This article appeared in the June 26, 2015 Jewish Advocate.

Lawyers rock for Jewish social justice event

By Susie Davidson

Advocate correspondent


(from left) Arthur Zack, Frank Riccio, Stan Helinski, Ed Riccio, Andy Fischer

This Sunday night, the Brookline Veterans Post will be rocking and rolling for justice.

You’ll hear some Eddie Vedder emanating from the building, home of Brookline VFW #864 and the American Legion #11, located across from Brookline’s Main Library. There may be some Van Morrison, John Cougar Mellencamp, Dylan, possibly some Grateful Dead, and alternative sounds beyond Pearl Jam - all of it performed by members of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers (MATA). By day, the members of JustUs are trial attorneys; by night they are musicians, and the gig will be the first stop of their “World Tour.”

The concert/party is in support of JALSA, the Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action. JALSA is a Boston-based social justice organization founded in 2001 that declares itself devoted to the defense of civil rights, the protection of constitutional liberties, and the pursuit of social and economic justice for all. JALSA’s executive director, Sheila Decter, said the evening will feature an undisclosed surprise treat, perhaps a special guest appearance or another musical performance, during intermission. Refreshments will also be served.

JustUs’ debut was playing for a December, 2012 Norfolk County Bar Association holiday party,” said bassist Andy Fischer, a Brookline town meeting member who is involved in town politics, Democratic and environmental politics, and practices law at his downtown firm, primarily representing bicyclists. The band played several outdoor concerts over the past two summers, and have been special guests at senior talent shows at the Sussman House apartments on Pleasant Street in Brookline, produced by dance and entertainment promoter Dan Ben- Dror Marshall.

Think that this is a good-vibes benefit for good causes bound to be laden with bumbled intros, off-course musical chartings, and songs begun over and over? Think again. “Stan [Helinski] is a criminal lawyer who played in a rock and roll band as a teen,” said Fischer, pridefully touting his bandmates’ chops. “Frank [Riccio] also has played in rock bands since growing up in Somerville, and Art [Zack] has drummed with lots of other groups over the years.”

This is his own first rock band; however he is also no musical slouch. “It’s something I have always wanted to do, but I have been playing folk and blues guitar for 50 years now, and electric bass guitar since the 70s,” said Fischer, who has played bass in Latin jazz ensembles, and in a Klezmer and Jewish music band.

Basically we are all having the time of our lives,” he said, fulfilling the oft-heard credo that deep down, every doctor and lawyer really just wants to be a rock star.“We are billing the JALSA benefit show as the kickoff of our 2015 ‘World’ Tour, which may include playing for MATA functions and other benefit concerts for worthy causes like JALSA.”

A benefit concert for the Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action (JALSA) featuring all-trial- lawyers rock group JustUs, Sunday, June 28, 7 p.m., at the Stephan F. Rutledge VFW Post, 386 Washington St, Brookline. Advance tickets $20, $25 at the door. RSVP or information: 617-227-3000 or