A year ago today, we received word of the devastating loss of one of the most powerful and progressive women in history. I remember my heart dropping as I read the headline on the train.
“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87.”
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Ginsburg received her Bachelor’s degree from Cornell. It was there that she met her husband, Martin Ginsburg. She then gave birth to two children, and briefly attended Harvard. She soon transferred to Columbia Law School, where she graduated joint first in her class. She worked on special projects within the field of law for many years, and went on to teach at Rutgers and Columbia.
President Jimmy Carter appointed her to the US Court of Appeals in 1980, where she served until being appointed to the United States Supreme Court in 1993 by then President Bill Clinton.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a personal and political hero to many. Throughout her career, she exceeded expectations as a woman working in the field of law, and pushed for women’s rights and gender equality. Personally, I believe she paved the way for many female politicians we see today, who may not be in their current position if not for the work of the notorious RBG.
Throughout her career, she defended women and fought against discrimination on the basis of gender. She was also very verbal in her views on abortion, stating to the New York Times that “the basic thing is that the government has no buisness making that decision for a woman.” She also upheld and wrote several majority opinions involving disability rights, mental health, and voting rights.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born into a jewish family. Though she chose not to practice due to gender disparities in Jewish prayer, her heritage makes a certain aspect of her passing particularly interesting.
She died on the evening of September 18th, 2020. Not only was this the time of the Sabbath, but on the Jewish calendar, this was the “Erev Rosh Hashanah,” which means the eve of the New Year. A holy time for Jewish people, this date brought new meaning to her death for many.
According to Jewish teachings, a person who dies just before the new year was extremely righteous, and did not get enough time on this earth. If they die right before Rosh Hashanah, God kept them alive until the last possible moment because they were needed most where they were.
This teaching is particularly relevant to Ginsburg, as she continued to serve on the Supreme Court, despite her age and health complications. She could have retired or stepped down, but she continued to work hard and defend the rights of women where she knew she was so desperately needed.
It has only been a year since the death of this incredibly intelligent, determined, and powerful woman. Her hard work and dedication to gender equality and women’s rights makes her a role model to many, and a hero for all.
May her legacy empower women of all ages, and motivate them to act boldly and continue to fight for equality. May she rest in Power.