When Hurricane Florence blasted its way through North Carolina recently you’d have been forgiven for expecting that there would be an equal response from the local and federal authorities to the needs of those affected. Through the boasting of Shira Feder at the Jewish Daily Forward however I realized that this was not in fact the case. (1)

She cites an article at TMZ which states that recently released federal documents show that the local and federal authorities ‘spent $21,799 on kosher items, with the holiest Jewish holiday coming up – which begins sundown Tuesday with a breakfast Wednesday at sundown.

Jewish prisoners in all facilities around the country will have access to kosher food, but the $21,799 is specifically earmarked for prisons in the path of Florence. The figure represents food already purchased for the hurricane-affected areas, especially in case markets are shut down before Yom Kippur hits.’ (2)

This sounds fair enough until you realize that only 1.7 percent of North Carolina’s prison population are estimated to be jewish. (3) As there are estimated to be 149,300 prisoners in North Carolina penitentiaries at present. (4) There are likely some 2,538 jews within this figure.

This means that local and federal authorities spent $8.59 per jewish prisoner for one day – even if it is a ‘celebration’ - when on average it only takes a couple of cents to feed non-jewish prisoners for a day. (5)

To put that more in perspective; local and federal authorities spent ‘$8,650 for Dasani bottled water and $4,269 for 40 basic portable restrooms … all for prisoners in the event damage from Hurricane Florence disables restrooms.’ (6)

So these authorities spent $12,919 in total on ensuring that 149,300 inmates had basic sanitation, which comes out at as a cost of $0.09 per inmate. Compared to $8.59 per inmate for 2,538 jews to celebrate Yom Kippur with a cost almost double ($21,799) what they spent on basic sanitation.

In other words the local and federal authorities spent $0.09 per prisoner on ensuring they had basic sanitation but dropped $8.59 per jewish prisoner so they could have special kosher food on one day of the year.

That rather shows what where the authorities’ real priorities lay: don’t you think?


  1. https://forward.com/food/410442/the-feds-are-spending-21-799-on-yom-kippur-meals-for-jewish-inmates/
  2. http://www.tmz.com/2018/09/16/federal-prisons-prepping-hurricane-florence-yom-kippur/
  3. https://www.statista.com/statistics/234653/religious-affiliation-of-us-prisoners/
  4. Mary Cowhig, Danielle Kaeble, ‘Correctional Populations in the United States, 2016’ , April 2018, NCJ 251211, p. 11
  5. See my article: http://semiticcontroversies.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-cost-of-kosher-food-to-us.html
  6. http://www.tmz.com/2018/09/16/federal-prisons-prepping-hurricane-florence-yom-kippur/