Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg having a Jewish burial? Here’s what we know so far. by the Forward

Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg having a Jewish burial? Here’s what we know so far.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s private funeral service in the Supreme Court on Wednesday was presided over by Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C.

“Justice Ginsburg, l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation,” said Holtzblatt. She also sang Psalm 23 in Hebrew.

Rabbi Holtzblatt’s husband, Ari, was a clerk to Justice Ginsburg in 2014.

The family announced Monday that she will lie in repose outside the Supreme Court for two days of viewings, one of what seems to be several departures from Jewish tradition necessary to accommodate the honors afforded to her as a national leader. She will also lie in state at the Capitol.

She will be the first Jew to lie in state at the Capitol, and the first woman, as well, JTA reported. (The term “in state” is reserved for the Capitol.)

Jews are typically buried quickly after death, although some some do delay interment to wait for distant family to arrive or to move the deceased.

She will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, which does not have a Jewish section, next to her husband, Martin Ginsburg.

As of 2018, there were more than 5,500 Jewish graves at Arlington National Cemetery, out of about 400,000 graves.

Jewish tradition asks that only fellow Jews carry the casket, but Supreme Court police officers will serve as pallbearers for Justice Ginsburg, according to the court’s press release.

A private burial service will happen next week, the press release said. That service may contain elements of Jewish tradition.

The Supreme Court did not respond to questions about the role of sitting shivah — the ritual of gathering other mourners around immediate family — or chevra kadisha — preparation for burial.

Jewish Twitter users expressed confusion and in some cases, discomfort, with the delay in Ginsburg’s burial.

She will also be only the second Supreme Court justice to lie in state at the Capitol, after William Howard Taft, who had also served as president, in 1930.


Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon is an investigative reporter at the Forward. Contact her at or follow her on Twitter @MollyBoigon.

Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg having a Jewish burial?

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Is Ruth Bader Ginsburg having a Jewish burial? Here’s what we know so far.

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