Notorious R.B.G: you are my hero!

This is me, doing my best RBG. Perhaps we could be shvesters?

Tell me a story about a young girl, born in 1933 during the height of the depression, growing up facing antisemitism, blatant sexism, and inequality, and I’ll know you are talking about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, my hero. Oh, Ruth, you are one powerful Yiddisheh momma that dares to live every day #livingfearlesslyauthentic. Let me tell you about her.

Nothing ever did or will stop her. If she disagreed, you knew about it. If she ever wanted something to change, she stood up and fought for it — and that is still true today. She lives and breathes strength, integrity, and elegance. She stands up for equality when others don’t even recognize the discrimination. She is a graceful heavyweight, a leader among all leaders, and at five feet tall, 84 years old, she heads up the liberal wing of the Supremes. She makes me proud to be a woman, a Jew, a feminist, an activist, a mom, and a human being.

Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Joan Ruth Bader was born to Jewish immigrants and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Her sister died when she was just a toddler. Her mother, Celia, always stressed the importance of education (Celia was a very good student, graduating High School at 15, yet her family chose to send her brother to college. It was a time when sons were valued and daughters were meant to find husbands.). As a mom, she wanted more for her daughter. What momma doesn’t? Celia noticed that many girls in her class were named Joan, so to quickly avoid any tsuris (trouble), she asked her teachers to call her Ruth. She brought her to the public library often, where Ruth consumed Nancy Drew books, realizing that Nancy was a young girl in charge, who thought for herself (perhaps we add this series of books to our collective daughters’ gift lists? Nu?) both in her mystery solving and in her relationships. Ruth’s dream of becoming a lawyer was underway and early signs of Notorious R.B.G had begun.

  • Ruth was an excellent student (she listened to her momma, like a glikt shana maideleh (good girl)). Sadly, her mom died the day before her high school graduation
  • She went on to attend Cornell University, where she studied in the bathroom stalls, hiding from parties and social activities — she graduated as the top-ranking female student in her class
  • At Cornell, she met Marty Ginsburg, whom she would later marry. Ruth was demoted from her job for being pregnant. Marty and Ruth gave birth to a bouncing baby girl.  Everyone said she belonged in the kitchen, and at home with her daughter. Marty and Ruth knew better.
  • Marty ( a successful tax attorney in his own right) was supportive, unlike many men of their generation. He understood Ruth was no balaboosta (organized and efficient home-maker). He handled all of the traditional ‘mommy’ roles. Middle-of-the-night feedings, cooking, cleaning, baking, and tending to the kids… he was proud to do these things so that Ruth can later become the Notorious R.B.G. that we know and love.
  • She attended Harvard Law school and was often ridiculed by the dean for being a woman, taking up a man’s spot.
  • Marty took a job in NYC and Ruth transferred to Columbia University, where she graduated tied for top honors in her class.

She had a law degree and top honors, but being a woman, wife, mom, and a Jew made her dreams of becoming a lawyer very difficult. To say she became passionate about women’s rights and gender equality would be an understatement. After co-founding the Women’s Rights Project for the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), Ruth went on to fight six landmark cases on gender equality before the US Supreme court.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History gave a species of praying mantis the name llomantis ginsburgae, after RBG. They say this species has a neckplate similar to the fancy neckwear Ginsburg wears at the outcome of a verdict. It is also based on how the insect was identified by her female genitalia – a nod to RBG’s lifetime fight for gender equality and women’s rights. Please note, this is a praying mantis I happily found on my car, not the newly, super cool RBG version.

President Jimmy Carter appointed RBG to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. She served there for thirteen years. President Bill Clinton, looking to increase the diversity on the highest bench in the land, appointed her to the US Supreme Court. She joined the Supremes as only the second female Supreme Court Justice (Sandra Day O’Connor was the first). She refers to the former justice as her “big sister.”

