Tag Archives: Judge

Jew of the Week: Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (b. 1933) was born in Brooklyn to an observant Conservative Jewish family. After earning a degree from Cornell, she pursued law at Harvard – one of just nine women in a class of 500 – and then completed her law studies at Columbia. During this time, she became the first ever woman to be published in two law reviews. She would later co-found the first law journal dedicated to women’s rights, and participated in some of the greatest cases on women’s rights before the Supreme Court. Not surprisingly, she is considered one of the key figures in ending gender discrimination. In the early 60’s, Ginsburg was a law researcher, spending time at the prestigious Lund University in Sweden (and co-authoring a book in Swedish). Following this, she was a law professor at Rutgers, and then at Columbia, where she was the first female professor to get tenure. In 1980, Ginsburg was appointed to the US Court of Appeals, and after 13 years of service, was elected to the Supreme Court (by an overwhelming 96 to 3 Senate vote). She has served continuously since then, and still rules on the Supreme Court today, despite being the oldest Justice at 82 years of age, and having battled two different cancers. Amazingly, she has never missed a single day of her Supreme Court duties. In 2012, she traveled to Egypt to assist in their transition to a democracy. True to her feminist roots, a couple of months ago Ginsburg co-authored ‘The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover’ that looks at the central role of the female figures in the Exodus story. She has been ranked by Forbes as one of the ‘100 Most Powerful Women’ and among TIME’s list of 100 greatest icons.

Update: Sadly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18, 2020.

Words of the Week

You can’t have it all, all at once. Who—man or woman—has it all, all at once? Over my lifespan I think I have had it all. But in different periods of time things were rough. And if you have a caring life partner, you help the other person when that person needs it.
– Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Jew of the Week: Dvorah

One-Woman Supreme Court

Dvorah (c.1107-1067 BCE) Also known as “Deborah”, she was the fourth Judge and Leader of Israel after Moses. A One-Woman Supreme

A Date Palm. Deborah Would Have Sat Under Something Similar

Court, she would sit under a palm tree all day and judge the toughest legal issues of the day. At the time, Israel was overrun by a Canaanite megalomaniac named Yavin, and his general Sisra. Dvorah inspired a rebellion and led the battle towards a miraculous victory, freeing the Jews from oppression. She subsequently composed a beautiful poem – “the Song of Dvorah” – which we sing to this day (see Judges, chapter 5). A woman of incredible power, she is one of the Seven Prophetesses of Israel, led the nation for 40 years, and according to esoteric sources, could even communicate with beings from another planet! It is fitting that her name is Dvorah, meaning “bee”, whose honey is sweet but whose sting is painful.

Happy Adar and Shabbat Shalom!


Words of the Week

Said Rabbi Joshua ben Levi: When a person walks along the way, a troop of angels march before him and announce: “Make way for the image of the Holy One, Blessed Be He.”
Midrash Rabbah, Devarim 4