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TCL > September 1998 Issue > A Little Diversion

September 1998       Vol. 27, No. 9       Page  15
CBA President's Message to Members

A Little Diversion
by Ben S. Aisenberg

"Take me out to the ballgame. . . ."

In my first two columns, I wrote about professionalism and judicial independence, subjects I feel strongly about. This month's column, however, is meant to provide diversion, something we all need in order to put our goals in perspective. The diversion is in the form of a book—a feel-good book.

The Book

Snow in August, by Pete Hamil, takes place in an era I'm familiar with—the mid-1940s—and in a location I am somewhat familiar with—New York City, more particularly Brooklyn.

It features as its main characters two very diverse persons: an eleven-year-old Irish Catholic altar boy, and a Rabbi who has survived the concentration camps of the Second World War. The two meet quite by accident on a snowy Saturday when the Rabbi needs the lights turned on in his small temple, but is unable to do it himself because of religious constraints. He thus asks Michael Devlin to do it for him.

From there, a strange and wonderful relationship emerges, wherein the Rabbi teaches Michael Yiddish and Michael introduces the Rabbi to American habits and culture, including our national pastime, baseball. The story unfolds in an era of bigotry, hooliganism, and intolerance, set against the backdrop of Jackie Robinson's breaking into the major leagues. It takes us back to a once-magical place, Ebbets Field, and it simultaneously transports us back to sixteenth-century Prague and life in the ghetto. It is a young boy's search for justice and morality. It is a choice between good and evil, and for once, in a fantasy-filled ending aided by a mythical giant, good triumphs. With the additional help of unseen forces, David triumphs over Goliath, the righteous prevail, and injustice gets its just desserts.

The Message

A presidential column would not be complete without a modern-day message. Perhaps the message is that we are all like Michael, seeking a system where justice prevails for our clients each and every time, and where the rights of the downtrodden, the less fortunate, and those who do not have the wherewithal to participate in the system are protected. No, there are no fantasy endings in the real world. But hopefully, we, as lawyers, can do our part to impart to our justice system a sense of fairness and integrity.

We also can work to slay the dragons of injustice. We can pick up the torch left by an Irving Andrews or a Dale Tooley—or follow in the footsteps of state and federal Judge Bill Doyle or Minoru Yasui, the latter two featured in the July issue of The Colorado Lawyer. In doing so, we can be aided by our giants, and we can make our profession, our judicial system, and society as a whole a better place. Try it—it will make you feel good, too.


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