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Hon. Bernard, died at the age of 99 in the comfort of his home with his devoted wife of 71 years, Cele, by his bedside. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey on August 21, 1913, to Sarah and Abraham Dorfman, Bernie lived most of his life in Hillsdale.
Bernie practiced law, which was his passion, well into his nineties. Even after he closed his Hackensack practice after 50 years, he moved his files, law journals and Rolodex and set up shop in his finished basement. Clients never stopped calling.
"He was totally dedicated to his work, seven days a week," said close friend and former Hillsdale mayor Tim O'Reilly. "He was always available to talk to a client, and he stayed humble every day of his life." Bernie was equally devoted to his family, and as he watched them grow up, he crisscrossed the country and the globe, attending bar mitzvahs, weddings and graduations in Oregon, Florida, California and Israel.
Bernie is survived by his wife Cele, daughters Joanne Apter of Corvallis, Oregon, and Laurie Soff and her husband Matthew of Plantation, Florida. He also leaves behind four grandsons: Zach Apter and his wife Theresa, Simon Apter, Jesse Soff and his wife Katie and Evan Soff. He was the proud great-grandfather of Kellen Soff.
Bernie was most proud of his role as Municipal Court judge in Hillsdale, a position he held for 24 years. At the time, he was the oldest judge in Bergen County. He loved serving his community. He also had been a municipal judge for 27 years in Westwood, Emerson and Washington Township. During this time, he was President of the Bergen County Municipal Court Judges Association and served on the New Jersey Supreme Court Committee on Municipal Courts.
He spent time as a Hearing Officer in the family Division of the Superior Court of New Jersey and was a Mediator in the Superior Court, Bergen County. He also was elected councilman in Hillsdale and served as the borough attorney for Woodcliff Lake.
Bernie was admitted to practice in the federal and state courts of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts as well as before the United States Supreme Court. He graduated from New York Law School. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
Despite working long hours, Bernie always found time to eat chocolate ice cream and listen to Frank Sinatra, a fellow Hobokenite!
Services will be held at 1 PM on Friday May 10th at the Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors, 402 Park Street, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601. Internment will follow at Cedar Park Cemetery, 735 Forest Avenue, Paramus, New Jersey.
Should friends desire, donations may be made in Bernie's memory to; Jewish National Fund.
Published in The Record on May 8, 2013