On December 11, 2017, AJC New Jersey hosted our annual Judge Learned Hand Award dinner. This year’s honoree was Rob Bernstein of Greenberg Traurig. Rob has focused his 37 year legal career on the management side of labor and employment law, with an emphasis on litigation and counseling.
The Judge Learned Hand award was established by AJC in 1964 and is presented to leaders in the legal profession for their excellence in, and contributions to, the legal community. Similarly to the values of AJC, Judge Billings Learned Hand represented the rights of the individual and the importance of democratic values. Rob Bernstein has a strong history of representing those values in his professional and personal lives.
While presenting the award, friend and past-recipient, Philip Sellinger of Greenberg Traurig, lauded AJC as the world’s premier global Jewish advocacy organization , referencing his personal involvement in the vital advocacy of which this organization has taken ownership. Philip, along with Steven Kamen of Sills Cummis and Gross, who opened the program, both highlighted their personal experiences through traveling with AJC and meeting government, religious and cultural leaders throughout the globe. Along with Barry Schindler (Greenberg Traurig) and Hal Mandel (Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith & Davis), who also participated in the program, Philip and Steve applauded Rob Bernstein on the manner in which he carried the torch Judge Learned Hand lit and had been passed from one award recipient to the next.
Throughout the years, Rob’s commitment to the Jewish community has strengthened, inspired by the example of his departed grandfather-in-law, the esteemed Rabbi Emanuel Rackman, of New York City’s famous Fifth Avenue Synagogue. In addition to his work with AJC, Rob has been involved in several Jewish causes, including AIPAC, MidPac, and Migdal Ohr. Rob’s overwhelming commitment to the Jewish community has been an inspiration to his friends and family.
Throughout his insightful acceptance speech, Rob praised the work of AJC and reflected on his own career being driven by his “deeply rooted appreciation of my faith.” During the speech, Rob emphasized the importance of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and how it is referenced in the Hebrew Bible over 660 times. He also spoke about the important fact that AJC was the first American-Jewish organization to open a permanent office in Jerusalem almost 60 years ago. He recognized the accomplishment of AJC’s advocacy work as a major contribution of the passage of the Taylor Force Act. Rob remains committed to promoting Jewish values and combating anti-Semitism. He stated, “while I am privileged to have received this award, standing here in Short Hills, New Jersey, it is vital that we all continue to recognize AJC’s global reach. As the great Justice Hand himself observed: ‘right knows no boundaries, and justice no frontiers; the brotherhood of man is not a domestic institution.’”
The night was truly lovely as it brought together AJC members with those closest to Rob. AJC New Jersey proudly continues the tradition of honoring members of legal community and is proud to have recognized an award recipient who will continue the legacy of strong, Jewish leadership in the community.