Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Justice Kagan Goes Hunting

Ever since the Torah characterized Jacob as “yoshev ohalim,” a tent dweller, most people do not usually use “Jews” and “hunting” in the same sentence. But the truth is that there are Jews who hunt, and it is now known that Justice Elena Kagan is among them.

In a talk at Beth Tfiloh Congregation celebrating the Baltimore synagogue’s 90th anniversary, the newest member of the Supreme Court of the United States shared her feelings about sitting in the same seat that was once occupied by Louis Brandeis, the nation’s first Jewish justice. She also answered questions about whether she thought her Jewish background would influence her decision on an upcoming case involving an Israeli couple petitioning the Court to intervene regarding the State Department’s refusal to list “Jerusalem, Israel” as the place of birth of their son on his passport. (The State Department deliberately lists only “Jerusalem,” without specific reference to a country because of what is considers the disputed nature of Jerusalem’s status).

These topics were pretty routine for a Jewish justice’s address to a Jewish audience. However, Kagan did surprise the crowd by saying that since coming onto the Court, she has taken up hunting. The admission came as part of a recollection of a visit she paid to Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland shortly after her nomination in May 2010 by President Obama. She recalled that Cardin asked her about her stand on gun rights and noted that she might not understand how important the issue was to many Americans.

Kagan had never owned or fired a gun in her life. “But I told Sen. Cardin if I was fortunate enough to be confirmed, I would go hunting with Justice Scalia,” she told the audience.

True to her promise, she has visited a shooting range with Scalia and has gone on several hunting trips with him. “It turns out, it’s kind of fun,” she told Beth Tfiloh’s Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg, who expressed some shock at her admission.

Justice Kagan may say that she’s just a Jewish girl from the Upper West Side at heart. But in this regard, she can’t say that the job hasn’t changed her.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.