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Shelly Ginsberg is a former Jewish inmate in Litchfield Penitentiary who helps Black Cindy converting to Judaism in Season Three. She is portrayed by Jamie Denbo.


Ginsberg is a creative woman, spending her free time making carved soaps which she thinks are "beautiful". She also has a dislike for the Polish. She is also one to make a joke and is quite sarcastic.

Physical Appearance[]

Ginsberg is an early-middle-aged woman with blue eyes and long blond hair that she casually wears in a plait.

Cindy states that her outward appearance is "uncommon for Jewish people".


Before Litchfield[]

It is known before Ginsberg started her sentence, she was arrested for money laundering.

Season Two[]

Ginsberg is seen in a bathroom row while Brook Soso refuses to take a shower ("Appropriately Sized Pots")

Season Three[]

As more and more inmates start to eat kosher in Season 3, a rabbi named Rabbi Alan "Elijah" Tatelbaum visits Litchfield to check their Jewish faith. After Black Cindy fails to convince the rabbi, she starts looking for other Jewish inmates intending to learn from them. In this manner, she also gets involved with Ginsberg, whose Hebrew name is Shayna Malka, having had her Bat Mitzvah at Temple Beth in Israel ("A Tittin' and a Hairin'").

Afterwards she and and another Jewish inmate called Boyle help her out studying and arguing with her, but also with finding the Hebrew name Tova (meaning "good") for Cindy.

When Cindy later has her second talk with the rabbi, Ginsberg realizes that she knows him as Alan Tatelbaum, as she had studied with his cousin. She also knows some very inappropiate stories about him, which she attempts to use against him. He now is more willing to listen to Cindy, and Ginsberg confirms that Cindy has tried very hard to learn about Judaism, at which the rabbi finally gives his "yes", as well as Ginsberg and Boyle.

At the end of the season, Cindy has her Mikwah in the Lake behind Litchfield, being immersed by Ginsberg ("Trust No Bitch").

Season Four[]

Although not seen, sometime in the season four, Piscatella confiscates Ginsberg's soap handicrafts.

Season Five[]

Ginsberg has the same idea as Red and breaks into Piscatella's office to retrieve some of her confiscated items. Red almost bludgeons Ginsberg with a trophy before stopping her. Ginsberg asks what he took from Red, she says he took her humanity and dignity. A little embarrassed, Ginsberg reveals he took her carved soaps. Red gets tired of holding the statue and allows her in. Ginsberg asks Red what else to look for. She eventually finds her soaps. She also finds a large binder of Piscaltella's decorative tables. Later on, Daya walks in on Ginsberg and Red looking through the binder. She asks if the phone works but is ignored. Daya tells Red and Ginsberg to leave, but Red refuses, she ends up pulling the gun out on Red and agrees to leave so long as she can keep the binder and Ginsberg the soaps. The two leave together. ("Riot FOMO")

While giving out ideas for demands, Angie suggests pizza for lunch every day. Ginsberg points out the hilarity in that and suggests Angie just ask for the moon. ("Pissters!")

Two days later, during the storm, Ginsberg, Boyle, Hapakuka and Lea Guerrera are found in the chapel with Gerrman behind them in a chair. They attempt peaceful resistance but are forced out anyway. Ginsburg is last seen getting on a bus, trying to reassure Lorna Morello. ("Storm-y Weather")

Ginsberg is not seen in subsequent seasons, and she was probably transferred to FDC Cleveland.



  • Black Cindy (friend) - When Cindy attempts to convert to Judaism, she requests the help of Jewish inmate Ginsberg. When Cindy is accepted into the religion, Ginsberg tells Cindy she needs a Mikwah in a pool of natural water. When the inmates escape to the lake, Ginsberg herself performs it.
  • Rhea Boyle (friend) - Ginsberg and Boyle are shown to be good friend after Cindy requests their help to convert.
  • Galina "Red" Reznikov (friend) - Ginsberg and Red both raid Piscatella's office together and laugh at his decorative table hobbies.
  • Stephanie Hapakuka (friend) - Ginsberg and Hapakuka are shown to be close when they peacefully resist being taken away during the storm.


  • Desi Piscatella (disliked) - Ginsberg shows dislike for Piscatella when he confiscates her handicrafts made of soap.

Memorable Quotes[]

"When spider-webs unite they can tie up a lion."
— Ginsberg to Red ("Riot FOMO")


  • Jamie Denbo is credited in the episode "We Can Be Heroes", but she does not appear.



Inmate Navigation
Maximum Security Galina Reznikov  •  Lorna Morello  •  Tasha Jefferson  •  Nicky Nichols  •  Frieda Berlin  •  Irene Cabrera  •  Marisol Gonzales  •  Dayanara Diaz  •  Rosalie Deitland  •  Antoinetta Kerson   •  Annalisa Damiva  •  Raquel Munoz  •  Tina Swope  •  Alana Dwight  •  Nicole Eckelcamp  •  Beth Hoefler  •  Maria Ruiz  •  Suzanne Warren  •  Adeola Chinede  •  Charlene Teng  •  Lolly Whitehill  •  Shruti Chambal  •  Elsie  •  Cathy  •  Marie Brock  •  Gail Abbot  •  Silka Webb  •  Aimee Sandoval  •  Amy Roth  •  Kelly Lee Glenna  •  Calloway  •  Claire St. John  •  Mandy Walsh Baker  •  Sally Jo  •  Juanita Vazquez  •  Crystal Tawney  •  Gladys Watkins  •  The Brown Twins  •  Alice Hutton  •  Claudette Pelage  •  Erica Taslitz  •  Aleida Diaz  •  Tali Grapes
FDC Cleveland Alex Vause  •  Carrie Black  •  Carmen Aziza  •  Helen Van Maele  •  Erica Jones  •  Leanne Taylor  •  Angie Rice  •  Janae Watson  •  Alison Abdullah  •  Kasey Sankey  •  Brook Soso  •  Anita DeMarco  •  Gina Murphy  •  Norma Romano
Metropolitan Detention Center Corrine Hill  •  Joyce  •  Felicia  •  Araceli  •  Darius McRae  •  Mazall
Unknown prison Michelle Carreras  •  Brandy Epps  •  Jennifer Digori  •  Stephanie Hapakuka  •  Rhea Boyle  •  Shelly Ginsberg  •  Lea Guerrera  •  Randolita  •  Reema Pell  •  Jeanie Babson  •  Jayne Cooke  •  Emily Germann  •  Ramona Contreras  •  Irene Rosario   •  White Cindy   •  Voth   •  Annette   •  Danita   •  Madison Murphy
Last seen in Minimum Security Irma Lerman  •  Annie Valdez  •  Loretta Fisher
Released inmates Piper Chapman  •  Stella Carlin  •  Mercy Valduto  •  Sara Rice  •  Linda Ferguson  •  Sophia Burset  •  Jane Ingalls  •  Jimmy Cavanaugh  •  Judy King  •  George Mendez  •  Cesar Velazquez  •  Cindy Hayes  •  Gloria Mendoza  •  Blanca Flores
Deceased inmates Poussey Washington  •  Yvonne Parker  •  Tricia Miller  •  Maureen Kukudio  •  Carol Denning  •  Barbara Denning  •  Rosa Cisneros  •  Dominga Duarte  •  Tiffany Doggett
Deported inmates Maritza Ramos  •  Karla Córdova  •  Shani Abboud  •  Swapna Majumdar  •  Dario Zuniga
ICE inmates Santos Chaj  •  Mei Chang  •  Efua Onagbeboma