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When I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg...

In one chapter of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s inspiring collection of writings, My Own Words, her late husband Marty shares a story about the D.C. Circuit clerks who, in honor of her fiftieth birthday, collected “when-I-think-of-Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg” letters that they compiled into a book of warm recollections. Now, more than thirty years later, when her influence is as critical as ever, JWA put together our own compilation of letters celebrating and honoring the #Supreme Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Feel free to add your own in the comments below!

Stephanie Black Headshot

When I think of RBG, I think of someone who embodies both power and grace. Watching her scorching Supreme Court dissents and how she delicately rages is thrilling. She perfectly embodies how women can use their Judaism to guide their justice, not only in everyday life but in their work. She shows that it is more than possible to connect Jewish thought to some of the most important work being done in the country. The three words I would use to describe RBG? Power, tzedek, determination.

— Steph Black, Writer, Activist, and Student at American University

Michelle Gary, Headshot

I think of someone who is shy and ferocious at the same time. I think of someone who never lets obstacles stand in her way. I think of someone who has done more for gender equality in this country than anyone else alive.

— Michelle Kravtin Gary, JWA Board Member

Fredie Kay, President of the Woman's Suffrage Celebration Coalition of MA

I think of a woman of uncommon strength, calmness, and brilliant resolve. She has used those qualities to work within the law to apply clear thinking and sound reasoning to reveal and strive to eliminate the discrimination that has historically denied women the ability to take their rightful place beside men as equals in the world. Ruth Bader Ginsburg pursues justice for all with intelligence, dignity and determination. I am filled with appreciation for her commitment and perseverance to attain the fundamental goals of human rights for all, and particularly for women.

— Fredie Kay, Esq., President, Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of MA

Marlene Trestman, Lawyer and Author

As a woman lawyer, and especially as a Jewish woman lawyer, I have been deeply inspired by Justice Ginsburg’s important and lasting contributions to the Supreme Court and to our nation’s jurisprudence. Barely five minutes into the first argument on her first day on the bench, as I listened intently from my newly-earned seat as a member of the Supreme Court bar, Justice Ginsburg — who was the 92nd woman ever to argue at the Supreme Court and argued there a total of six times — began the sharp and surgical questioning she has practiced ever since.

— Marlene Trestman, author of Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin

2015-2016 Rising Voices Fellow Caroline Kubzansky

I think of incomprehensible fortitude — that one woman, so diminutive in stature, but containing a type of steel that not many others possess, should stand in a sea of maleness as a bulwark of feminism and equality so that others might see her and join her in her life’s work! And yet she’s still a human being who loves the opera and does pushups and for all her seriousness, occasionally jokingly chased her husband around her desk with scissors. Ruth Bader Ginsburg offers hope for driven young women like me. If she can make her way through legions of sexism and bias all the way to the Supreme Court, then certainly I can handle being called overenthusiastic or intimidating.

— Caroline Kubzansky, 2015-2016 Rising Voices Fellow

Nanette Fridman

I think of a trailblazer who paved the way for female attorneys and justices. Her profound belief in equality, especially of the sexes, has informed her jurisprudence and her approach to her family and personal life. She and her husband talked about having "a shared earnings/ shared parenting marriage."  I love Ruth Bader Ginsburg's authenticity and that she lives her values and speaks her mind. As a Jewish woman lawyer, I admire her keen intellect and work ethic through societal adversity and personal challenges. I also admire her ability to stay current and embrace her pop culture status of "Notorious RBG" and to pursue her interests beyond the court in opera, penning a feminist essay for Passover and more. What a full and wonderful life!

— Nanette Fridman, Founder and Principal, Fridman Strategies

Did you know that JWA has an active book club that brings together people from all over the world to engage with books by, about, and for Jewish women? Sign up to receive updates and read along with us!

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg from MAKERS
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Courtesy of "MAKERS: Women Who Make America"
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How to cite this page

Pugh, Mikki. "When I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg...." 5 August 2018. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on August 16, 2018) <https://jwa.org/blog/when-i-think-of-rbg>.

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