National Council of Jewish Women Austin Marks End of Shiva for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with Commemorative Walk

Community News, The Jewish Outlook

Nov 5, 2020

NCJW members and friends walked to commemorate the end of Ginsburg’s shiva. Credit: Bettie Forman

By Bettie Forman

Many Jewish communities mark the end of a shiva period — the seven-day time of initial mourning following burial — with a walk around the block. This custom symbolizes the end of an intensely inward time and a return to the world. 

Woman wears a rainbow flag with vote on it around her shoulders

NCJW member Ellen Sable reminded participants of the importance of voting. Credit: Bettie Forman.

Elyse Rosenberg, NCJW state policy advocate, read a poem in honor of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Credit: Bettie Forman.

Shalom Austin staff greeted the group, took temperatures and reminded everyone to practice safe distancing and wear masks. Shalom Austin provided a safe space for the group to walk and pray. Credit: Bettie Forman.

Rabbi Alan Freedman spoke for a few minutes on the importance of Ginsburg’s work and led a short service. Credit: Bettie Forman.

When someone is buried shortly before a holy day, shiva is cut short, and that day is not observed with formal mourning. Because Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s burial was shortly before the beginning of Sukkot, Oct. 2 marked the day for this symbolic ritual shift in mourning for the first Jewish woman to serve on the United States Supreme Court.  

National Council of Jewish Women Austin marked the end of her shiva with a walk back into the world, demanding a fight for a fair and impartial judiciary.  Rabbi Alan Freedman said a few words and led prayer at the end of the walk. 

The group would like to thank Shalom Austin for providing a safe and welcoming space to honor Ginsburg.

NCJW will continue to honor Ginsburg’s life and legacy. For more information, visit ■

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