Happy Birthday Judge Joseph Wapner!


The Archive Blog wishes a very happy 92nd birthday to Judge Joseph Wapner, of The People’s Court fame. While digging through the archive, we found a reference to another Joseph Wapner, who was also 
something of a macher:

Orthodox Synagogue in Southern California Celebrates 75th Anniversary (published: APRIL 12, 1966)

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 11 (JTA) – Congregation Beth Israel here, the oldest Orthodox synagogue in Southern California, celebrated its 75th anniversary at a banquet at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Joseph M. Wapner, attorney and community leader, has been its president for the past 25 years.

Judy Moadeb — the shul’s administrator for 25 years now — clarified over the phone the Wapner mentioned in our article was the TV judge’s father. Asked whether the shul boasted any other celebrity members, Moadeb laughed. "There used to be a member, but he passed away. His name was Jesse White — he was in those Maytag commercials."

For more on Judge Wapner, check out this 2005 interview by the TV Academy Foundation’s Archive of American Television (we’ve linked to their website previously). One memorable quote in response to whether the small claims cases tried in the People’s Court: 

The disputes are not really small; the amount of money might be small, but you could sue for a million dollars — because a million dollars is involved — but the same principles of law are involved there as a case involving seventy-five cents.

Image courtesy of Harvard Law School website.

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