By Phyllis J. Lubin

“Do you have your driver’s license now, sir?” asked the prosecutor in a gentle voice.

“I didn’t have my license with me when I received the ticket because I rushed out of the house and didn’t have my wallet with me,” explained the frazzled man.

“Sir, do you have your driver’s license with you now?”

“I was in a hurry because I had to take my daughter to the doctor–she had fever,” the frazzled man explained once again.

“I feel for you sir, and I hope she is feeling better now, but please answer my question: do you have your driver’s license with you now?” Now the prosecutor’s voice was getting a bit sterner.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t have it with me. I was in a big hurry,” was the nervous, almost-in-tears response.

“Are you even listening to my question? I don’t want to know why you didn’t have it with you then. I want to know whether you have it with you now!” Now the prosecutor was losing her patience.

“Today? Now?”

“Yes, right now. At this moment in time.”

“Yes! I have it with me now. It’s right here in my wallet!” The worried look was replaced with a huge smile.

In case you weren’t sure what I was relaying above, I am back at traffic court. This particular court is at 16 Cooper Street in Hempstead. To me this is a place to come and enjoy the chatter of the not-so-private pre-trial discussions of the prosecutors with the defendants when the defendants have already pled not guilty to the violation of which they have been accused. I find this part of my job particularly entertaining.

Next eavesdropped conversation:

“You have been accused of going through a stop sign. I can reduce that to a jay-walking violation,” the prosecutor explained to the young man of about 18 years old, clad in a suit and tie.

“Will this hurt my son’s future?” asked the young man’s father.

“I don’t know, sir. I don’t know what your son’s future is going to hold.”

“But will this hurt his chances of getting a job?”

“I can’t tell you that, sir. I don’t know what you want me to tell you. I’ll just mark this over for trial.”

“You mean you won’t let me just pay the ticket?”

“You were worried about accepting the offer. Our conversation is over, sir. Please step away from the podium.”

I can’t understand why people don’t just sit here all day. It is truly distracting, but in a good way. I can take a step back from the stress of my everyday worries and almost mindlessly listen to the amusing tales of “woe” from these people who want to get out of paying their tickets.

As I was driving over to court today, I was able to connect with Rivka who is doing an internship in Kiryat Hayovel, Jerusalem this summer. The relatively tranquil time Rivka was enjoying, which she reported to you in this very column, has been replaced by frequent sounds of sirens and visits to the bomb shelter.

What should we do? What should she do? Do we insist that she come home? My brother lives in Israel with his wife and seven children. What should they do?

“Is anyone considering coming home?” is the question we have repeatedly asked Rivka.

“No one is leaving. We are all staying.”

I am so proud of Rivka’s fortitude. I don’t know what I would do in her stead.

Life in Israel goes on as it always has. People still go about their lives as before–as they always have in a country that has been vexed with military troubles since its inception.

My nephew Adin is entering the army soon. Nothing has changed. That was the plan before and it is still the plan. We just all pray that this immediate frightening strife will end even sooner.

Rivka started her internship this past Sunday. She is volunteering in a school not far from her apartment. Now, more than ever, her job to cheer up the young children is vital. They need distractions. They need to have fun between the sirens. The families and staff at the school need to know that there are Americans interested in helping out.

Rivka celebrated her 21st birthday this week. What better way to celebrate her “coming of age” than by serving the people of Israel in this special way. Happy birthday, Rivka! Keep safe! v

Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Maidenbaum & Sternberg, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children–Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea–and a daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at


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