The Cindy Hayes Conversion

For those who don’t watch the show Orange Is The New Black, you probably have no idea who Cindy Hayes is.  For those of you who do, you know exactly where I’m going with this post (please note that this includes a “spoiler” discussion of the Season 3 episode “Trust No Bitch”, however it is somewhat of a minor story line).

For those not watching the show, here’s the setup.  The prison has been taken over by a private company and the food the new ownership provides is beyond disgusting.  As a result, some of the women decide to use the “kosher loophole” to get better food.  This naturally spirals out of control, with over 1/3 of the inmates stating that they’re Jewish in order to get the kosher meal.

Caputo brings in a Rabbi to test those who are claiming to be Jewish and the results are predictably humorous.  Cindy Hayes decides to try and trick the Rabbi by describing her upbringing using references to Yentl and Annie Hall.

The Rabbi’s response is 100% complete awesomeness:

“Miss Hayes, while I am heartened that you appreciate the works of Woody Allen and Barbra Streisand, I think you’ve confused cultural Judaism with committed Jewish belief.  Also, I hear Mandy Patinkin can be difficult to work with.”


After the visit, it comes to light that only one person passed the tests – the nun, Sister Jane Ingalls.  Not surprising, since Catholicism includes the teachings of the Old Testament.  Undeterred, Cindy continues her efforts to convince the Rabbi she wants to convert.  She studies, she learns and ultimately comes to the realization that being Jewish is about much more than just kosher food.

She once again meets with the Rabbi who asks her why she really wants to convert.  Her description of what it means to be a Jew is quite possibly the most beautiful, eloquent description I’ve ever heard.

“Honestly, I think I found my people.  I was raised in a church where I was told to believe and pray.  And if I was bad, I’d go to hell. And if I was good, I’d go to heaven.  And if I’d ask Jesus, he’d forgive me and that was that.  And here y’all are saying there ain’t no hell.  Ain’t sure about heaven. And if you do something wrong, you got to figure it out yourself.  And as far as God’s concerned, it’s your job to keep asking questions and to keep learning and to keep arguing. It’s like a verb. It’s like … you do God.  And that’s a lot of work, but I think I’m in, as least as far as I can see it.”

Season 3 may have been a bit uneven and the show may be spiraling in the same way that Weeds did around this time, but that speech will always have a place in my heart no matter how much the show goes off the rails.

Zara And Their “Honest Mistakes”

Oh, those wacky kids over at Zara’s.  If you’re not familiar with the brand, think of it like Kohl’s or H&M for Europe.  They’ve got about 2,000 stores worldwide with pretty much all of them being located in Europe.  They focus on selling “fashion forward” clothes and accessories at affordable prices.  Apparently “fashion forward” is code for “racially insensitive”.

Back in 2007, the company briefly carried a bag with what appeared to be large swastikas on it:



The media caught wind of it and Zara’s released the following statement: “We did not realise Swastikas appeared on some of these bags, the swastika was not on the bag which was sourced by us after being supplied by an external producer.  Of course we apologise to anyone who was offended by the bag, and we will be withdrawing it from all our stores.”

Ok, fair enough I guess.  I’m not sure how the entire company at Zara’s (the buyers, the store managers, the floor staff) all seemed to miss the glaring and obvious, but they apologized and pulled the product.

Flash forward to the present and the good folks at Zara’s have done it again.  This time, they released a shirt designed for kids – blue and white striped shirt with a giant yellow Star of David “Sheriff’s Badge” on the front.


When asked about it by the Jerusalem Post, a Zara spokesperson stated: “It has nothing to do with the Second World War or whatever. The inspiration had to do with the old classic western movies. Obviously we are very attentive to the sensitivity of our customers. we made a mistake in this case.”

I can totally see how this was an “honest mistake”.  After all, it’s not like they’ve only released clothing that is insensitive to Jewish people.  Just a couple weeks ago, the company had to pull a t-shirt they were selling that stated in huge letters “White Is The New Black“.  Plus, if you look really, really closely, there is the word “Sheriff” that is barely legible on the star.

Based on Zara’s comments and behavior, their designers and buyers aren’t antisemitic or racist.  They’re just complete morons.