Jewish Bar Association of Michigan banquet to honor judges May 23


 The Jewish Bar Association of Michigan (JBAM) is welcoming judges, lawyers, legal professionals and law students as it celebrates its first premiere indoor event since the beginning of the pandemic.

On Monday, May 23, at 6 p.m., JBAM will hold its annual awards banquet at the Westin Southfield hotel, 1500 Town Center.

Last year on a Zoom event, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel received JBAM’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg Champion of Justice Award, and Judge Avern Cohn was honored with JBAM’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

With the unfortunate passing of Cohn on February 4, JBAM has named its lifetime achievement award in memory of Cohn, the longtime community leader and stalwart of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

The recipient of the 2022 Avern Cohn Lifetime Achievement Award will be Judge Bernard Friedman, a senior judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

A native Detroiter, Friedman graduated Detroit College of Law and served in the U.S. Army JAG Corps. He worked in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, then entered private practice. He served on the bench of the 48th District Court in Bloomfield Township from 1982-1988.

In 1988, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. District Court. He was the chief judge from 2004-2009 and has been a senior judge since then. 

In a landmark case in 2014, Friedman ruled that the Michigan’s banning of same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. The case was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, establishing the constitutional right nationwide.

Accepting JBAM’s 2022 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Champion of Justice Award will be Judge Michelle Friedman Appel, a judge since 2003 on the 45B District Court serving Oak Park, Huntington Woods, Pleasant Ridge, and Royal Oak Township.

Appel succeeded her father, Judge Benjamin Friedman, who served 34 years on the court. Her father passed away on February 4, the same day as Judge Cohn.

Appel graduated from University of Michigan and University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. For two decades prior to her judgeship, she was in private practice and was an Oakland County commissioner 1999-2002.

She serves as chief judge of her court and active in aiding the state court system and educating attorneys. She also is president of the Michigan District Judge’s Association. She has helped establish Veterans Treatment Courts in the county and a Mental Health Treatment Court in her district.

JBAM’s Volunteer of the Year is its first president, Rachel Loebl Serman. Serman was a founder of the organization in 2014. 

Serman, a Huntington Woods-based attorney, has worked tirelessly through the years as an officer, board member and committee member in all aspects of JBAM’s efforts to provide social, educational and charitable activities to the members and the community.

Every year, the JBAM awards a $1,500 scholarship to a law student who exemplifies the character and values of the late attorney Charles J. Cohen. Cohen stressed the importance of legal education. JBAM chose to honor the life and legacy of Cohen by naming its educational scholarship in his name.

This year’s scholarship recipient of the Charles J. Cohen Esq. Scholarship is Louis Magidson, a second-year student at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law. A graduate of Michigan State University, he is the son of attorneys Rochelle Lento and Mark Magidson of Detroit. 

Louis Magidson focused on international relations and economics at Michigan State University. While an undergraduate, he studied in Brussels, Belgium, learning about the function of the European Union. Since then, he has explored many areas of law while working at several law firms.

Tickets to JBAM’s banquet are $36 for members and $45 for others. To register, visit For information about the Jewish Bar Association of Michigan, visit or email Ellie Mosko at 

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