Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Rosh Hashanah of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer. While traditional Jews do not blow the shofar when Rosh Hashanah falls on Shabbat, Reform Rabbi Matt Soffer of Durham, North Carolina, blew the shofar minus one blast, to signify that the Supreme Court was now minus one justice. Actor Mandy Patinkin, meanwhile, blew the shofar to underscore Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish, expressed to her granddaughter, that no new justice be appointed until after the November election.
It is unclear how going against the Torah by blowing the shofar at a time this is forbidden honors the late Jewish justice. It does seem to satisfy some inner notion of identification with Jewish tradition for Jews who are largely secular. And with that, we’ll close with the hope that the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s memory will be a blessing for her people, and the world at large.