Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death on Rosh HaShanah has triggered a tidal wave of grief. That she left us at the very start of the new year has brought to mind the Jewish belief that righteous souls die on the Sabbath or Jewish holy days. Yes, the Jewish community feels this loss intensely, but the grief extends well beyond us, piercing the very heart of our nation. In the Talmud, we learn that “when a sage, dies all are [her] kin.”
In this spirit, RBG may be embraced as one America’s modern sages. Who could have imagined when Ginsburg was born 87 years ago in Brooklyn, that she would one day be the first Jewish woman to sit on the highest court in the land, and to be the first woman and first Jew to lie in state in the rotunda of Capitol Building — an honor reserved for 33 men before her? Even in death, RBG has smashed another glass ceiling.