Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg

September 21, 2020

Today we want to honor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by reflecting on her life and legacy. Also known as the Notorious RBG, Ruth was a fearless fighter for women’s rights, an insightful lawyer, and well respected judge.  Last night, Judy, Calanit, and I drove to the supreme court to view the memorial that has been set up in her honor. Though the full extent of her impact is immeasurable, the piles of flowers, signs, rocks, letters, posters, and messages written in chalk, which currently lay on the sidewalk in front of the Supreme court, are a testament to her influence.
Universally revered, she is especially admired by young girls and women today. That admiration will undoubtedly transcend generations, as we are all undoubtedly grateful to her for the contributions she has made in the fight for gender equality. In Jewish tradition, it is said that someone who passes away on Rosh Hashanah is a tzaddekes, and that could not be more true in this situation. Ruth Bader Ginsburg and all her accomplishments made a difference for so many people especially women.
When she joined the court in 1993, she was at a clear disadvantage. She was the second woman on the Supreme Court EVER, and first Jewish woman on the Supreme Court. A role model for all, she was especially important to members of the Jewish community. After attending Cornell, she attended both Harvard law and Columbia law. She had an extensive legal background and was an incredibly smart woman. Before she sat as a justice on the court, she argued 6 cases in front of the supreme court, winning 5. She won the right for women to take out a mortgage without a man, and to be able to take children into a place of work. RBG didn’t always have an easy time on the bench.
Being a supreme court justice is a massive responsibility, but what initially made it difficult for her was the immense amount of sexism she faced from her male colleagues. However, she persevered. Always a fighter, she was able to beat cancer twice. Her determination is truly admirable.  During her time as a justice, she judged many controversial cases. Some include  women’s reproductive rights and LGBTQ rights. She understood the value of progress, inclusivity and empathy. In looking back on history she recognized the need to move forward and progress. Ruth knew that every decision she made would impact not only the America of today, but the America of future generations as well. She was a proud Jew, and articulated how proud she was of her Jewish roots frequently. As she said, “The demand for justice runs through the entirety of Jewish history and Jewish tradition.”
What many people don’t realize is that they have so much to thank RBG for. She made our country more inclusive and understanding within the context of American law. She made a difference in the way women are viewed in the workplace, especially in government positions. She was truly an amazing person, who cared so much for others, and always did her best to improve our future. What’s most important about RBG, and the future that lies ahead for the Supreme Court and our country at large, is her ability to place herself above her party, and above her beliefs. The job of a Supreme Court justice is to look at national issues through the lense of constitutional law, not personal motives. It’s the highest court in the land and the most honorable position one can receive. She served our country with grace, justice, love, and relentless strength. May we all look to justice Ginsburg as a model, For not only how we view the law, but how we treat each other. Look to your neighbors that may feel differently about some things, embrace those differences, engage in positive dialogue, and above all, make sure love endures.