The Guardian has confirmed to Campaign Against Antisemitism that, following our complaint, its obituary for the late Jewish United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been corrected to clarify that she remained a proud Jew throughout her life.
The obituary originally claimed that Justice Bader Ginsburg had “abandoned her religion” in her teenage years and reiterated in reference to her “Jewish religion” that she “had given [it] up 46 years earlier.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism wrote to The Guardian to alert the editors to the error, saying that although Justice Bader Ginsburg “did abandon the religious dimension of her Jewish upbringing, she did not abandon her Jewish identity, which she never hid over the course of her career, and which American Jews long celebrated.” We asked that the obituary be corrected to clarify this distinction.
The corrected relevant sentences now read: “she nevertheless remained deeply committed to her Jewish identity” and “Ginsburg’s Jewish identity…”.
The article also notes: “This article was amended on 22 September 2020 to clarify that while Ruth Bader Ginsburg moved away from strict religious observance at 17, her Jewish identity remained important throughout her life.”
We are grateful to The Guardian for promptly corrected the obituary, both for Justice Bader Ginsburg’s legacy but also because, for wider perceptions of Jews, it is vital that the public understands that the religious dimension of Judaism is only one element of Jewish identity. Unlike some other religions, Jewish identity is not limited to religious practice and beliefs; Jewish identity can be felt and expressed in ethnic, national and cultural ways as well. Even if a Jewish individual is not religiously observant, he or she can still express Judaism (and be a victim of antisemitism) in other ways.
We are also grateful to others, such as CAMERA, who also submitted complaints to The Guardian.