NEWSLETTER – January 2020

Editors – Allen Mendelsohn & Larry Markowitz

President’s Message / Mot du Président

Gregory Azancot

(le message en français suit l’anglais)

Dear Colleagues, Honourable Judges, and Friends of the Society,

As the date on the calendar moves to what some of us growing up believed would be a space odyssey (and I’m aware the original was 2001) and while it’s not quite the world of flying cars and robot butlers some people imagined- advances in the tech and medical fields have been astounding… and somewhat worrisome.

Thankfully some predictions such as the end of the world have not come true others like the rise of the global average temperature (< 1°C since the mid-90s) and the global rise of sea levels (< 3 inches since 1992) unfortunately have.

It’s easy and tempting to focus on the negatives especially when in New York the eight days of Hanukkah became synonymous with anti-semitic attacks. But since when have we as Jews or the Lord Reading Law Society taken the easy route? It would have been easy for our predecessors 72 years ago to just be quiet and not attend the Bar conference and thus not attract the wrath of certain of their colleagues, just as it would have been very easy to not intervene in the Bill 21 court proceedings and avoid the media stories (some highly erroneous) and hateful commentary… But like I said we don’t do easy.

So what are the positives?

Well as a species and a planet they are too many to mention but I regularly follow Colonel Chris Hadfield so here’s a great video or you can read professor Vincent Geloso‘s article on the subject in La Presse … But what of Lord Reading?

Our membership has grown and continues to do so our dinner lectures are arguably the best of any in the country and our presence related to issues that affect the Jewish community and human rights in general has continued to grow in terms of scope – such as briefs submitted to the National Assembly regarding Bill 60 and Bill 62 which were accompanied by the Society’s oral presentation and of course our recent brief to the National Assembly and court intervention into Bill 21 contestations.

So… « Si la tendance se maintient » and barring nuclear Armageddon, the next decade for the Society is exciting and full of promise. As we continue to rejuvenate and grow our membership it is imperative that we continue to remember and honor our roots. So I look forward to the new roaring 20’s and hope that you too will welcome in this new decade with renewed passion in all of your endeavours.


The decade starts out on a wonderful note with Ken Dryden visiting the Society on January 15th. You can register online here. Don’t forget to mark your calendar with all of our amazing events for the rest of the season. The 20’s are indeed starting off roaring!

Gregory Azancot, President
Lord Reading Law Society


Cher(e)s collègues, honorables juges, et ami(e)s de l’Association,

Alors que la date sur le calendrier se déplace vers ce que certains d’entre nous croyaient être une odyssée de l’espace (et je sais que l’original était en 2001) et bien que ce ne soit pas tout à fait le monde des voitures volantes et des robots majordomes que certains imaginaient – les progrès dans les domaines de la technologie et de la médecine ont été stupéfiants… et quelque peu inquiétants.

Heureusement, certaines prédictions comme la fin du monde ne se sont pas réalisées ; d’autres comme l’augmentation de la température moyenne mondiale (< 1°C depuis le milieu des années 90) et l’élévation du niveau de la mer (< 3 pouces depuis 1992) se sont malheureusement concrétisées.

Il est facile et tentant de se concentrer sur les points négatifs, surtout quand à New York, les huit jours de Hanoukka sont devenus synonymes d’attaques antisémites. Mais depuis quand avons-nous, en tant que Juifs ou membres de l’Association Lord Reading, pris la voie de la facilité ? Il aurait été facile pour nos prédécesseurs, il y a 72 ans, de se taire et de ne pas assister à la conférence du Barreau et ainsi ne pas attirer la colère de certains de leurs collègues, tout comme il aurait été très facile de ne pas intervenir dans les procédures judiciaires relatives à la Loi 21 et d’éviter les reportages médiatiques (dont certains furent très erronés) et les commentaires haineux… Mais pourquoi prendre le chemin de la facilité quand un autre existe ?

Alors, quels sont les points positifs ?

Eh bien, en tant qu’espèce et planète, ils sont trop nombreux pour être mentionnés, mais je suis régulièrement le Colonel Chris Hadfield, alors voici une excellente vidéo où vous pouvez lire l’article du professeur Vincent Geloso sur le sujet dans La Presse… Mais qu’en est-il de Lord Reading ?

Notre base d’adhérents a augmenté et continue d’augmenter ; nos dîners-conférences sont possiblement les meilleurs au pays et notre présence liée aux questions qui touchent la communauté juive et les droits de la personne en général ont continué de croître en termes de portée – comme les mémoires soumis à l’Assemblée nationale concernant les projets de loi 60 et 62 qui étaient accompagnés de représentations viva voce de l’Association et, bien sûr, notre récent mémoire à l’Assemblée nationale et notre intervention devant les tribunaux relativement à la Loi 21.

