SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
The death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg adds another loss to a year that's already seen so many. 2020 has brought illness, isolation, financial struggles and overwhelming fear. It's often felt like the hardest year many of us have ever known. But this weekend also begins 5781, Rosh Hashana, the Jewish new year. And that number, 5781, may remind us that humanity has suffered other plagues, famines, losses, wars and disasters for centuries before 2020.
The shofar, a hollowed out ram's horn that was an ancient trumpet, is sounded on Rosh Hashana. I found myself convinced last night as Justice Ginsburg's death was reported that this year, the cry of the shofar somehow heralds her passing from this earth and this nation Justice Ginsburg strived so mightily and tirelessly to make more fair and kind.
Just hours before she died, Rabbi Danny Zemel of Temple Micah in Washington, D.C., told us the call of the shofar should remind us we are descended from prophets. We have a mandate to speak for those with no voice. It's easy to see in the light of this first morning of a new year how Ruth Bader Ginsburg walked in the path of prophets, calling us to pay attention not only to the world around us but to the corners and people close in far we may not have seen clearly and make them a part of our lives, too.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death is a loss, but she leaves in a season in which people are called to reflect on life and refresh our sense of purpose in this world. Her memory will be heard in the sound of the shofar this year, calling people to look above and to use their lives' work to lift others.
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