Honor roll


Judge Bernard Friedman and his wife, Rozanne, will be in the spotlight at the Anniversary Dinner on October 30.

Photo by Robert Chase

Federal jurist and wife to be saluted Oct. 30th

By Tom Kirvan
Legal News

Widely respected as a "guardian of justice," U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman along with his wife, Rozanne, will be the honorees this fall at the 32nd Anniversary Dinner for the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills.

The event will take place the evening of Sunday, Oct. 30 at the Holocaust Center, and will include keynote speaker Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, whose "historic legal battle against Holocaust denial is depicted" in the Hollywood movie "Denial," scheduled for release this fall.

The Friedmans have been longtime supporters of the Holocaust Center, and are frequent visitors to Israel to "demonstrate how much we care for our Jewish homeland," said the federal jurist, who formerly served as chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

In a letter paying tribute to this year's honorees, organizers of the Anniversary Dinner said that the Friedmans are key leaders in the fight against the scourge of prejudice, racism, and apathy.

"Judge Bernard A. Friedman is widely admired as a guardian of justice and a protector of human rights," the dinner organizers wrote. "His ruling that Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, extending marriage rights to all who wish to marry. Rozanne Friedman is a caring and skilled psychotherapist, who has helped many people gain tools to cope with life's challenges. We recognize these community leaders for their dedication to our shared ideals of standing up for equality and fighting against oppression."

A member of the federal bench since 1988, Friedman served as chief judge of the U.S. District Court based in Detroit from 2004-09. A Detroit native, he graduated from the former Detroit College of Law and served as an assistant prosecutor in Wayne County before spending 12 years in private practice. He was a 48th District Court judge prior to his appointment to the federal bench, and formerly served in the U.S. Army JAG Corps.

"My wife and I are deeply honored to be recognized," said Judge Friedman. "We are firm believers in the mission of the Holocaust Center and do whatever we can to be supportive."

In June, Friedman and U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade helped organize a tour of the Holocaust Museum for scores of federal personnel. At the time, Friedman said the tour was a profound experience for him and others.

"The Holocaust Center moves me each time I enter its doors," said Friedman, who along with his wife have two children and six grandchildren. "It traces the path of evil leading up to and during World War II, and yet it is full of stories of courage and heroism that need to be recognized fully in the years to come."

Over the past decade, Friedman has made numerous trips to Israel to demonstrate his support for the Jewish homeland. During the fall of 2011 and the autumn of 2012, Friedman took part in the "Volunteers for Israel" program, volunteering on behalf of the Israeli Defense Forces at military bases in the Middle East country.

Some of the volunteers worked in the base armory, "cleaning and repairing equipment, while others served in a warehouse setting, checking and packing tents, gas masks, tent stakes, clothing, ponchos, and other supplies," according to Friedman.

"The volunteers performed jobs and accomplished tasks that would otherwise have been done by soldiers or Israeli civilians," Friedman explained. "We quickly came to appreciate the need for our efforts and the contribution we made to the country and its defense. It was most fulfilling."

Friedman said he expects to return to Israel next year on a similar mission, and will continue to make the journey despite the inherent risks involved in the turbulent Mideast.

"Obviously, the threats are everywhere in the Middle East, and we must remain committed to help find peaceful solutions to the problems that confront us," he said.

Published: Fri, Sep 02, 2016