the schmooze
*In Yiddish, a “shanda” is a shame
Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe
Syosset, New York

For many years as a high school business teacher I taught a course titled, “Business Law.”  My students discovered the legal term “frivolous lawsuit.”  Frivolous litigation is the practice of starting and carrying on lawsuits that have little or no chance of winning. 


In 2013, an Orthodox Jewish woman from Rockland County, New York, sued French makeup giant, Lancome, for false advertising.  She charged that its “24-hour” foundation “faded” while she observed Sabbath.  Note:  The Yiddish word meaning “to fade”/lose color” is “blyakirn.”

The New York Post reported that Rorie Weisberg’s suit says the company’s “24-hour” claims played a major role in her decision to purchase the product, and since it “fades” before the “24-hour” period is completed, she can no longer “look good” and “stay holy” simultaneously.

According to the suit, a Lancome ad for Teint Idole Ultra 24H claims it gives users a “full day and night” of “lasting perfection.”  Weisberg’s suit is seeking “unspecified damages” for “deceptive acts and practices” from Lancome and its parent company, L’Oreal.  In 1964, L’Oreal purchased Lancome Paris.  Lancome products are sold at department store like Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

She shelled out $45 plus tax for a one-ounce bottle on Lancome’s website.  BTW, at that time the plaintiff’s eldest son was having his Bar Mitzvah celebration.

L’Oreal spokesperson, Rebecca Caruso, stated, “Lancome strongly believes that this lawsuit has no merit and stands proudly behind our products. We will strenuously contest these allegations in court.  Consistent with our practice and policy, however, as this matter is currently in litigations, we cannot comment further.”

Some people have asked, “What exactly is her motive?  Money?  Attention?  Does she want to protect womanhood from false advertising?”  Was she born “nekhtn” (yesterday)?  One unnamed individual wrote, “Her ‘holiness’ should extend to not bringing such negative publicity to the frum community in the form of a frivolous lawsuit.”

Is this suit a “shanda”--a scandal?

Here’s what some Jewish men and women had to say via the Internet:

“I see it as a “shanda” to try to squeeze money out of yet another corporation.  I don’t understand why she didn’t write a polite letter to the company and request a refund If she did and they refused, suing is still crazy.  I’m sure a multi-billion dollar corporation can afford to send this woman a voucher for free cosmetics for good customer relations.  The whole thing is ridiculous.”

“She has demeaned the holiness of Shabbos by being more concerned with her vanity.  I hope she reads these comments and understands how negatively far reaching her actions are.  The New York Times article is mocking her.  She has a very narrow understanding of priorities.”

“If I would be Lancome I would offer her a full refund plus free psychiatric treatment for one year.”

“Why are Jewish people still buying French products?  This is considered false advertising and they should change their labeling.”

“...We, as frum Jews, must and should live a higher standard.  Going away for Pesach and driving a Lexus and applying for Section 8 housing.  The mentality of ‘they owe us’ is just sickening.  ‘Working the system’ is a game for low lifes. Have some self respect.”

“My friend, you haven’t seen the wigs they sell nowadays. Women look more beautiful for strange men than they ever did with their real hair.  Combine that with ‘modest’ long and tight shirts and you’ve got one rocking anshet chail.”

“Starting a lawsuit charging that you can’t stay ‘holy’ when your foundation doesn’t last 24 hours:  I thought the whole tznius indoctrination is about looking modest and not like a model to look good for married men on streets?  I wish the judge would tell her to put on a burka to solve her problems.”     

“She probably has nothing to do with it.  Henry Juroviesky, a frum lawyer, brainstorms class action lawsuit ideas and then gets frum people to act as lead plaintiff... The lawyers make all the money in these cases.”    
Mark Twain 2

“I don’t know this lady, but generally, most ‘orthodox’ women these days spend too much time and energy on makeup to get the ‘super model look’ as opposed to the holy look. Shabbas is a day to connect with Hashem and our family spiritually, so if you need makeup to impress the community, then you are not spnding Shabbas right...”

“If this woman has nothing better to do with her time than sue for such narishkeit, she should go out and get a job, take some classes so she could get a job, or do some more tzadakah...Her lawsuit makes all frum women in Monsey look like a bunch of vanity obsessed nutcases with too much time on their hands.”

And, finally, Aryeh wrote,
“Only in America, folks.”
MARJORIE WOLFE advises anyone involved in frivolous litigation, “Makh zikh nit narish.”  (Don’t make yourself foolish.)  Don’t cause a “tsunami of tsoris (a tidal wave of trouble)!


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Marjorie Gottlieb Wolfe is the author of
two books:
yiddish for dog and cat loversbook
"Yiddish for Dog & Cat Lovers" and
"Are Yentas, Kibitzers, & Tummlers Weapons of Mass Instruction?  Yiddish
Trivia."  To order a copy, go to her

NU, what are you waiting for?  Order the book!

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