Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Bad News Jews - The People’s Court

A very disturbing YouTube video has just been forwarded to me. It is disturbing because it shows a Chilul HaShem made by a religious couple who appeared on the TV show, The People’s Court.

The People’s Court is a show that has actual legal civil cases presented to a judge. Although not an actual court the parties to the lawsuit sign an arbitration agreement that states they will abide by that judge’s decision. So the outcome is the same as a real court.

What at first looked like it was going to be a cute and kind of funny presentation – turned into a nightmarish Chilul HaShem. It involved as plaintiffs - a young Charedi couple suing their dry cleaners for ruining a Shaitel (wig).

The women speculated that her young child put one of her Shaitels in a laundary bag to be sent to the cleaners to be washed. When an employee discovered the Shaitel, she called and asked what to do. Not speaking English very well - there was a mix-up in the communication and somehow the Shaitel was washed in detergent along with the rest of her clothes.

Obvioulsy the Shaitel was ruined. The Charedi couple was suing for the value of the wig which they said was $3000 dollars.

The case started off innocently enough. The non-Jewish judge was all smiles and respectful of the explanation the woman gave of why in Judaism religious married women wear wigs. While there some issues that were lacking in the Charedi couples case, it looked like it was pretty much going to go their way. Or at least not in an embarrassing way - if the judgment went against the couple. After all it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that one does not wash a wig with detergent in a washing machine full of clothes.

But then the unthinkable happened. This couple were caught in a lie and by the end of the case a major Chilul HaShem took place.

The Charedi couple had claimed that they purchased the wig for $3000 from a religious distributor called ‘Georgies’. They presented an invoice showing the amount paid. However during a short recess the judge phoned the shop and found out that the purchase was not for the ruined Shaitel but for the one the plaintiff was wearing on her head! The description of the Shaitel that was purchased matched that and not the ruined one they were claiming damages for!

In other words the ruined wig could have been a cheap old one that was inadvertently placed in there by the child or perhaps a even on purpose by the plaintiff as a premeditated attempt defraud the owners of the dry-cleaning store! The damaged wig could have been worthless from the start.

By the end of this case the judge was no longer laughing along with them. Instead she was pretty angry and upset! Judgment was for the defendant. An attempt to interview the couple afterward by a ‘reporter’ was met with a ‘No comment’ attitude.

This is an unbelievable Chilul HaShem. There is no way anyone can justify what they did. Even if the ruined wig was worth the $3000 they were asking, they used fraudulent documentation to ‘prove’ the value. And that’s the best case scenario. My guess is they took advantage of an old wig that inadvertently got mixed in with their laundry. They saw an opportunity for a quick buck and they tried to pull off a $3000 fraud. The exposure of this fraudulent couple was in front of millions of people who watch this program. The damage done by them people is enormous!

I thought from the very beginning… Why does a Frum couple want to go on national television to settle a lawsuit? What did they gain by this? But.. I gave them the benefit f the doubt. It might be human nature to want that ’15 minutes of fame’. So I let it pass and continued watching. But by the end I wanted to throw up!

I can just see the thinking: ‘What does the dumb Shiksa sitting on the bench know?’ ‘We can easily snow-job her.’ ‘And those foreign born dry cleaners?’ ‘What a bunch of rubes!’ ‘This’ll be the easiest $3000 dollars we’ll ever make!’ ‘Besides – they're all Goyim; it’s a Mitzvah to steal from them!’

Well the ‘Shiksa’ wasn’t so dumb, was she? It was the couple that was dumb. Criminally dumb! That was not the easiest $3000 dollars they ever made. The only thing they made was a Chilul HaShem. A huge one! They made zero dollars.

But even if they are innocent of that and really did have one of her expensive wigs ruined - the Chilul HaShem is still there. There was definitely a fraud at some level. They lied and that makes all of their testimony suspect.

The judge’s attitude towards this Frum couple reflected the best of America. It is exactly the way I describe the feeling of most Americans towards religious Jews. You could see the respectful and friendly tone she had with them. They see a religious Jew and think, ‘What fine people they are’. She saw a very religious looking Jewish couple whose property was damaged - seeking redress from the ‘legal’ system.

But by the end of the case, you could see the disappointment and disgust on the judge’s face. This couple has succeeded in planting yet another seed of anti-Semitism into society with their shenanigans.

My hope is that this good judge does not carry that image of the Jewish people with her and realizes that we are not like that. …that we do have our bad apples just like anyone else …and that these are two of them. My sense of her is that she does realize that. But what about the millions of people who watched this case in TV? What is their ‘take away’?

I do not envy this couple’s Olam HaBah. I do not even see how they can do Teshuva for a Chilul HaShem like this perpetrated in front of so many people. Numbers that will surely increase due to the upload on YouTube. The damage is immeasurable! I am embarrassed and disgusted! Watch it and weep!