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Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Feminist Passover Message

Supreme Court justice highlights women’s ‘crucial role’ in Exodus narrative

by
Stephanie Butnick
March 19, 2015
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at a Women's History Month reception in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks at a Women’s History Month reception in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

This year you can include Supreme Court Justice and general badass Ruth Bader Ginsburg in your Passover seder. Notorious RBG has released a reading of the Passover story that highlights the pivotal role of women in the Exodus narrative. The passage was co-written by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. and published by the American Jewish World Service for use in a Passover seder.

On Passover, Jews are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus and to see ourselves as having lived through that story, so that we may better learn how to live our lives today. The stories we tell our children shape what they believe to be possible—which is why at Passover, we must tell the stories of the women who played a crucial role in the Exodus narrative.

Ginsburg shows her Hebrew Bible chops, writing, “God alone lights the way out of the darkness in Genesis. But in Exodus, God has many partners, first among them, five brave women.”

“These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world,” she adds later. “They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day.” (Take that, Justice Alito.)

She concludes, “Retelling the heroic stories of Yocheved, Shifra, Puah, Miriam and Batya reminds our daughters that with vision and the courage to act, they can carry forward the tradition those intrepid women launched.”

Preach, RBG.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.

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