For Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Err, Thanksgivukkah: 8 Jews We're Thankful For
Jews have something extra to be thankful for this Thanksgivukkah: This year, Thanksgiving dinner will fall on the second night of Hannukah. The last time the two holidays overlapped was 1888 — and it won’t happen again for another 77,798 years. The old joke goes that all Jewish holidays follow one basic rule: They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat. See? Lots to be thankful for. But this Thanksgivukkah, we Jews here at Bustle wanted to be thankful for more than the survival of our people. Here are eight Jews who aren't perfect, but who we're thankful to have in the tribe nonetheless.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The three-letter acronym for the petite, slight justice’s name is synonymous with progressive politics. Early in her career, Ginsburg founded the American Civil Liberties Union’s women’s rights project, and remains a champion for the rights of the underprivileged. This past term, it was Ginsburg who, as the senior liberal on the court, wrote an impassioned dissent when the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Plus, this summer she became the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at a same-sex wedding, marrying Kennedy Center head Michael Kaiser and his husband after the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Elena Kagan is up there with Chinese food on Christmas, but schooling Sen. Lindsey Graham is just a fraction of why we’re thankful to have her on our team.
Kagan still has a ways to go until she moves up in the pecking order and gets to write truly groundbreaking court opinions, but her vote was crucial in a number of important cases. Plus, her real footwork comes in off the bench, when she goes big game hunting with fellow justice Antonin Scalia. (In case you missed it, they just did it again.)
They say that for every two Jews, you get three opinions, and Glenn Greenwald is living proof of that. Edward Snowden's right-hand man/journalist never seems to be short of opinions. We’re grateful to have Greenwald in our tribe because he broke one of the most important stories of 2013, if not the single most important one: Edward Snowden’s NSA surveillance leaks. In fact, the breadth of information shared by Snowden is so massive it would be incorrect to call it just one story. It’s a treasure trove of government secrets for which Greenwald is the guardian. Love him or hate him, we hope you think more transparency is a good thing.
Look at that punim. Edie Windsor stole hearts and won over minds all over the country when she brought her suit against the U.S. government for the right to have her marriage to her wife federally recognized. Spunky and grandmotherly, she became an eloquent spokeswoman for marriage equality — even if her attorney did have to ask her to lay off discussing her sex life while the case was pending. Windsor reminded us that love conquers death and survives through repression, and gave hope that lesbian bed death might be just a myth. And most importantly, in large part because of her bravery, the Defense of Marriage Act was finally overturned.
Of course, Windsor’s suit would have been impossible without an equally strong-willed attorney. Roberta Kaplan is a "powerhouse corporate litigator" who made Windsor come to her apartment each morning the Supreme Court announced decisions, so that they could be together when they found out. This wasn't her first legal challenge for marriage equality, either, though Kaplan had lost an earlier such case in 2004. Kaplan and her wife are a power couple in New York, and reportedly hold memberships to multiple synagogues.
The former Facebook CFO released her first book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead in March of this year. Sandberg immediately came under heavy fire for targeting wealthy, educated, professional women in her approach, and, later, for hiring unpaid interns. But we think that Sandberg’s book nonetheless helped spark an important dialogue. And, next time you want to negotiate for a higher pay at work, remember: diffuse the situation by acknowledging that you’re doing it “for Sheryl."
If we’re naming Sheryl Sandberg, it would be a shame to not name the man responsible for Facebook. After all, I opened the page at least half a dozen times while writing this piece. Though it’s alarming how much Facebook knows about us, and how powerless we are to stop its spread, there’s no denying that it continues to be one of the most important websites in the world. So thanks, Mark, for enabling us to endlessly obsess over our exes, and to keep in touch with friends and family around the world.