U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Offers Feminist Reading for Passover

Co-written with Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, the reading is part of a special series curated by American Jewish World Service

New York, NY – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of three women currently sitting on the United States Supreme Court, has co-authored a feminist reading for the Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins at sundown on Friday, April 3, 2015. The essay is part of a special series curated by American Jewish World Service (AJWS).

In a Passover reading for the Seder, the traditional ceremonial Passover meal, Justice Ginsburg, a strong advocate for gender equality, recalls the story of five brave women who helped lead the ancient Israelites from bondage in Egypt. While reflecting on the past, Justice Ginsburg calls on women today to take action to bring about social change.

The reading, co-authored by Lauren Holtzblatt, a rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., describes the plight of each woman in the Exodus narrative: Yocheved, the mother of Moses; Shifra and Puah, the famous midwives; Miriam, Moses’s sister, who prophesied that Moses would save Israel; and Pharaoh’s daughter, Batya, who rescued Moses from the Nile.

Justice Ginsburg and Rabbi Holtzblatt describe how each of “these women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day.”

In reflecting on the story of each woman, Justice Ginsburg and Rabbi Holtzblatt recount the pall of darkness, injustice and violence that still persists today, threatening the safety of women around the world.

“The Passover story recalls to all of us—women and men—that with vision and action we can join hands with others of like mind, kindling lights along paths leading out of the terrifying darkness.”

“We are grateful to Justice Ginsburg and Rabbi Holtzblatt for offering a powerful feminist reading for Passover, which highlights the leadership of women in the liberation of the ancient Israelites from slavery in Egypt,” said Ruth Messinger, President of AJWS. “As we work to liberate women and girls around the world today from the slavery of violence and the prison of discrimination, we take Justice Ginsburg’s and Rabbi Holtzblatt’s admonition to heart to learn from the example of women leaders in history as we make history.”

About Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1993, she is known as a strong voice for gender equality, the rights of workers, and separation between church and state.

About Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt
Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt is a rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C. She is co-creator of two nationally recognized community engagement projects: MakomDC and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington.

About American Jewish World Service
Inspired by the Jewish commitment to justice, American Jewish World service (AJWS) works to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. www.ajws.org

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