NEWSLETTER – January 2010

Irwin Rudick, President
Allen Mendelsohn, Dorith Toledano, and Larry Markowitz, Editor(s)

President’s Message

Irwin Rudick

As a famous commercial states « Membership has its Privileges ».  One of the privileges I get as a member of the Bar of Ontario (officially, the Law Society of Upper Canada) is a publication called the Ontario Lawyers Gazette.  In its Winter 2009 edition, there was an article entitled “The Heritage Committee hosts Lord Reading Club dinner”, which you can view here.

As you read this article, you will no doubt be struck, as I was, by the similarities between The Lord Reading Law Club of Ontario and our Lord Reading Law Society in terms of name, dates of foundation (theirs 1947, ours 1948) and most significantly, the raison d’être which lead to the founding of these entities, namely anti-Semitism faced by Jewish lawyers in the legal profession at the time.

The bottom line, however, is that Ontario’s Lord Reading entity disappeared whereas ours has persisted, evolved over time and now flourishes.

The question is why is there such a different outcome in two neighbouring provinces for societies founded and organized by Jewish jurists?  My response is that our longevity is attributable to the extraordinary dynamic between the membership and the leadership of L.R.L.S.  The membership has provided the oxygen of financial support and attendance at programs, whereas the leadership has been able over time, to present programs and carry out other initiatives in support of its Mission Statement which the membership by and large, considers relevant and worthy of its support.

Still, the example of the disappearance of the Ontario entity should be instructive to all of us.  We will always have to combat the forces of complacency, apathy and taking our continued existence “for granted”.

In this vain, I would like to see strong attendances for our Annual Students Dinner, scheduled for February 4th, 2010, at which the speakers are Mtres. Cari Davine and Dean Chenoy, whose topic is “There’s no business like show business: Current legal issues facing the entertainment industry” followed by our program set for March 25th, 2010 which is the Henry Steinberg Memorial Lecture.  Our guest speaker will be Dr. Adrienne Asch, Director of the Centre for Ethics at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University.  Her presentation, which promises to be most fascinating indeed, is entitled “From the Crib to the Coffin: Legal and ethical implications of pre-natal testing and euthanasia.”  Both of these programs have received CLE Certification.  See you there!

Irwin Rudick

Report from the Annual Human Rights Dinner

Martin Sklar

On December 3, 2009, The Lord Reading Law Society had the pleasure of having Esther Mujawayo-Keiner as a guest speaker for the Society’s Annual Human Rights Dinner.

The subject of her lecture was, “Can there be Justice after Genocide?”

Esther Mujawayo-Keiner was born in the year 1958 in Rwanda.  She was born into the Tutsi community.  She eloquently and emotionally describes the treatment of her community during the years 1959, 1963, 1973 and 1994 by the Hutu community.

During the year 1959 the Hutu committed indiscriminate killings on a small scale against the Tutsis.  This was followed by killing of animals belonging to the Tutsi in 1963, the burning of Tutsi homes in 1973 and expulsion of their children from the schools in 1973.  Then the Hutus engaged in widespread killing of both the Tutsis and their animals in 1994 and burning their homes, leading to the final solution of genocide.  During this period the Hutu deployed children to hunt for the Tutsi in furtherance of the genocide.  It was during this period she lost both her husband and her sister to the genocide, and she and her daughter were the sole surviving members of her family.

Subsequent to the genocide in 1994, the Hutus lost power to the rebels which was followed by the prosecutions before the International Court of Justice relating to the Rwanda genocide.  She described how the court system began to develop in Rwanda by the training of new lawyers and judges to deal with the perpetrators of the genocide.

She raised the fact that some Hutu professionals had immigrated to Canada, so as to avoid prosecution for the crimes, even though they claimed to have done nothing.  She indicated that the Canadian Courts have been prosecuting some of the Hutu criminals and some have even been found guilty in the Canadian Courts.

Prior to the genocide committed by the Hutus, the people of Rwanda co-existed in a peaceful state until such time as the state abandoned its responsibilities.  It was during this time that all the moral values of society were destroyed. 

It was only after the genocide in 1994 that the world finally paid attention to the atrocities committed and that the national community awoke, which involved prosecuting the perpetrators before the International Court of Justice.

She is the author of two books entitled, “La Fleur de Stephanie”, in memory of her late sister who perished during the genocide, and, “Small Plant of Stephanie”, which plant remained at her home while everything else was annihilated and destroyed.  She described the plant as being a symbolic grave for her late sister. 

In conclusion, she states that there can be justice after genocide when the state assumes its responsibilities, and pursues the perpetrators of atrocities to the full extent of the law.

A Message About Haiti

Frank M. Schlesinger

Dear Colleagues:

You are all aware of the enormous tragedy which has befallen the people of Haiti.

As the Society’s Chairman of Human Rights, it is obvious that human beings cannot exercise their rights when their very existence depends upon immediate support.

We call upon each and everyone of you to make an appropriate donation to the charity of your choice in order to assist these unfortunate victims.

For your convenience, you may wish to donate online through Federation CJA or the Red Cross.

Thank you,

Frank M. Schlesinger,
The Lord Reading Law Society
Chairman, Human Rights

Continuing Legal Education

Allen Mendelsohn

Rabbi Krasnanski at Chabad of the Town is running a very interesting series of continuing education lectures which have been approved for Barreau CLE credits. Full details and registration can be found on their website.

Society Humour