HomeOctober 2012It’s the Law

It’s the Law

What is a Jewish law student to do when he or she wants to connect with other Jewish law students?  Considering the newness of the UCI School of Law, the answer is “create a group.”  Once the group gets going, keep networking to connect it with other groups.
That’s what Ben Beezy, who is getting a concurrent degree from the UCI School of Law and the Merage School of Business, did, along with some of his classmates.  The result is the Jewish Law Association.
Initially, the organization was not formed as a student group, but there were “Shabbat lucks,” potluck dinners open to Jewish students and others during the school’s first – and Beezy’s first – year.  There was a schoolwide seder sponsored annually by the UCI law school dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, and his wife.  Eventually, the Jewish Law Association became a student organization, and then it began to hold regular events, such as Chanukah latke parties and Shabbat lucks once a semester.
Recently, a speaker, Justice Richard Fybel, talked about German judiciary failure during the Nazi era, noting that everything the Nazis did from 1933 to 1945, including mass murder and the denial of fundamental rights, was legal under the German legal system.  “We want to have speakers like that again,” Beezy, a San Fernando Valley native who hopes to stay in Orange County or elsewhere in southern California, said.
The Jewish Law Association also engages in pro bono projects for members of the community. The students have partnered with a law firm to help Holocaust survivors to deal with potential claims.  The Orange County Jewish Bar Association has been supportive too, according to Beezy.
Beezy also wants to connect all graduate students in the area.  He is working with Hillel and the medical school to have joint events.  He also helped to arrange an event at which Rabbi Zevi Tenenbaum of Chabad at UCI did a lunch and learn about the qualifications for being a judge in the Talmud.
Beezy, who did his undergraduate work at the University of Southern California (USC), felt somewhat isolated in that area.  “While there’s great Jewish life on campus, there’s nothing around there,” he said.  “There’s an actual community here.”

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