Friday, June 01, 2007

Jury Duty-It's Your Duty

I was summoned to Jury Duty early this year. They said that students should postpone to when they don't have school. I did that.

I showed up, sat in that huge room until 3:30 when my name was called. Then I was there till 5, and returned another day.

When I informed people of my day's plan, inevitably, the question was, "Why didn't you get out of it?"

Why not? Why SHOULD I??
I am an American citizen. As cheesy as it sounds, it's my "civic duty." Obviously the way the government is run is often irrational and unfair (traffic court, anyone?), but I think as Jews, this is an opportunity for us to show that we're not a bunch of leeches.

We already have a reputation, unfortunately, for always trying to get out of things, and whether it's true or not, many feel that Orthodox Jews get preferential treatment. No comment on that.

As a single young woman with no children and no executive position, I felt I had no valid excuse not to go. No lying, cheating, or stealing. So you take the freakin' train and sit there for a few hours, or perhaps a few days. I was there a little over a day and a half this week. And I'm still here, see?

Why are you any better than everyone else who actually shows up??? You were smart enough to con the government?

I caught up on my reading, watched NY1 until I knew all the footage by heart, and did some SuDoKu. Sure, I was bored. Tough luck. That's life.


But guess what? A little Hakoras HaTov to the American government for allowing us Jews to live here and practice our religion openly is in order.

Remember, this is NOT our country. Stop acting like you own it. This is our Galus-home. Make a Kiddush Hashem.

Please, do what you're asked, and don't perpetuate the Chillul Hashem of evading the law.

22 Comments:

At 6/01/2007 3:38 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

Michelle,

I was right with you on the civic duty stuff until you hit the "this is NOT our country" bit.

It is as much our country as any other American citizen. And with that fact comes certain duties as well as privileges. It is _because_ some Jews don't see America as their country that they don't care about civic duty.

 
At 6/02/2007 6:43 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Orthoprax-- Yeah. I actually thought of that aspect- that the people who don't consider it their country won't want to serve. Yeah, maybe I should fix that. Thanks for pointing that out.

 
At 6/02/2007 7:32 PM, Anonymous blogobsessed said...

right on

 
At 6/02/2007 8:51 PM, Blogger Dofan Akuma said...

good for you, thanks for representin'

 
At 6/03/2007 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the truth is we as jews dont have to view this country as our country in order to feel a duty to serve as a juror. we are in a malchus shel chessed who affords us every opportunity to serve hashem and along with this chessed comes some things they ask of us included in that is jury duty

 
At 6/04/2007 6:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

michelle-why must we make this into an issue of chillul H-shem? You and I both know that at jury duty, you'll only find a bunch of lowlives. You don't see too many high powered businessmen or doctors or lawyers...why not? nothing to do with their religion. it's like they say - juries consist of 12 people who were too stupid to get out of jury duty (or so broke or jobless that they wanted the $40 bucks a day or really really bored). In any case, a lot of people shirk their duties as jurors-don't make it into an issue with jews alone cuz its not.

 
At 6/04/2007 8:20 AM, Blogger SaraK said...

As a single young woman with no children and no executive position, I felt I had no valid excuse not to go

I have always felt the same way.

 
At 6/04/2007 12:13 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

anon- 6:17--
You're the person I'm writing about. The person who thinks s/he is too good to serve his/her country.
Attorneys generally can't serve anyway since they'd probably be biased, and many doctors are needed on call.

I was NOT too stupid to get out of it. I knew exactly what I could have said to get out. I CHOSE not to.

Talk to Dofan Akuma- s/he seems to have the right attitude.

 
At 6/04/2007 7:28 PM, Blogger LakewoodShmuck said...

most defense lawyers WANT dumb jurors . . .

