Fort Dix, N.J.: Juda Mintz may look like an ordinary guy (middle aged, medium height, with a comb-over and thick glasses) yet there is something about the Modern Orthodox rabbi that makes him stand out among the 4,500 inmates at the Fort Dix Correctional Institution, a federal prison in southwestern New Jersey.
Under the glaring fluorescent lights of the large cinder-block walled prison visiting room, Rabbi Mintz walks calmly over to greet a visitor. He is dressed in the same beige work-shirt and pants that every inmate wears from the day he arrives until the day he is freed.
In a Trenton, N.J., courtroom last week, Rabbi Juda Mintz, a charismatic Orthodox champion of Jewish pluralism, stood before a federal judge, his fate in the balance. He faced Federal District Court Judge Mary Cooper, charged with downloading child pornography onto his synagogue computer. The rabbi and his followers hoped the judge would allow him to serve his time at the Los Angeles residential Jewish addiction center he moved to a year ago.