Jewish teaching says those who die just before the Jewish new year are the ones God has held back until the last moment because they were needed most & were the most righteous.” ___________________________ Nina Tottenberg
This is of little comfort. If feels completely unjust. Her loss to America is another blow in this year of blows and disappointments. If G-d were holding her back until the last minute because she was needed the most and was the most righteous, wouldn’t G-d have waited until January to take her from us? It is a bit odd in that all of us have known for years that any minute she could die. But the reality of it is a far greater blow to me and my psychic stability than I imagined. Each time she came to the precipice, she pulled back from the edge to live another day and to continue to be a champion for human rights on the Court. Her endurance, integrity, tenacity and dedication to a just and righteous world was without pretension or comparison. Through Shana Knizhnik’s invention, we had come to know her as The Notorious RBG and she became a hero to so many of us, young and old and in-between. She became a role model to a whole generation of young women. My 18 year-old niece was so saddened by her passing as if she had been a relative.
would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” _______________________________________________________________________________________Ruth Bader Ginsberg
And, she most certainly did. The first thing that came to my mind, of course, was the loss of the struggle for women’s reproductive rights. And while she had felt that the Court should not have made Roe v. Wade such an expansive ruling, there is no doubt that a woman’s control over her own body was central to her thinking. But her loss is even more than this, which is unimaginable really. She was the voice for civil rights, LBGTQ+ rights, voting rights, environmental justice and more. The lurch to the far right by the Court may very well undo much of what she accomplished. Not unlike what Trump has done to Obama’s legacy. But because it is the Court, it will be two generations before this dark veil is lifted, if ever. How can so much rest on one person?
During the last three years, I have come to feel that our democracy is in grave danger. Today, greater than ever. The damage to the “soft tissue” of our institutions, to the truth, to the free press, to our democratic values is sustained and deep. Her death may hasten it further. It is about all of us and the future of our democracy. Let us find a way to carry on and prevent, with our our might and action, the freight train of autocracy that is bearing down upon us.
oday, I am thinking about the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam, which roughly translates as “world repair.” It has come to mean the obligation of all of us to take social action to achieve social justice–equal protection under the law, women’s control over their own bodies, dignity for all. With RBG’s death, we are each called upon to do our part to carry her work forward. Onward.