A ‘Great’ start to the law year
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A ‘Great’ start to the law year

Justice Stephen Rothman is encouraging more members of the community – both within the legal profession and outside it – to attend The Great Synagogue’s law service this year.

Justice Stephen Rothman speaking at The Great Synagogue.
Justice Stephen Rothman speaking at The Great Synagogue.

YOU don’t have to be a lawyer to attend The Great Synagogue’s annual law service, shule president and Supreme Court judge Justice Stephen Rothman says.

Continuing a tradition that has been conducted for over 60 years, this year’s service takes place on Wednesday, February 12 at 5.30pm, followed by a reception.

Held in the presence of NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst and state and federal judiciary, it marks the beginning of the legal year and is the Jewish community’s tribute to those who ensure that all Australians are governed by law, fairness and justice. 

“It’s predominantly choral, it’s a beautiful service actually,” Rothman said.

“My feedback from other judges – that is non-Jewish judges – is it is one of the services they love going to.”

This year, Rothman said he hopes to see more members of the Jewish community – both within the legal profession and outside it – come along and experience the service.

“It’s important for members of the Jewish community,” he said, “first of all, to realise that there’s plenty of us [Jews] still practising and out there. 

“Number two, it creates a degree of community within the legal profession. But more importantly, it really gives a religious tone or halachic basis for much of what we do as lawyers and it’s actually quite inspiring.

“I think it’s important for the Jewish lawyers to attend in order to understand how important, from the community’s point of view the service is, so that the judiciary get that impression as well.”

For Jews not employed in the legal profession, Rothman said the service “gives insight into the way in which the courts, and the Chief Justice in particular, view the [Jewish] community and its contribution to the law”.

He added, “I had a cousin who was visiting from Los Angeles, who is not a lawyer and I took him along to the service and he was gobsmacked. He just loved it and said there was nothing like it.”

RSVP by February 10 at greatsynagogue.org.au/lawservice20.

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