PORTRAIT OF SIDNEY M. ARONOVITZ IN THE U.S. COURTHOUSE-KEY WEST IS A FITTING TRIBUTE TO MY FATHER By Tod Aronovitz | 06/02/14 | 0 Comment

Created by master pastel artist L.A. Cline, a commemorative portrait of Federal Judge Sidney M. Aronovitz, the late father of attorney Tod Aronovitz, can be viewed in the lobby of the Sidney M. Aronovitz United States Courthouse in Key West.

“This legacy portrait is symbolic of my father’s life commitment to his work and family, and preserves the memory of the generations before me who’ve influenced the way I represent our Florida citizens through the ‘Dignity in Law’ program,” Tod Aronovitz said.

Sidney Aronovitz graduated from the University of Florida-College of Law in 1943 and served as a Captain in the U.S. Military from 1943 to 1946, winning the Bronze Star. He began practicing law in Miami in 1946. In 1976, President Gerald Ford appointed him to the Federal Bench in Key West, where he served with distinction for the rest of his life.

Throughout his judicial career, Sidney Aronovitz protected the rights of the homeless, women, Cuban refugees and other minorities. In 1980, during the “Freedom Flotilla” in Key West, more than 2,000 vessels were seized by the coastguard for transporting Cuban refugees to the United States in response to Jimmy Carter’s “Open Arms” policy. Judge Aronovitz ordered all of the boats released and the $4.6 million dollars in fines against the boat owners cancelled.

Another memorable ruling involved Mel Fisher, who discovered the 1622 wreckage of the Spanish ship, Nuestra Señora de Atocha. Judge Sidney Aronovitz ruled that Fisher and private investors could retain their findings if they would donate 20% to the state. This ruling led to the adoption of the UNESCO Convention on Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage sites, which protects traces of human existence having been underwater for over 100 years.

Sidney Aronovitz has also had a large impact on government institutions. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed into law to have the U.S. Post Office, Custom House and Courthouse in Key West renamed the Sidney M. Aronovitz United States Courthouse.

Artist L.A. Cline said, “It was truly an honor for me to have the trust of his loving family to create the portrait of Sidney M. Aronovitz which adorns the lobby.”

A fine art reproduction of this painting also hangs in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, as part of their “Living Artist File” at the American Art and Portrait Gallery Library, as a referral for new commissions.

The generational connection to Tod Aronovitz does not end with Sidney Aronovitz, however. As reported on our ARONOVITZ LAW Blog in December 2012, for three generations, the family name has been at the forefront of the legal profession in Florida.

The religious school students associated with the Temple Israel of Greater Miami started an initiative to preserve the historical papers of Abraham “Abe” Aronovitz, the great uncle of Tod Aronovitz. Abe Aronovitz, who holds the distinction of being the only Jewish mayor ever to be elected by Miami residents, was a leader in anti-Nazi initiatives.

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