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  • Numbers, Wilderness, Sinai

    Torah Explorations

    “Matir Asurim Torah Explorations” is part of the new Divrei Matir Asurim: Matir Asurim Words/Matters publication, an experiment from Matir Asurim. The experiment begins with the Book of Numbers.

    Introduction: The Book of Numbers

    Bamidbar: In the Wilderness

    Naso: Take a Census, Lift Up

    Please read. Discuss. Share.

    For those who prefer formatted PDF or unformatted text to share, below are additional ways to access the same “Torah Explorations.”

    Shavuot Resources

    For the festival of Shavuot, (re-)explore the 5782 Shavuot mailing. Poems, essays, and other resources to help celebrate the giving of the Torah. Shavuot begins at nightfall on May 25 this year.

    Download from the resources page.

  • General Meeting, Team News, and more

    Matir Asurim is experimenting with expanding communications, to make our work and our hopes and our plans easier to access for all interested, and to make input from folks inside and outside easier to incorporate in our decision-making. This Late May edition of the brand new “Divrei Matir Asurim: Matir Asurim Words/Matters” includes summaries of recent general and team meetings. Also new as part of the communication experiment is “Matir Asurim Torah Explorations.”

    Please check out the new offerings and let us know what works, what more/different you’d like to see, and what you’d like to contribute yourself.

    Here is the first edition of Divrei Matir Asurim: Matir Asurim Words/Matters, on-line.

    Here is a formatted newsletter version (PDF) and an unformatted/text version.

  • Matir Asurim in Jewish Currents

    Matir Asurim was highlighted in a “Jewish Currents” publication earlier this year. Author Aviva Stahl notes lack of attention to “lived experience of incarcerated Jews…even within the most progressive Jewish communities.” She describes long-standing resources for (some) incarcerated Jews, adding that “queer and trans people or people of color…struggled to find any resources to support their religious life.” The article relates some individual experiences as well as the genesis of Matir Asurim and current initiatives:

    …a chaplaincy network that provides resources and support to incarcerated members, a pen pal program, a holiday mailer that includes contributions from incarcerated and non-incarcerated writers, and public education programming for people on the outside to learn more about abolitionism through a Jewish lens. The organization now sends out around 75 holiday mailers to incarcerated people across the US and Canada and has matched nearly 40 pairs of pen pals….

    Stahl, “Jewish Currents Thursday Newsletter, 2/23/23

    Stahl notes Shir Lovett-Graff’s view that “centering people who are incarcerated can change our perception of who is Jewish and who is interested in Judaism,” and cites Jessica Rosenberg suggesting that “these resources haven’t existed in the past in part because most white Jewish communities typically don’t see themselves as connected to the issue of incarceration.”

    Full story at Jewish Currents

    Image Description: “Thursday Newsletter 2/23/2023” over image of flying bird with “Matir Asurim” in Hebrew characters and “Jewish Care Network for Incarcerated People” in English.

    Image courtesy of Matir Asurim, as part of Jewish Currents report.

  • New Member Orientation – January 29th

    If you’re in creating Jewish communities across and beyond prison walls, resourcing and supporting incarcerated Jews, and organizing for a world without prisons, join Matir Asurim for a new member orientation, to find out about our work and organizing model, and how you can get involved.

    RSVP for Zoom Link

    We will have live captioning at this meeting. Please let us know any access needs, and we will do our best to meet them.

  • December Penpal Training

    Join Matir Asurim on Sunday December 11 at 5pm EST/2pm PST for a penpal training!

    This session will include information about our guiding principles, structure, and some reflection time on penpal relationships.

    Register Here

  • Jewish Traditions & Futures of Mutual Aid: A Conversation with Dean Spade and Dori Midnight — 11/20

    Jewish history and tradition is full of practices of mutual aid that sustained our ancestors, and must be part of our work to transform the world and towards abolition. Join Dean Spade and Dori Midnight in conversation about ritual and magic, collective care and mutual aid organizing, where our ancestors have been and how their wisdom can propel us into a world without walls.

  • Rosh Hashanah Letter-Writing – Sept. 18th 2022

    Join Matir Asurim to wish our members on the inside a sweet new year! Sunday, Sept. 18th at 5pm EST

    Registration Link:

  • June Penpal Training – 6/26 – 10-11:30AM PDT

    We are holding our next penpal training and introduction to our penpal programwhich connects penpals from the outside (non-incarcerated) with folks on the inside (incarcerated). The training will include info about our guiding principles, structure, logistics, and some reflection time on penpal relationships.

    This session will be on Sunday June 26th from 10-11:30 PDT / 1-2:30 ET

    Register Here

    Current penpals are also invited to lead a ritual, opening, or song, or sharing about their experience being a penpal during this meeting. If interested, please email us by Tuesday June 21st.

  • Introductions to Abolition with Matir Asurim – 6/5/22 – 12:00PM EDT

    This Shavuot, join organizers, volunteers, and supporters of Matir Asurim: Jewish Care Network for Incarcerated People, as we deepen our learning about abolition.

    Together with Enzi Tanner and Alona Weimer, we will explore the basics of abolition, engage questions like what does abolition mean to us, and discuss how we can connect our abolition with our Jewishness, spirituality, tradition and culture.