Passage of The First Step Act – First Step Towards Pidyon Shevuyim

The First Step Act was recently signed into law by President Trump after passing Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority.

The new law reduces draconian sentences mandated by previous law for some nonviolent offenders and encourages rehabilitation programs in prison. These provisions will shave years off the time spent in prison of those unfortunate Yidden caught up in a heretofore uncompromising criminal justice system.

The new law is expected to reduce the crime rate and recidivism; save taxpayer money; and mitigate some of greatest injustices of our current criminal justice system. The road to bring this bill to fruition was a 10-year effort on the part of many organizations, including a group of dedicated national Askanim who undertook this Mitzvah of Pidyon Shevuyim with relentless passion and drive to see it through successfully.

Rabbi Moshe Zev Weisberg of The Lakewood Vaad issued the following statement: “On behalf of the Lakewood Kehillah, we would like to thank President Trump, Senator Cory Booker, Senator Bob Menendez, Congressman Chris Smith and other members of the New Jersey delegation who heeded the call of Askanim and supported this historic legislation. The Vaadutilized its many relationships on Capitol Hill to bolster support for criminal justice reform, in coordination with various national Jewish community organizations. The Vaad extends a special thank you to Senator Cory Booker for his pivotal leadership role in the effort.

“We greatly value the rule of law but also the need to fine-tune the system for true justice and fairness. Where appropriate, and without increasing the threat of violence in society, this law will turn ex-criminals into law abiding, productive citizens. We thank our friends in the House and Senate for doing the right thing and congratulate the activists and organizations who never gave up in their pursuit of a more just and compassionate system.”

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