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May 8, 2013


Ministering to the Spiritual Needs of Jewish Inmates and their Families

(Newark, NJ) – During its Tuesday, May 7, 2013, meeting at the Hall of Records, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders honored and thanked Rabbi Isaac Frankel for his efforts to minister to the spiritual needs of Jewish inmates at the Essex County Correctional Facility (ECCF) in Newark in his role as Jewish Chaplain.  The Board’s Commendation was sponsored and presented by Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold of Livingston and Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley of Irvington.

Rabbi Isaac Frankel (center), the Jewish Chaplain at the Essex County Correctional Facility was presented with a Commendation by Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold of Livingston and Freeholder D. Bilal Beasley of Irvington for his efforts to serve Jewish inmates.   Photo by Glen Frieson

Freeholder Vice President Sebold opened the program by saying how delighted she and Freeholder Beasley were, “to honor you for the absolutely wonderful job you are doing as the Jewish Chaplain at the Essex County Correctional Facility”, and thanked him for the compassionate manner in which he has gone to great lengths to help Jewish inmates maintain their relationship with their religion under difficult circumstances.

“It is certainly an honor to recognize good works like yours”, said Freeholder Beasley, who also serves as Municipal Council President in the Township of Irvington.  “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Isaac for 8-10 years in an entirely different context through his business dealings and membership in the Irvington Chamber Commerce, where he has displayed the same caring demeanor.”

Rabbi Frankel has served as Jewish Chaplain at the county jail in Newark for the last three years, and in that role has worked closely with the facility’s administrators to assist them in understanding the complexities of the Jewish faith as it relates to the daily lives of Jewish inmates.  He has assisted the Administration with regard to kosher food restrictions, which not only require proper certification, but also proper utensils for preparation; was instrumental in securing permission for Jewish male inmates to pray with the Teffilin each morning; and highlighted the significance of lighting a candle menorah for the Chanukah Holiday, thereby making the ECCF the first jail in NJ to allow a candle-lit menorah.  He has also facilitated the provision of special holiday meals to Jewish inmates through private donations, at no cost to the County, which has enhanced the holiday spirit in the jail.

Rabbi Frankel visits Jewish inmates on a weekly basis to lend a listening ear, to reassure the inmates’ families, and to discuss the weekly Torah reading, among so many other counseling efforts, always finding a way to work within the confines of security requirements to help the inmates maintain their relationship to their Jewish faith.  He has also served as Chaplain for the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office for the past six years, and a volunteer Chaplain for the Newark Police Department for the past three years.

Rabbi Isaac Frankel was raised in Rockland County, New York, where he attended both Yeshiva Grade School and Yeshiva High School.  He is the son and grandson of Hebrew teachers, and has been Certified as a Rabbi by the Mesivta Keser Torah of Central Jersey.  He resides in Wesley Hills, New York, with his wife, Esther.


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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders




Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695