Friday, June 26, 2009

Jury Duty: Never Again! (Part 3)

Both sides rested their cases shortly before noon today. The judge needs to talk over some things with the lawyers, and he wants us to be fresh before before they give their closing arguments, he charges the jury, and the jury begins deliberation, so he has sent us home for the weekend. So I can forget about the trial until then.


On Wednesday I had wondered, as the tipstaffs were shepherding (they are nice, well-intentioned people, so I won't say just "herded") us around, I wondered how much different it felt for the Jews to be (shep)herded to the "labor" camps or the Japanese in the US to their "internment centers." Obviously, my fate is not to be compared to theirs, but I had no more choice about being where I was then they had about being where they were.

As we were sitting in the courtroom waiting for the jury to be chosen and I was trying to make the best of the situation, the old post-Holocaust cry "Never again!" came to mind. It occurred to me that I didn't know how to say that in Hebrew. I realized I could probably find the phrase in Genesis, where God says he will "never again" destroy the earth with a flood, but I wanted to know then. So I looked around: who looked Jewish? One of the lady tipstaffs had a dark complexion and black hair, but the hair was obviously a miracle of modern chemistry, so I was only half inclined to see if she could help me. Not a minute later, juror number 35, a fair, sixty-something lady, asked me to explain one of the answers I had given to a general question asked earlier. We talked for a while about geography and languages, and she told me she was from Argentina, which surprised me because I'd pegged her accent for Eastern Europe. However, I realized I'd found my ... prey? ... when she said she knew Yiddish.

"How's your Hebrew?" I asked.


You got that right, Lady! "So how do you say 'never again' in Hebrew?"

It doesn't sound the way I would expect it to only having seen it written, but she eventually got it into my brain: Le`olam lo'!

Any system that steals property (taxes) and time ("civic duty") from people before doing anything good is fundamentally unjust, and no "justice" it administers can make up for that evil. I don't know how I'll avoid being part of the injustice next time, and I write this blog to do my part to see that the system is brought down, but God helping me, jury duty, le `olam lo'!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 4

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