Alors… si la tendance se maintient et exception faite d’une catastrophe nucléaire, la prochaine décennie pour l’Association est excitante et pleine de promesses. Alors que nous continuons à recruter des jeunes membres il est impératif que nous continuions à nous souvenir et à honorer nos origines. J’attends donc avec impatience ces nouvelles Années folles et j’espère que vous aussi vous accueillerez cette nouvelle décennie avec une passion renouvelée dans tout ce que vous entreprenez.


La décennie démarre sur une note merveilleuse avec la visite de Ken Dryden à l’Association le 15 janvier. Vous pouvez vous inscrire en ligne ici  N’oubliez pas d’inscrivez à votre calendrier tous nos événements exceptionnels pour le reste de la saison  En effet, les années 20 commencent en lion !

Gregory Azancot, Président
Association de droit Lord Reading

The Schwartz Report – Chronicles of a Canadian Clerking at the High Court of Israel

Michael “Mikie” Schwartz

Our intrepid foreign correspondent enjoys a Chanukkah party in Jerusalem with Justice Hanan Melcer, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Israel, who is scheduled to speak at the Society May 21st

[Editors’ note – The Society is delighted to welcome our first-ever foreign correspondent! Mikie Schwartz is a Lord Reading member and regular at Society events. He was the winner of the “Prix du Ministre de la justice du Québec – Association de droit Lord Reading” Student Award in March 2017. Mikie is currently serving as a foreign law clerk at the Supreme Court of Israel, and was kind enough to take some time to share his thoughts and observations. Mikie will be back in Montreal this spring to tell us more! May the Schwartz be with you!]

So, how exactly does a Manitoba-raised, Quebec-trained, Ontario-licensed lawyer end up working at the Israeli Supreme/High Court? I suppose that applying for the job is a good start. Like chicken soup, it will do no harm and may even have positive effects, as it has in my case.

Many of you may not know that the Court maintains a foreign clerks program. The idea is for the clerks to research and present foreign law to the justices, who frequently look to legal systems outside of Israel for inspiration.

The High Court of Israel has a particularly strong interest in Canadian jurisprudence. Despite, or perhaps precisely because of, Israel’s own lack of a codified constitution*, Israel often turns to Canadian Charter interpretation as a means of developing Israeli law, especially in the domain of human rights and liberties.

Strong ties have been formed between Canadian and Israeli Supreme Court justices, such as was the case with Antonio Lamer and Aharon Barak (each Chief Justice of their respective courts) and Dorit Beinish and Rosalie Abella.

As for me, being trained in two systems of law in two languages at McGill no doubt was a boost to my candidacy.

Strangely enough, Hebrew (which I speak) is not a requirement, although it is considered an asset.

I have the privilege of working with Justice Daphne Barak-Erez, former Dean of Law at Tel Aviv University and author of, among other publications Outlawed Pigs: Law, Religion and Culture in Israel.

Having grown up with Winnipeg winters – Montreal’s may be tough, but Winnipeg’s take it to a whole new nadir – the mellow Jerusalem climate is a welcome respite.

With flexible hours, interesting work, not having to come in on Jewish holidays, and the opportunity to contribute to the development of a dynamic legal system, there is much to recommend in the clerkship. Also, our Court Chanukah parties are lots of fun. Moreover, I briefly made Israeli TV, which was kind of cool and augurs well for my long-held dream of having my own talk show.

Shalom from Jerusalem,

Michael A. Schwartz

*Israel’s Declaration of Independence promises a written constitution will be adopted no later than 1 October, 1948. Evidently, things are running somewhat behind schedule.

It’s Hockey Night at Lord Reading!

The Society is getting very excited for Ken Dryden’s visit on January 15! In preparation for this once in a lifetime dinner, the Newsletter’s hockey-loving editors dug up this vintage CBC profile of a young hockey star and law student, which we thought we would share. We’ll see you and Mr. Dryden on the 15th!

Don’t forget your Lord Reading Membership!

It’s no too late for you to renew your membership or become a member for the first time. Membership offers significant discounts for dinner-meetings and with our updated pricing for this season you’ll be saving even more! You’ll also get exclusive access to the great members-only CLE events which we have planned. We’d love to have you as a member!

You can become a member online here or alternatively, you may download the membership form here. Membership has its privileges!

And Don’t Forget These Amazing Events!

We’ve got these great events lined up for the rest of the year, with more to come. Mark your calendars!

  • February 6 (Student dinner) – Supreme Court Justice Russell Brown
  • April 28 – Marie Henein
  • May 21 (Henry Steinberg Dinner) – Justice Hanan Melcer, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Israel

You can always keep abreast of Society events on our Events page.

Society Humour

News from the Mispacha

Mazel Tov