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Judaism, Law, and Social Change

January 28 @ 5:30 pm 6:30 pm

Free event! No MCLE. Presented by the CLA Racial Justice Committee. Proudly co-sponsored by the Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco, the Orange County Jewish Bar Association, and the Leonard M. Friedman Bar Association.

This panel will explore the role that Jewish lawyers have played in social justice efforts from the Civil Rights Movement to the labor movement. Panelists will share their own personal stories tackling inequality and antisemitism, and discuss how Jewish faith and culture inspired their careers in public service.

Speakers: Stan Levy, Seth Brysk and Marlene Trestman
Moderator: Leif Dautch

pics of speakers

Seth Brysk is the Anti-Defamation League’s Central Pacific Regional Director serving Northern California, Utah, and Hawai’i.  Previously, he was the AJC Regional Director in Los Angeles, JCRC Israel Center Director in Boston, and San Francisco Hillel Executive Director. Brysk served in the Israel Defense Forces and organized Palestinian-Israeli dialogue groups. He is a former cabinet member of the American Zionist Movement, provisional delegate to the US State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad, and representative to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. In 2013, the Republic of Poland honored him as an Officer of the Order of Merit. And in 2020, ADL recognized his professional excellence by presenting him with the Senn/Greenberg Award. He earned degrees from UC Berkeley in Political Science and from Tel Aviv University in International Relations.

Stan Levy received his BA in Economics from UCLA and his Law Degree from UCLA School of Law. He is a co-founder and a former Executive Director of Western Center on Law and Poverty. He is the Founding Executive Director of Public Counsel. He is a co-founder of Bet Tzedek and the Founding Executive Director of the Bet Tzedek Holocaust Survivors Justice Network, which has recovered over $25 million in German reparations to Holocaust survivors.

He was an adjunct faculty member of Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and developed its curriculum in Civil and Human Rights, Political Rights and Racism and the Law.

He is the former General Counsel of Guess?, Inc. and for 20 years he was a senior counsel at Manatt, Phleps & Ohillips. He received a Life Time Achievement Award from American Lawyer magazine and an Attorney of the Year Award from California Lawyer magazine, and received the ABA Pro Bono Publico Award on behalf of the Holocaust Survivors Justice Network. In the past several years he has been an attorney for Amicus in four cases before SCOTUS involving Nazi Confiscated Art. He is currently General Counsel of WorkingNation, a media non-profit venture.

Stan is a rabbi and founder of Congregation B’nai Horin-Children of Freedom in Los Angeles  and a founder  and faculty member of  The Academy for Jewish Religion, Calif. a post-denominational Jewish Seminary in Los Angeles. He and his wife Lynda have been married for 57 years, they have 3 grown sons and 7 grandchildren.   

Marlene Trestman is a lawyer and the author of Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin. She is currently working on a second book, Most Fortunate Unfortunates: New Orleans’s Jewish Orphans’ Home, 1856-1946 (LSU Press, forthcoming). Both books draw on Trestman’s personal experiences. Orphaned at age 11, Trestman grew up as a client of the Jewish Children’s Regional Service, the agency that formerly ran the orphanage in which Margolin was raised. During the time they spent together while Trestman attended college and law school, and started her legal career, Margolin inspired her future biographer.

For the last decade of Trestman’s thirty-year legal career with the Maryland Attorney General’s office, she served as Special Assistant to the Attorney General and was responsible for enforcing laws related to public health and consumer protection. In recognition of her contributions, Trestman twice received the Attorney General’s Exceptional Service Award.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate and former trustee of Goucher College, Trestman earned her law degree from George Washington University and her MBA from Loyola University of Maryland’s Sellinger School, where she has taught law.

A New Orleans native who lives in Baltimore, Trestman has received research grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Supreme Court Historical Society, Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, American Jewish Archives, and Texas Jewish Historical Society.

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