The Great Synagogue Law Service

February 5, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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Coinciding with the opening of the 2013 Law term, Sydney’s Great Synagogue has held its annual Law Service in the presence of the Chief Justice of NSW, Tom Bathurst.

Eddy Goldsmith, Steven Lewis and Ron Hoenig

Eddy Goldsmith, Steven Lewis and Ron Hoenig

Chied Justice Tom Bathurst and Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence

Chied Justice Tom Bathurst and Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence

The service was the traditional pageant of the judiciary including many senior Jewish and non-Jewish officers of the Court.

Rabbi Lawrence’s address explored the values which transcend and underpin law.

He said: “In being told to do that which is “right and good”, we are called upon to apply common sense and discrimination to circumstance.  When God instructs us to do that which is “right and good”, it is not a bland motherhood statement embracing the laws which are elsewhere clearly expressed.  It is a recognition that we can identify what is right and what is good and should apply those faculties rather than just nitpick at the letters and technicalities of legislation”.

Rabbi Lawrence used the occasion to condemn the offensive remarks (now withdrawn) by Rabbi Manis Friedman on child molestation.

There was not a seat to be had at The Law Service dinner.  Rabbi Lawrence, Reverend Andrew Sempell (the Rector of St James, King Street) and Mr Pervaiz Buttar, a former officer of the Pakistani Supreme court and an expert in Islamic law, discussed the intersections of religious law and secular society.

While religious jurisdiction is sometimes seen to contradict societal values, the speakers cited many examples of religious instruction being sought out and embraced for its valuable contribution to Australian life.

Rabbi Lawrence told J-Wire: “Everyone enjoyed an entertaining evening with a warm exchange of religious and legal viewpoints.”

The Great Synagogue and the  Chief Justice are exploring moving the 2014 Law Service to a weekday, in order to facilitate greater participation and attendance of observant practitioners.

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