Creator or criminal?
by Terri Jo Ryan
The judge of all mankind will himself face judgment next week, when the Temple Shalom Confirmation students of Dennis Eichelbaum put God on trial at 5:30 p.m. May 14 in the 15th floor courtroom of Judge Steven Felsenthal.
The Almighty stands accused of "crimes against humanity" for not intervening when the Nazis perpetrated the Holocaust, which resulted in the murder of six million Jews and millions of other innocent civilians. While the Lord will be "taking the fifth (amendment)" and is not expected to take the stand in his own defense, the 19 students in this confirmation exercise are expected to call many colorful character witnesses.
"The kids were told they could call anyone from history they wanted," said Eichelbaum. The unscripted affair may see the likes of Pharaoh, Adolph Hitler, Noah, Anne Frank and a host of other Holocaust victims to testify for and against the original Lawgiver.
This is not the first time that God has been targeted for prosecution by Eichelbaum and his students. A decade ago, in Austin, he brought the case to the state's Supreme Court, where the judge failed to render a verdict.
In June 1998, before Judge Barefoot Sanders, The Lord was found innocent of the charges in mankind's misdeeds, Eichelbaum said. The judge is expected to issue a written decision some weeks after the trail - but in time for the confirmation ceremony at the end of May.
The objective really isn't to rake God over the coals, said Eichelbaum, who considers himself a Holocaust educator first and an attorney second.
"The goal is for them to come to the realization that people control their own destinies," he said, "that you can't blame everything on God. But you can't sit back and wait for God to resolve our problems, either."
Guests who want to observe this most unusual trial are urged to get to the Federal Courthouse, 1100 Commerce Street in downtown Dallas, by the 5:30 p.m. start time, as the doors to the facility will be locked at 6 p.m. sharp.
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, May 10, 2001