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Justice Ginsburg, Conservative Rabbi, Write a Feminist Opinion on Passover

Holtzblatt says she will incorporate Ginsburg’s commentary into her own Passover seder, on the evening of April 3.

ginsburg passover

Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of three Jews and three women on the court, was invited by the American Jewish World Service to write about Passover for its “Celebration and Compassion” essay series, in which prominent leaders comment on Jewish teachings on the holidays to spark conversations about social justice, Religion News Service reports.

Ginsburg asked Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt, from Conservative synagogue Adas Israel in Washington, D.C., to help with the piece. The rabbi’s husband is one of Ginsburg’s law clerks.

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Holtzblatt says the Justice knew exactly which biblical women she wanted to highlight from the liberation story of the Book of Exodus: “She has a Jewish soul, there is no question. It’s in her. It’s deeply in her.”

Holtzblatt says she will incorporate Ginsburg’s commentary into her own Passover seder, on the evening of April 3.

Ginsburg and Holtzblatt wrote about Yocheved, Moses’ mother, and Miriam, his sister, as well as Shifra and Puah, the midwives who rejected Pharoah’s decree to kill all the Jewish baby boys (Of course, Jewish tradition teaches that Yocheved and Miriam were Shifra and Puah). They also pay homage to Batya, Pharoah’s daughter, who saved the baby Moses from the water.

The Book of Exodus, much like the Book of Genesis, begins in darkness, with the accession of a new Pharaoh who enslaves the Jews, their commentary reads.

“God alone lights the way out of the darkness in Genesis, ” Ginsburg and Holtzblatt continue. “But in Exodus, God has many partners, first among them, five brave women.”



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