Monday, March 26, 2007

What about Passover?

During the jury selection process, we were all given a chance to tell the judge, privately, if there was a reason we couldn't serve for the full six weeks. Since Passover falls right in the middle of that time, I could used it as an excuse--or at least attempted it. I could have told the judge I needed to take a few days off and go to New Jersey to see my family who would be visiting from Israel.

I didn't.

I thought about it, but it's not a religious reason. I'm not very religious. The family coming from Israel is more of a reason, but even if I missed Passover, I could still go up to New Jersey for a weekend. Or, if I felt extremely guilty, two weekends.

I didn't think Passover was a good excuse, so I didn't make it. And, I guess, I wanted to be on the jury. Would I have picked a one-, two- or even three-week case over one that might last six? Hell yes. But was I curious to see what this six-week case was all about? You bet I was. I've always wanted to be on a trial and I wanted to take the chance.

Did my desire to serve trump my desire to go to New Jersey for Passover? I suppose so. I know I didn't really want to go to New Jersey and I did want to get on the jury. Huh. I've been convincing myself that I didn't have a choice. Maybe I did--maybe I didn't, but I didn't try very hard to get out of it.

However, all is not lost. Last week, the judge told us (the jurors) that we would get off for Good Friday and Easter Monday. I said, "What about Passover?" The judge asked me when Passover was and said he'd get back to us. He added, "We may take Passover Monday, but not take Good Friday--and still take Easter. One of the lawyers was asking for Passover too." A Jewish lawyer? What are the odds.

A couple of days later, the clerk asked to speak to me alone during our morning break. He wanted the details about Passover. I neglected to mention the Israel portion of the dilemma, but I explained that I had to travel to New Jersey. I should have mentioned the Israelis. It's not going to get me kicked off the jury and it would have increased the odds of making the trip. Not sure why I didn't tell. Nerves, I guess. And, trying not to inconvenience everyone. Because if I get Monday for Passover, we may lose Good Friday.

On Monday, there was a good bit of discussion amongst the jurors about which days we would get off. And I almost got into a fight with Confused Juror #1 (CJ1) about it. I was asked if I was getting Passover off. I said I didn't know yet. CJ1 said, "Would we still get Good Friday off?"

I repeated what the judge told us earlier, that we probably wouldn't get Good Friday, but we would get Easter Monday. A couple of the other jurors confirmed this. CJ1 said, "Oh, but Good Friday is more important."

I said, "If it's important to you, you should tell the judge."

There was general conversation about the significance of Good Friday, the need to attend church, etc. And one of the more savvy, older jurors said, "Don't worry. Good Friday isn't important."

CJ1 came up to me and said, "Well! I don't think Passover is important!"

I was infuriated. I said, "It IS important. My family is coming from Israel and they'll be in New Jersey and they want me to come." Not to mention that Passover is a very important holiday for religious Jews and a relatively important holiday for me.

"Don't get riled! You just said Good Friday isn't important."

I said, "No, I did not. Absolutely not. I said, 'If Good Friday is important to you, you should tell the judge.'"

"It is important if your family is coming from Israel."

Gee, thanks for that, CJ1.

In the end, it all worked out. I got the time I needed for a short trip to New Jersey AND we're getting Good Friday and half of Easter Monday off. Everyone wins. And CJ1 continues to annoy.

Grateful for: a good judge.

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