Rhode Island Judges and Lawyers for Israel



Recently, a group of Rhode Island judges and lawyers came together to form a new organization based upon a unifying theme – a concern for both the State of Israel and the rise in anti-Zionist/anti-Semitic rhetoric.

This new group, Rhode Island Judges and Lawyers For Israel (RIJLI), has brought together a diverse membership of almost 40 judges and lawyers and is steadily growing. RIJLI’s membership represents a demographically diverse cross section of the Rhode Island Jewish community with members from Westerly to Woonsocket who include: Democrats, independents and Republicans; women and men; Reform Jews, Conservative Jews, Orthodox Jews and all those in between; those who have been involved in other Jewish groups; as well as those for whom this is their first involvement with a “Jewish organization.”

Many of us have known each other through our involvement in civic and social activities, and some just through our professional and courtroom encounters, but we all share a love for Israel and a concern for the future of our people.

As judges and lawyers, we are trained to examine and weigh the evidence regarding any given issue before we commit to a position. Unlike the court of public opinion, we base our positions on the relevant facts as well as the law. As a group, we are troubled over the anti-Israel rhetoric that makes its way into the media, onto our college campuses and into our public discourse, often without factual basis. We believe that a strong, factually based retort is necessary to respond to the anti-Israel positions, such as those calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS), that are becoming more prevalent on college campuses and that are promoted in the media and in political institutions both domestically and internationally.

On March 2, Secretary of State John Kerry addressed this issue at a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva stating, “No one in this room can deny the bias against Israel in the United Nations Human Rights Council. … The Human Rights Council’s obsession with Israel actually risks undermining the credibility of the entire organization. … The United States will oppose arbitrary efforts to delegitimize Israel. … Not just in the United Nations Human Rights Council, but wherever it occurs.”  As we know, anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric is not limited to the international stage. Many of us read about it or encounter it in our own daily experience.

In response, RIJLI is committed to our mission:

To work with the established Rhode Island Jewish community infrastructure and pro-Zionist groups of all religions to educate the public about the true history, politics and importance of the Jewish State of Israel; to add our voice to the ongoing discourse, in a measured and judicious manner, by robustly defending the State of Israel and the Jewish people; and to aid and assist in responding to those who unfairly attack fellow members of the Jewish community and/or the State of Israel, and defend those who are unfairly attacked.

To date, we have been pursuing our mission by:  writing fact-based articles in the Providence Journal and The Voice; supporting local pro-Israel groups with respect to Israeli programming and education; interceding on behalf of a local professor who was being unfairly maligned for his pro-Israel position; meeting with and engaging our Jewish community leaders in continuing to promote a pro-Israel agenda; meeting with representatives from our local colleges’ Jewish organizations; writing an open letter to our congressional delegation regarding issues impacting the State of Israel; and responding to the BDS movement.

RIJLI members plan to contribute articles to The Voice on a regular basis that we hope will be informative and spark positive dialogue about the State of Israel both within our own community and in the greater Rhode Island community. Knowledge and education have been critical to the survival of the Jewish nation over the millennia. Now is no different. The facts, both good and sometimes not so good, surrounding the issues facing the State of Israel are readily available and verifiable because Israel is an open society, buoyed by a free press and broad protections of the right of free speech. Israel is a vibrant, democratic, inclusive state, located in a tumultuous neighborhood. We look forward to sharing our insights, based on the facts, surrounding the successes and challenges of the Jewish State of Israel.


The following are the lawyers and judges for Israel:

Hon. Edward H. Newman

Hon. Howard I. Lipsey

Russell D. Raskin, Esq.

Steven E. Snow, Esq.

Bruce W. Gladstone, Esq.

Jeffrey H. Gladstone, Esq.

Michael B. Mellion, Esq.

Hon. Mitchell S. Riffkin

Carl S. Levin, Esq.

Joel S. Chase, Esq.

Susan Leach DeBlasio, Esq.

Matthew L. Lewiss, Esq.

Allen Kirshenbaum, Esq.

Steven J. Hirsch, Esq.

Steve Linder, Esq.

Joel K. Gerstenblatt, Esq.

Michael B. Isaacs, Esq.

Hon. Jodi M. Gladstone

David L. Yavner, Esq.

Paul Kessimian, Esq.

Hon. Peter L. Lewiss

Miriam A. Ross, Esq.

Samuel A. Miller, Esq.

Barbara Harris, Esq.

Charles S. Sokoloff, Esq.

Peter G. Berman, Esq.

Hon. Marvin H. Homonoff

Dan Chaika, Esq.

Murray Gereboff, Esq.

Sanford Gorodetsky, Esq.