Posts Tagged: Elena Kagan Results 9
It has been an incredible week for Jewish women. The confirmation of Elena Kagan as the next Supreme Court justice, bringing the total number of women to three and the total number of Jewish women to two, has the effect on me of lighting fireworks in my soul. Despite all the rubbish women have to put up with in society and in Judaism, this is a moment when I can put that all aside and think, “Yes, Jewish women can!”
As the congressional confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan take center stage, one headline leapt out in its oddity: “Jewish Clergy Group: Elena Kagan Isn’t ‘Kosher’ to Serve on Supreme Court.”
• Maureen Dowd, writing that Elena Kagan “as resigned herself to a cloistered, asexual existence,” suggests that the nominee for the Supreme Court join JDate.
One of the biggest questions Jewish groups and feminists have debated since the nomination of Elena Kagan is whether it’s possible to effect genuine but incremental change from within or more desirable to work outside the system. This kind of insider/outsider anxiety is particularly potent for contemporary Jews, who are mindful of our historical status as outsiders but fascinated when one of us gets a place in the halls of power (See the excitement over David Axelrod.) From her bat mitzvah onward, Kagan has never presented herself as someone who stood at the gates and demanded revolution. Instead, she’s someone who has marched through the gates, climbed the ladder inside, and been pragmatic once she got there.
As a result, she’s made a lot of compromises. Her roots, her much-debated senior thesis and a few hints suggest to many that she’s “one of us” — that is, a liberal, intellectual Jew with high-minded ideals. And yet the endless shroud of mystery over her genuine political passions and her reputation as a compromiser has led to lots of suspicion from the progressive Jews and feminists who have, in their own lives, taken the risk of putting their strong, sometimes unpopular beliefs on display. As
In honor of Shavuot, the Jerusalem Post printed a special supplement on “The Fifty Most Influential Jews in the World” — and there are only seven women in the list.
A woman doesn’t even make an appearance until number 10 — US Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan. Bizarrely, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg comes in at a mere 22, which makes me wonder why a nominee (no offense Ms. Kagan, I’m a big fan) is presumed to have more influence than an actual, sitting Supreme Court justice.