On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, when we petition the great forces of justice and mercy to inscribe us in the Book of Life for a good year, we get the news that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died.
As the crescent moon rises, and the cry of the Shofar, the ram’s horn, greets it, she has passed leaving a huge void of justice in the world.
Justice Ginsburg defended the rights of women, of children, of all those who have been discriminated against and oppressed. As only the second woman ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court, she broke new ground. She overcame cancer, again and again, to hold her ground. We were all hoping and praying that she could hold on, just a few weeks more, until the next election.
Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” At moments like this, that’s hard to see. The universe seems to be arcing out somewhere in the stratosphere, far from any turn toward fairness or justice.
But he didn’t say who or what bends that arc.
I like to believe that there are ancestors and spirits and deities who are on the justice side, that we can call on them now and bring them in.
But what I know is that each one of us who cares about justice has power, power that might seem small and weak when ranged against mischance and death, but power that is great when we bring it together, when each of us does what we can. Together, we can pull the world back into a trajectory of fairness and equity.
Now is not the time to lose heart, but to do everything we can to carry on RBG’s legacy, to ensure that she has a worthy successor, and to be her successors as champions of truth and agents of justice.