RBG’s Brave & Brilliant Women
RBG’s Brave & Brilliant Women: 33 Jewish Women to Inspire Everyone
By Nadine Epstein
Illustrated by Bee Johnson (Delacorte Press)
In 2019, Moment magazine editor Nadine Epstein sat down with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to discuss the importance of Jewish role models. The two came up with a list of 150 women “with indomitable energy who moved the world forward,” writes Epstein.
Narrowing that list to 33 for this collection of short biographies aimed at young adults—and indeed all people—was an unenviable task. But the two managed to curate a list that includes trailblazers from the Bible through the 20th century, evocatively illustrated with colorful portraits by award-winning illustrator Bee Johnson.
Hadassah founder Henrietta Szold is among the highlighted women. As the justice, who passed away in September 2020, notes in a forward, Szold was one of her role models whose “humanity and bravery touched me deeply.” There are other familiar names and faces, among them poet Emma Lazarus; the first ordained female rabbi, Regina Jonas; and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. All the stories and accomplishments are described in accessible prose. Among the less well-known women are pioneering feminist Ernestine Rose and Emmy Noether, a German math genius who developed the field of abstract algebra. A coda to each section includes a discussion of how these women are viewed today.
“The world needs more brave and inspirational people,” Ginsburg wrote to readers young and old. “You can be one of them.”