ARRIVALS: A lawyer who answers to a higher authority

The purchase of a grave in Israel fueled the desire for a life here.

By ALAN ROSENBAUM
February 14, 2018 23:48
Tirtza Jotkowitz

Tirtza Jotkowitz. (photo credit: ALAN ROSENBAUM)

On a rainy Jerusalem afternoon, sitting comfortably in the well-appointed Jerusalem apartment where she lives with her husband, Tirtza Jotkowitz firmly and precisely recounts the key moments of her life. A successful attorney who specializes in the field of halachic estate planning, she carved out a legal career in the United States and now in Israel. Bright and brassy, she is a lawyer through-and-through. Amazingly, she did not begin law school until she was 44.

“I always had this dream of going to law school,” says Jotkowitz, wearing a fashionable head covering and dressed in muted shades of brown. “When I was in my junior year in college, I said to my father, ‘Abba, I’d like to go to law school when I finish college.’ He said, ‘You can’t do that. No frum [Orthodox] boy is going to marry you.’” Jotkowitz acceded to her father’s wishes, finished school, married and became a teacher of English and French. In 1974, she, her husband and their two daughters were living in Boro Park and needed to move. Uncertain of where to go, they consulted the Skverer Rebbe of New Square, New York.

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