Institute’s) Crime and Consequence course brings these important Jewish perspectives home to our own community.”

This class will be led and taught by Mentz, and as an added bonus, he said that attendance in the course can provide 9 hours of continuing education for lawyers.

Mentz said that the class will be held at the synagogue every Wednesday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., and will take place over a six week period.

This course is free and for adults only, more information and how to register can be found at