AAJLJ Programs

Pursuit of Justice Award

The AAJLJ presents an annual “Pursuit of Justice” award at a ceremony often held at the United States Supreme Court, to distinguished jurists and attorneys who exemplify the Biblical dictate, “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” Past recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan and Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak.


National Conference of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists

Each year, the AAJLJ organizes, in conjunction with Chabad, a National Conference of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, which provides attorneys from across the United States the opportunity to network while attending CLE-accredited programs on topics connected to Jewish Law, Israel, and the broader Jewish community.

Law School Dean and International Law Scholar Missions to Israel

The AAJLJ, in conjunction with Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), runs missions to Israel, specifically tailored for law school deans and international law scholars. The trips have provided the American deans and legal scholars with an increased awareness and understanding of the Israeli legal system and the security and policy challenges confronting the country. In addition, the trips have fostered relationships between legal academics in the United States and their counterparts in Israel. The trips include meetings with Israeli Supreme Court Justices, senior government officials, and leading legal minds in Israeli academia. The itinerary also includes visits to points of historical, cultural, strategic and religious interest throughout Israel.

Through its programs, AAJLJ promotes an understanding of the principles of traditional Jewish Law among members of the bar, the judiciary, and the public. But the highlight of our year is the Pursuit of Justice Award. Previous recipients include Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (the first recipient), Justice Elena KaganJustice Stephen BreyerJudge Judith KayeJudge Aharon Barak of the Israel Supreme CourtNathan LewinSeth WaxmanRobert WeinbergJack Olender, Martin Mendelsohn, Ben Brafman, and most recently, Hon. Guido Calabresi and Hon. Michael Mukasey.


Nathan Lewin, left, presents Benjamin Brafman with his POJ award. 

In 2013, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) and the American Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists (AAJLJ) announced their inaugural Law Deans to Israel mission.  The mission took place from June 1st –June 8th, with law deans attending from the following schools: Rutgers University, University of Michigan, Widener University, Florida International University, UCLA School of Law, Loyola University Chicago, The Chicago-Kent College of Law of the Illinois Institute of Technology, and University of Missouri.

Some of the main highlights of the trip included a meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Israel, the Hon. Daniel B. Shapiro; a meeting with Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, Esq. from Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center – a civil rights non-governmental organization that combats terrorist organizations through lawsuits brought on behalf of victims of terror; a dinner reception hosted by SPME board member Prof. David Menashri, President of the College of Law and Business; Ramat Gan, featuring Law Deans from leading Israeli Universities; members of the Israeli Judiciary; and leading members of the Israeli Bar. As a mission aimed to provide a deeper understanding of Israel and its surrounding neighborhood through its religious, political, economic, social, and geographical dimensions, the Law Deans to Israel mission continues to be one of the AAJLJ’s most important undertakings.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Chicago-Kent, Loyola deans visit Israel