SENSED something strange when the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists dispensed its 2008 Pursuit of Justice Awards.
Here was a roomful of lawyers and not one speaker invoked a lawyer joke. So many lawyers, and not one joke among them?
Surely Alan Dershowitz, late of Brooklyn and now of Harvard Law School, could have offered a Milton Berle pearl, to wit: A lawyer called his client, "Justice has been done." The client said, "Then we’ll sue."
Or this one which a reader emailed.
Attorney: "ALL your responses MUST be oral, okay? What school did you go?"
In a solemn gathering at the Cardozo Law School last week, Dershowitz presented an award to Irwin Cotler, member of the Canadian parliament and former minister of justice. The citation was a map, created by a cartographer in Jerusalem, of Eretz Yisrael in the time of King Solomon.
"Rambam, Maimonides," Cotler said, "wrote that we should see the world as half good and half evil. So just one good deed we do every day will in effect transform the entire universe."
Dershowitz said he wrote to the Norwegian Nobel committee to nominate Cotler for the Peace Prize.
Cotler mentioned his total ignorance of computers, videos, digital cameras and other essentials of modern civilization. When his son was three he said, "Daddy, can you help me fix the video?" Pop said he didn’t know how. "I know that," the kid said. "I just need you to pick me up."
David Rudenstine, the Cardozo Law School dean, presented an award to Barry Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld of the Innocence Project. Founded in 1992, the initiative has assisted 212 unjustly convicted prisoners prove their innocence, usually through DNA.
Accepting a tzedaka (charity) box as his award, Neufeld remarked, "Barry and I live in Brooklyn. You could have ordered that cartographer to make a map of Brooklyn. We could use that."