 
At 6/05/2007 6:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually michelle-it's anon here-i served my jury duty without even postponing it once. i'm not condoning the people who try to get out of it-i'm just saying that it's not something limited to orthodox jews, so why focus on it and make it into a chillul H-shem which I don't think it is, seeing as it's quite equally distributed among the population (in fact, surprisingly, when I served, i didn't meet Barbara Streisand, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts or any other celebrity NYC inhabitant)

 
At 6/05/2007 10:21 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

anon-sorry for the misunderstanding.
It's not safe for celebs to go to jury duty, besides, Julia has her twins anyway.

 
At 6/05/2007 12:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so basically michelle-you can find excuses for anyone and everyone to get out of jury duty besides your fellow jews-that's nice...

 
At 6/06/2007 6:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey,

I did Jury duty last year in the summer in Downtown Brooklyn. Do they still have the "computer room" with people hogging the computers for hours at at a time? And the line for the toilets...

 
At 6/07/2007 2:21 AM, Anonymous Lvnsm said...

I also have no excuse and so I have to go this month, eventhough I don't enjoy sitting there doing nothing. On the bright side I have a book to read

 
At 6/07/2007 10:37 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Actually when I went, they had just renovated the room two weeks before, and it was beautiful. I was shocked at how nice it was, and then the guy announced that it was recently renovated. No crazy lines for the bathroom...but maybe at the lunch break. They didn't have a computer, just a row in the back of the big room, and another row in the smaller room. Nobody hogged it, but when I appraoched the computers, there was one with a "Questions about Judaism" site left on, with nobody around. I wonder if it was a Kiruv attempt. But then it disappeared, because the computer exits all websites once they're idle for 5 minutes. But anyway.

No, I didn't find excuses for EVERYONE but frum jews. There frum people who are lawyer/doctors.There are also plenty of frum people who can just go. And, obviously, the many frum women who Baruch Hashem are busy with children obviously have an excuse not to go. So I don't get what you're trying to prove.

 
At 6/07/2007 11:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All i'm trying to prove is that this phenomenon, correct or not, is not limited to jews AT ALL. why must you make it into a chillul H-shem issue when it is entirely not related to religion? lots and lots and lots and lots of people get out of jury duty. You had no issue with the doctors, lawyers, or celebrities who don't perform their civic duties-why be so negative about your fellow jews?

 
At 6/07/2007 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon-

michelle is not making an issue of it. others have already made an issue of it and michelle is addressing that issue by informing her readers that WHETHER OR NOT this phenomenon is particular to the frum Jewish community, our lack of participation causes a chillul Hashem.

 
At 6/08/2007 12:23 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Anon 1:13- thanks for clarifying.

And if I might the classic expression heard in Bais Yaakovs and Yeshivas around the world, "We are supposed to be better...we are held to a higher standard..."

There are many, many people in prison for white-collar crimes. You're telling me that it doesn't bother you more to hear about another frum jew being locked up than anyone else?

 
At 6/12/2007 10:24 AM, Anonymous Chani said...

I think this issue should be clarified a little. Every U.S. citizen gets called for jury duty every few years. This is his civic duty. Most people do not share the positive attitude that Michelle has towards jury duty. Most people, like myself, feel that it is a waste of their time. There are 2 ways of dealing with this attitude. Some people, Jews & non-Jews, lie & concoct stories to get themselves out of having to serve. Other people, also presumably Jews & non-Jews, tell the truth-about having young children to watch or about having uncles who are lawyers or about having been involved in a car accident in the past...There's nothing wrong with answering questions posed by the lawyers truthfully if this will result in your being disqualified from serving. Most people don't get fuzzy, warm feelings about jury duty. The difference lies in how people deal with it-completely lying to get off, telling the truth to get off, or just sitting there quietly & either getting called on or not getting called on.

 
At 6/13/2007 5:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

12 days since your last post? C'mon, Michelle!

 
At 6/13/2007 6:58 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

anon 5:29--I appreciate your enthusiasm! Hopefully you'll have a new one by tonight. Glad to know I'm missed :-)
Sorry for the delay, y'all.

 
At 7/09/2007 1:29 AM, Anonymous JimmyJustice said...

whats brown and soggy and sits on a court bench? Jury doody.

 

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