RBG battled colon cancer in 1999. She fought off pancreatic cancer in 2009. In 2014, she had a stent placed in her right coronary artery after feeling uncomfortable while working out with her personal trainer. Yes, she can probably kick a*s and take names in any gym she enters.

As for the name, Notorious R.B.G., that comes for her feisty and fiery dissents. A meme virally toured the social media realm, comparing her rap star Notorious B.I.G.

On retirement, at 84, she is a self-proclaimed flaming feminist litigator and is showing no signs of losing her efficacy or her memory. Take a look at this recent tweet from our own twit-in-chief, and you know she still is a powerful force.

Guess who you think I wish would resign?

Ruth, I admire you and hold you in the very highest regard. You influence my life and my decisions, and I know this world is a better place because of you. Thank you for all you do.

A wonderful read for all ages!

What a gutte neshumah, she is. What a good person with a big heart, she is.

 

      

      

      

     

49 thoughts on “Notorious R.B.G: you are my hero!

  1. What an Amazing women! Amazing! She has done so much just to get some kind of justification. & T. is just awful! Just awful! How dare he say such thing! Have some respect! I have to say you do look like her though. Thank you for sharing your heroine with us on #FabFridayPost She is indeed a true fighter for what she believes in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow i learned a lot in this blog post! I never knew about her, what an inspiration. I think being fearless is something only a chosen few can actually obtain. Hopeful I could have an ounce of that fearlessness. Thanks for sharing. #thesatsesh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! She’s 84 and she’s still going strong? That’s so awe-inspiring! I had heard her name in the news but I didn’t really know who she was until I read your post! I am learning a lot about these women who have and are making a difference in our country:) #FamilyFunLinky

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always admired RBG, but have never taken the initiative to learn much about her, so THANK YOU for sharing your knowledge.
    AND thank you also, for that great word: balaboosta! Now I have a term for what I’m not!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have never heard of her but she sounds like an amazing and formidable woman. I really enjoyed this post and getting to know more about this incredibly woman. She certainly is aspirational! Thank you for sharing at #familyfun

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What an inspirational women! Love posts like this i feel I’ve truly learnt something about
    A strong female that I will be telling my daughter all about when she grows up! #dreamteam

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow.. It’s very inspiring to know about Ruth. it’s great to know about ladies like Ruth who stood up for gender equality in those early days when there is a lot of resistance. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. #thesatsesh ohhh Ive just started a series all about role models and its because of how inspired I become when I read about other peoples idols, she is a remarkable woman – with a fabulous husband it would seem. I can see why you are a Ruth fan. What a women

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I had never heard of her before now but I leave this blog post a little more educated! What a remarkable woman. A real inspiration! Thanks for joining us at #TriumphantTales, hope to see you again next week. X

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have been meaning to get back and comment here my lovely, this post has stayed with me since I first read it, it is truly admirable that women fought so hard against what they faced back in the day. Odds feel against us now, but for them it was so much harder and yet women like Ruth stood up and fought for herself, and for all of us! I can see what you admire her so, as women we have to stand together. I truly admire you, but I am pretty sure you know that by now xx #mg

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lisa, this is a very interesting post. First off, I’d never heard of this woman. She seems a powerhouse of a woman from what I’ve just read. Liberating and inspiring, she seems to have transcended the norm during her life. I’m defo more the wiser for reading your post. I also see a lot of similarities in our family to Ruth & her hubby’s role. I’m the SAHD while my wife (who is an amazingly strong & independent woman and an excellent business-woman) is a Working Mama. And with two young daughters, I’m fighting for equality for all sexes so by the time they are older, the workplace will hopefully be a level playing field. Very interesting and well written post. #DreamTeam

    Like

    1. Hi Ross! Lovely comment! I can’t thank you enough for your kind words. We are all wiser learning about RBG! Bravo for you and your fam. My bro-in-law is a SAHD and loves it – his wife is the high powered working woman. Someday we all will realize that we all should do what we want to and what we are good at, assuming it is good for all. May that someday be soon. xoxo #DreamTeam

      Like

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