There’s a much to learn from the late supreme court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her tenacity, her work ethic, her courage in soldiering on into her late eighties after losing her beloved husband, and being diagnosed with cancer are all noteworthy.
And then there is her wit.
Who wouldn’t admire a female supreme court justice blessed with enough chic and spunk to adorn her judicial robes with lace jabots?
Yes, she was an amazing woman, but the progressive Jewish press’s beatification of her is quite over the top.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have been an American hero, but she was not a Jewish one.
As a Jew, RBG deserves credit for owning her Judaism. Throughout her long career, she stuck with a Hebrew moniker, one which others might have changed in the name of professional advancement. And she likely took the heat for it.
As an American, she achieved historic gains in the area of women’s employment rights. That’s something we can all thank her for, but the rest of her legacy?
Let’s be frank. So-called reproductive rights and other aspects of the progressive agenda Ginsburg fought for are not values that Jews who follow the Torah can get on board with.
It’s fair to assume that Ginsburg didn’t know better. Highly educated and highly intelligent, she lacked the benefits of Jewish education, nor did she fill in the blanks as an adult.
Right now, RBG is splashed all over the headlines. Thousands of her fans stream into Washington to light candles in her memory. Her supreme court seat is draped in black. Her body lies in state, a non-Jewish honor that Jews disdain because it delays burial and hurts the departing soul.
Will she have a Jewish funeral? Her place of internment, Arlington National Cemetery, is not a Jewish graveyard. Her neighbors for eternity will be goyim.
Will anyone sit shiva? Say Kaddish every day for eleven months? These remain open questions, but given her highly secular lifestyle, it’s likely that she will forfeit these benefits.
In time someone will take her place on the court. It may be a Trump appointee, and then she’ll turn over in her grave, dishonoring her well-publicized final wish. Or perhaps her replacement will be a Biden pick, and then she’ll rest more easily.
In time, RBG’s alleged notoriety will fade. Her jabots will yellow, and her name will be forgotten, as are most names, but this story could have been different.
Imagine that Justice Ginsburg had embraced Judaism in all of its glory. Perhaps then she might have used her talents to do something for her people. Might she have become a latter-day Esther?
What if she would have stayed home? In one of the popular kids’ bios of her, the author suggests that that would have been a waste but is that really true?
In classical Jewish tradition, the mother, even if she’s not employed outside the home, is the builder of our nation. She’s the one who creates the future by raising children who will be loyal to the Torah.
A Jewish woman who fulfills this mission has a foothold in eternity. Her light shines forever.
Though she did raise two children, Ginsberg didn’t forge links in the golden chain that began at Sinai. Shockingly, Ginsburg officiated over the marriage of her grandson to a non-Jewish woman, joyfully participating in the destruction of her own future.
Soon the justice will be brought to eternal justice, but all is not lost.
What if those who care so profoundly about RBG’s legacy try to fix things by doing something authentically Jewish in her memory?
What about an RBG scholarship to a yeshiva where young men devote themselves to the study of Jewish law?
Someone might be inspired to establish an RBG memorial fund to help young Jewish couples. Perhaps someone can create RBG scholarships to support Jewish education for kids and adults?
Soon the much-vaunted justice will be brought to justice in the final reckoning all humans will someday face.
Now is the time to polish the tarnished sections of her legacy and guarantee RBG the excellent slice of eternity that she and all Jews deserve. END