A record-breaking crowd of 320 attendees gathered together at Temple Beth El ‘s milestone 10th anniversary of the annual Project Nuremberg Lawyers Luncheon on Friday, May 3, 2019. This impactful event, held in conjunction with the South Palm Beach County Bar Association and Lynn University, and generously underwritten by Marilyn and Jay Weinberg, draws upon the legacy of the Nuremberg Trials to uphold the importance of the rule of law in seeking justice. Each spring, Temple Beth El’s Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Mates and Professor Sindee Kerker teach a class at Lynn University on the Nuremberg trials, culminating in the students’ attendance at the Project Nuremberg Lawyers Luncheon.
Most notable this year, was the attendance of a very special guest of honor: Benjamin B. Ferencz, who at age 99, is the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. As a lifelong fighter of war crimes and injustice his appearance was very meaningful. Mr. Ferencz poignantly repeated three times at the end of his conversation with Professor John Q. Barrett at the luncheon the words “never give up, never give up, never give up.”
“The Project Nuremberg Lawyers Luncheon has become a significant event in the south Florida legal community. Annually for the past 10 years, busy attorneys have taken time out to study the Nuremberg trials, the impact of law and bringing order to the chaos of Europe after World War II, and understanding the impact of their field on history. The presence of Ben Ferencz, the 99-year-old prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials was a ten year dream of mine, and he was well worth the wait. This is a man who is born to practice law and whose legacy will endure,” says Rabbi Mates.
Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Mates and the Project Nuremberg Committee received special recognition in celebration of this milestone anniversary.
These year’s keynote speakers included:
Jay and Marilyn Weinberg Rule of Law Award Recipients:
Professor John Q. Barrett, St John’s University Professor of Law, who is an expert on U.S. Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg prosecutor Robert H. Jackson.
Former Mossad Agent, Avner Avraham, who famously worked to reveal and publicize the insider story of the historic 1960 capture of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann inspiring MGM’s movie “Operation Finale” starring Oscar Isaac and Ben Kingsley – for which Avraham served as a key consultant.
Jay and Marilyn Weinberg Civility Award Recipient:
Justice Robert J. Luck who was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court by Governor Ron DeSantis on January 14, 2019. He previously served on the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami after his appointment there by Governor Rick Scott in March 2017.
“On this 10th anniversary of a now premier legal event in South Palm Beach County, Project Nuremberg, annually reminds us of the power of the rule of law, especially when it involves man’s inhumanity to man. Our remarkable award winners all shared words of wisdom and Ben Ferencz’ words, ‘Law not War,’ simply says it all,” says Event Chair, attorney Robin Bresky.
On display was “The Blue Series,” the record of the trials of the Nazis at Nuremberg after World War II. These documents, traced to Justice Robert Jackson and housed at Lynn University in Boca Raton, were saved from destruction by Rabbi Mates and are the motivation for this annual program and luncheon.
Former notable speakers at the Project Nuremberg Lawyers Lunch have included Alan Dershowitz, whose mentor Telford Taylor was the second prosecutor at Nuremberg and Senator Christopher Dodd, whose father Thomas Dodd was a prosecutor at Nuremberg.
As a result of the ongoing interest in the Nuremberg trials, attorney Michael Shapiro is presently working on organizing a lawyer’s trip to Nuremberg in 2020 to study the impact there on-site.
About Temple Beth El of Boca Raton
Temple Beth El of Boca Raton was founded in 1967 and has grown to become one of the nation’s leading Reform congregations. With a mission to inspire a passionate commitment to Jewish life, learning, community and spiritual growth; the temple offers two newly expanded campuses which serve the needs of the surrounding Jewish community. The Schaefer Family Campus at 333 S.W. 4th Avenue in east Boca Raton houses the Merle E. Singer Sanctuary, social hall, a full-service catering kitchen, chapel, Beit Midrash (Adult Learning Center), gift shop, classrooms, clergy and administrative offices. Also on the property is the Beth El Mausoleum, the only mausoleum in the United States to be built on sacred temple grounds. The Beck Family Campus at 9800 Yamato Road in west Boca Raton houses the Early Learning Center for preschool, infant daycare and summer camp, as well as a new Kehillah Center (community hall) and catering kitchen. Welcoming families of all ages, the temple holds weekly Shabbat services and offers a bustling religious school program for grades K-12; along with a variety of social, cultural educational, social action and religious programs. For more information visit tbeboca.org or call the Schaefer Family Campus at 561-391-8900, Beck Family Campus at 561-391-9091 or the Beth El Mausoleum at 561-391-8901.