– Aleph's History –


The Aleph Institute was started as a way to bring together Jews scattered across the country from many different aspects of life. Aleph worked to allow any Jew, no matter their belief, the ability to spiritual, educational, religious, and advocacy access.

Beginning in the 1980’s, the U.S. prison system began to grow exponentially, which as a consequence scattered and separated the already minute numbers of incarcerated Jews, and thus left many to slip through the cracks of most chaplaincy services. Many prisons did not provide Kosher meals or were unfamiliar with the needs for basic Jewish practices. Incarcerated men and women, along with their families, now had an organization who will listen and fight for their rights.

In 1991,  Rabbi Moishe Mayir Vogel, opened the Aleph Institute North East Region in Pittsburgh. For years, Rabbi Vogel worked to build the connection between Rabbis, inmates, chaplains, and state officials. As the numbers of the Jewish men and women incarcerated increased, the demand for programs and services grew. The institute eventually out grew its original office and there became a need for a brick and mortar establishment. In 2005, the Institute purchased a facility in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Jewish community, Squirrel Hill, where it continues to provide essential programs for the men and women incarcerated and their families on the outside.  

Today, the Aleph Institute has evolved into the nation's most trusted and effective advocate for Jewish prisoners and their loved ones. Aleph’s programs have been implemented in dozens of regional, state and federal correctional facilities, and its staff and personnel have gained the endorsement of a skeptical prison system, thereby according the organization with a unique level of confidence and responsibility.  

If you know of someone in prison or a family of an inmate who needs help, please do not hesitate to call the Aleph Office. We stand with our motto...

"No One Alone, No One Forgotten" 


Read more in the 2017 Annual Report.