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Remembering Justice Ginsberg
We have written much this year of struggle, of our difficulty finding light in the darkness, of finding our way to each other in this era of plague. The passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Friday only puts another teetering coal on the ash heap of 2020. So much has been written already this evening and more will come in the days ahead. We don’t feel there is meaningfully more we can add, but we wanted to share with you her own words, when asked a few years ago how she would most like to be remembered:
"As someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something, as my colleague David Souter would say, outside myself. ‘Cause I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid."
That very much sounds like it could be one of us, slogging away trying to make things a little better through whatever abilities we have.
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, began at sundown Friday. There is, in Jewish tradition, a midrash or story-telling that it is just THE most righteous who die on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, at the very tail end of the old year, as their allotment was the most possible given here on Earth.
The Hebrew word for “most righteous” is Tzadik (צַדִּיק [tsaˈdik]) and is a title in Judaism given to people considered virtuous. The root of the word tzadik, is ṣ-d-q (צדק tsedek), which means "justice" or "righteousness." It is also the root of the word tzedakah ('charity', literally 'righteousness'); but where ‘charity’ is understood more to be spontaneous acts of goodwill and a marker of generosity; ‘tzedakah’ is an ethical, religious obligation to do what is right and just. When applied to a righteous woman, the term is modified to tzadeikes/tzadeket.
Notorious RBG died as she lived — tenacious, determined and righteous. Now are the politics raw and rough and wretched... but her life’s mission will continue to reverberate through her writings, animating ideas, and encouragement. And through us. May her memory always be called for blessings.
Honoring Justice Ginsberg
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Indivisible Kansas City is an area-wide, progressive, all-volunteer organization.
Our mission is to empower everyday people to actively engage
in the voting process and with their elected representatives
in order to build a more equal and just future for all of us.