Many lawyers thrive on conflict, but for J.R. Rothstein, the “zero-sum game” of litigation was dissatisfying, prompting him to move into real estate law.
“When you’re a transactional attorney, everybody wins, you fight hard for your client and you negotiate on their behalf,” said Rothstein. “But at the end you want it to work; you only win if the other side wins.”
A dislike of conflict — and a love for bringing people together — seems to be the cornerstone of Rothstein’s volunteer work in the Jewish community. Now finishing his Fulbright scholarship teaching Jewish and Muslim real estate law at the University of Toronto, in his spare time Rothstein works to bring Jews together in conversation, both with their fellow Jews and with those outside the community. He has facilitated Muslim-Jewish dialogue in his work with the American Jewish Committee and the American Sephardic Foundation, founded a Shabbat dinner and discussion series for young professionals in Manhattan around topics related to business and professional development, and helped found a Moishe House in Hoboken, N.J, to bring young Jews together in a Jewish communal living experience.
A dislike of conflict — and a love for bringing people together — seems to be the cornerstone of Rothstein’s volunteer work in the Jewish community.
“I don’t think I really fit into a box,” said Rothstein. “I have an instant love for every single Jew and I really want to make sure that everyone feels included in Jewish spaces.”
As the child of a Jew by choice and a baal teshuvah (one who becomes more religious as an adult), Rothstein felt confident in a variety of Jewish environments. His membership in the NAACP and the Sons of the American Revolution endowed him with patriotism and a love for giving back.
“Something I got from my grandmother is an interest in public service,” Rothstein said. “The idea that somehow you’re just going to come into this world and be a passive participant and not be active in the course of human events and history is not something that is acceptable in my family.”
Speedy chef: Rothstein can cook an entire Shabbat meal in one hour.