We live in a world in which antisemitism and misogynistic views still have a hold on us. But there is still hope that both can be overturned.
Last week, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral was held in Washington D.C. As I listened, my pride in her accomplishments as a Jew and a woman were just as prominent as my tears.
She is an icon for so many of us who feel marginalized and pushed aside because of who we are. Listening to Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt speak the ancient Jewish prayers, I had a feeling that in spite of the hatred that still exists, there is light and love at the end of the tunnel. We can look past labels and see each other’s humanity. We only need to open our eyes and our minds.
Though Judge Ginsburg is no longer physically with us, her legacy will last forever.
Every generation of the feminist movement builds on previous generations. However, that does not mean that the current generation honors or remembers the work of their predecessors.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away last Friday, the news sent shockwaves throughout the country. According to an interview with her granddaughter, one of the late jurist’s last wish was that her replacement not be confirmed until after the election.
It is therefore, a surprise to no one that not only was that wish ignored, but her potential replacement is politically conservative. Her name is Amy Coney Barrett. Though she has taken advantage of the opportunities that were created for her via Judge Ginsburg, she is everything that RBG was not.
Judge Barrett openly opposes abortion and marriage in the LGBTQ community. Her nomination, if confirmed, would tip the balance within the Supreme Court towards the right. In theory, the court should be apolitical. But, in reality, politics views will always play a role in the decisions that are handed down.
What is more concerning than the choice of Judge Barrett is that Judge Ginsburg is not even in the ground. As far as I am concerned, the Republicans have ignored the choices of both the voters and RBG. They are so focused on winning the election, that they have forgotten who has the power to hire and fire them.
Those of us with a political memory can easily recall the chaos of the 2000 political election. At the time, it was considered to be an election to learn from and not repeat. But if there is one lesson I have learned over the years, it is that humanity is bound to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Four years ago, when you know who was asked if he would accept the outcome of the election if he lost, his answer was vague. This year, when asked if he would concede if he loses, his response was the following:
A legitimate democracy depends on the peaceful transfer of power from one Presidential administration to another Presidential administration. The fact that he refuses to accept even the idea of defeat tells me that we need the rule of law more than ever. We also need to vote is clown out and ensure that the American Democracy lives on for another year.
No one has a crystal ball when it comes to the future. We can only live in the moment.
This coming weekend is Yom Kippur, the most important day on the Jewish calendar. One of the prayers we chant is called Unetanneh Tokef. The purpose of the prayer is to ask our heavenly parent for one more year of life on Earth. The text is as follows:
“All mankind will pass before You like a flock of sheep. Like a shepherd pasturing his flock, making sheep pass under his staff, so shall You cause to pass, count, calculate, and consider the soul of all the living; and You shall apportion the destinies of all Your creatures and inscribe their verdict.
On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed – how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die after a long life and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword and who by beast, who by famine and who by thirst, who by upheaval  and who by plague, who by strangling and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted. But Repentance, Prayer, and Charity annul the severity of the Decree.”
Looking back at the year that is 2020 so far, this prayer feels like a message we need to hear. Before Covid-19 hit, life seemed so sure. But between the virus, the racial inequities, and everything that has happened this year, I’m not so sure anymore.
No one knows exactly when their time will be up or how they will go. We can only ask for as much time on Earth as possible.
For those who are fasting, have an easy fast and may we all be written in the book of life for another year.
On March 13th of this year, Breonna Taylor was an ordinary woman, sleeping in her bed. Then the police barged into her home and she became another icon of racism and police brutality.
The outcome of the trial against the police officers who killed her was announced today. The grand jury in Kentucky declined to charge the officers for her murder.
Once again, the message is clear. Americans of color are unimportant and their lives are disposable. The police can do whatever they want, without fear of the justice system catching up to them. I wish I could say that in 2020, things have changed. But nothing has changed and another life was needlessly lost.
Between Covid-19 and the protests against racial injustice this summer, I think it is safe to say that most places in the US are drained in every sense of the word.
Earlier this week, the DOJ (who are working for the President and not for the people) claimed that New York City is an “anarchist state“. The official statement is the following:
New York City is one of three places that “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” leading to its designation as an “anarchist jurisdiction,” the Justice Department said Monday.
I don’t how how they describe anarchy, but this is what I think of when someone says anarchy.
From my perspective, it looks like they think that protests against racism and racial injustice are the work of so-called “anarchists”. If that is the case, this country is in deep trouble. While there will always be crimes and the need for police, there is also the right to protest. If that is what they deem “anarchy”, I will take that over the autocratic police state that is the vision of the current administration.
Anyone who has ever started a new job will attest that it takes a while to learn the ins and outs of the job. No one, regardless of how much previous experience they have, knows everything on day one.
Back in 2017, when you know who started in the position that he has now, someone told me to give him a chance. Then and now, I am a Democrat and was devastated that Hillary Clinton had not won the election. But a small part of me hoped that he would grow into the job.
Nearly four years later, the opposite has occurred and over 200,000 Americans are dead from Covid-19.
Everyone who has died was loved by someone. They were someone’s parent, sibling, child, spouse/partner, etc. Six months ago, they were alive. Today, they are dead because of the careless and egotistical man whom we refer to as President of the United States.
They are 200,000 reasons to vote for Biden and Harris in November.
Activism is not always done standing on a soapbox with a microphone in one’s hand. It can be done working quietly behind the scenes.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on Friday. Born and raised in a Jewish family in Brooklyn, she came of age in an era when most women quietly settled in marriage and motherhood. She could have followed the pack, but chose another life. That life led her to become only the second women to join the United States Supreme Court. Serving nearly three decades, she was a feminist and icon in every sense of the word.
I can’t think of any other Supreme Court Justice who has deified on Saturday Night Live. Kate McKinnon is perfection.
Her passing represents more than her physical death. The question comes up of who should replace her. If precedent has anything to say, whomever fills her seat will not be named until after November. But, given the current state of American politics, I would not be surprised if there was already a list of potential replacements waiting in the wings.
In the words of our mutual ancestors, may her memory be a blessing and an inspiration to fight for equality.
As indestructible as human beings believe we are, Mother Nature has a way of reminding us that she will always be one step ahead of us.
Next weekend is the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. Covid-19 has forced Jewish instuitions to rework how to approach one of the most important days of the year.
To say that it will feel weird is an understatement. Traditional holiday services will be limited and many will turn to Zoom to participate virtually. Instead of getting together with family and friends, social distancing and wearing masks will continue to be the norm.
To those who celebrate, wherever you are and whatever you do, have a sweet and Happy New Year.
For decades, scientists have been talking and warning about climate change.
Some have poo poo-ed it as either a hoax or the natural ebb and flow of nature throughout the year.
The fires on the west coast have damaged millions of acres. Homes, businesses, and livelihoods are destroyed. In short, they are undeniable proof that climate change is real and happening in front of our eyes.
Humanity is an impasse. The message is clear. We can either respect and protect our planet. Or we can destroy it. The choice is ours.