I just watched the service in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court for Ruth Bader Ginsberg. She lays in state on the Lincoln Catafalque, the platform built to hold the casket of Abraham Lincoln after his assassination. This honor hasn’t been given to a Supreme Court Justice since the death of William Howard Taft, and has never been bestowed upon a woman.
As I listened to Rabbi Holtzblatt chant the 23rd Psalm, Adonai Roi — a traditional Jewish song of mourning — in Hebrew and English, I marveled at the wonder of our country. A place where the right to practice your religion was at the heart of people who came early to our shores. How beautiful that we could honor this amazing force of nature, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, with her Jewish traditions, even though that very religion, was one of the stumbling blocks when she went to find a job.
We may push and pull when it comes to religion and diversity in this country, but I hope this moment of clarity, in honoring a remarkable woman, helps us remember how important it is to respect every individual’s beliefs, whether we share them, or not. It’s our diversity that makes us strong, whether it comes to religion, nationality, race, or sexual preference.
I, along with countless others, was so moved by Rabbi Holtzman’s eulogy, it bears repeating again and again.
“To be born into a world that does not see you, that does not believe in your potential, that does not give you a path for opportunity or a clear path for education — and despite this, to be able to see beyond the world you are in, to imagine that something can be different — that is the job of a prophet,” She went on to say, “It’s the rare prophet who not only imagines a new world, but also makes that new world a reality in her lifetime. This was the brilliance and vision of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”
If you weren’t a woman who struggled for the chance to work and simply be considered equal in the ’50s to the ’70s, you may not understand the gravity of those words, or how challenging it was for a woman to get the respect men automatically got. To surpass that, do it with class, and serve on the Supreme Court for 27 years, helping to create much needed change, is truly something to marvel at.
Rest in peace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, of the Supreme Court of the United States. You’ve more than earned it.