How to Face an Accusation of Theft: A Story of Resilience


Devora Benchimol

It has been three months since I completed my documentary, and Thank G-d, I have been blessed with several accolades. Not only from the festivals I attended, but also from the audience’s response. However, there was a moment at one of those festivals that made me question everything.

After feeling ecstatic and satisfied with the reception of my work, I received a call upon returning home. It was the hotel where I stayed during the event, notifying me that a device was missing from the room I has stayed in and requesting its return.

Disbelief was the first thing I felt upon hearing the message repeatedly. How could this be possible? I called the festival director to understand the situation. It was a Chromecast, something I didn’t even know was in the room. $30? Was that all it cost? The more details I received, the more confused I felt.

When I contacted the hotel, the response was even more bewildering. They directly accused me of theft. Me, a person who had dedicated three years to creating a film that conveyed values, would travel to a festival to steal something as insignificant as a $30 device? The situation was absurd.

The idea that many people were aware of this accusation only increased my frustration. I decided to seek legal help, and a friend who is a lawyer advised me to send a letter demanding an apology for accusing me without evidence.

The process of sending the letter provided me with some relief. However, after two days, I received a message from the hotel: “Forget about it, ma’am, we found it.” Forget so easily? After all the effort I invested in my work, I couldn’t just let it go.

I delved into reflection and remembered a letter I had written to the Rebbe years ago. It mentioned the light that my project would radiate, even referencing a festival in the month of Adar. Everything seemed to fit.

Then I understood that my task was not to forget, but to find the light in this adverse situation. Although I admit it was not easy to overcome the incident, as I always say in my film: “Never give up.”

My commitment now is to find that light and allow my documentary to radiate it. Although this obstacle has been challenging to overcome, I am determined to move forward and demonstrate that resilience always wins.

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