Spending all day in a robe means something very different for Ruth Bader Ginsburg than it does for most 83-year-old people. Ginsburg, born Joan Ruth Bader to Russian Jewish immigrants in the Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, has been serving as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court since 1993 and has been rocking the billowing, black gown ever since (with her fashion flair of choice: the lacy jabot).
Throughout her judicial and academic career Ginsburg has managed to shatter several glass ceilings, propel and enforce major social change and still delight the youngins with her modern, pop cultural appeal. The public’s adoration for the Justice has even earned her the beloved nickname, The Notorious R.B.G. — a tribute to the late American rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (“Biggie Smalls”). And perhaps in an eerie foreshadowing, the departed hip hop artist penned his song “Nasty Girl” as a spirited anthem for the women who have faced the scorn of President Donald Trump, a person Ginsburg has vowed to fight against in her continued quest for gender equality (though she did apologize for criticizing him). In a recent Q&A session at Stanford University, she has also made comments about hoping to change the process of the Electoral College.
Seven reasons we have a Jewess crush on Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
1. Ceiling breaker. Ginsburg did not have it easy as an ambitious woman in a time when sexism was far more prevalent than it is today, but that did not stop her. Despite facing discrimination because of her gender, in 1956 Ginsburg enrolled in Harvard Law School as one of nine women in her class of 500 and then transferred to Columbia Law School (where she tied for first in her class) and was the first woman to be on two major law reviews: the Harvard Law Review and the Columbia Law Review. In 1963 she entered academia as a professor at Rutgers Law School making her one of fewer than twenty women to be a law professor in the U.S. In addition, she was the first Jewish woman to be appointed to the Supreme Court and the second woman in history.
2. Gender equality. Ginsburg has devoted much of her career in the fight for gender equality and in 1970 she co-founded the Women’s Rights Law Reporter, the first law journal in the U.S. to focus exclusively on women’s rights. She also taught at Columbia University becoming the first tenured woman and in 1972, she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.
3. Strikes a cord. Though sometimes the Supreme court can verge on histrionic, Ginsburg knows to save the real theatrics for the stage. In 2015, the Jewish powerhouse performed in a production of Gaetano Donizetti’s opera “The Daughter of Regiment” at the Kennedy Center. Fun fact? This was not her first foray into theater. Brava R.B.G.
4. Rebbetzin Ginsburg. Most Jewish 13-year-old girls have a bat mitzvah: at that young age Ginsburg probably could have officiated one. After practicing Judaism at the East Midwood Jewish Center with her family, Ginsburg became practiced in the Jewish faith and while at a Jewish summer program at Camp Che-Na-Wah she came to act as the “camp rabbi.” She returned to her roots when in 2015 she released “The Heroic and Visionary Women of Passover” along with Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt. The feminist essay highlights the roles of five key women in the biblical saga.
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