RBG’s Library Auction Includes 30-plus Books About Jewish Topics

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participates in a discussion at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., on Feb. 10, 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images via JTA.org)

By Shira Hanau

Items from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s library are being sold at online auction this week and include a range of books — including a collection of more than 30 books about Jewish subjects.

The auction, which is being conducted by Bonham’s and ends Thursday, includes everything from her law school textbooks to copies of celebrity memoirs and books by her fellow Supreme Court justices. One lot in the auction includes a list of 15 titles related to Jewish history and the Jewish experience from Ginsburg’s library.

Among them are “Rabin: Our Life, His Legacy,” a book written and inscribed by Leah Rabin about her husband, Yitzchak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who was assassinated in 1995. Others in the lot include “It Takes a Dream: The Story of Hadassah,” by Marlin Levin, and “Jewish Legal Writings by Women,” by Micah D. Halpern and Chana Safrai. Bidding for the lot is at $1,100 as of Wednesday morning.

Another lot labeled “Jewish history and law” includes “Jewish Justices of the Supreme Court: from Brandeis to Kagan,” by David G. Daily; Leon Wieseltier’s “Kaddish”; and “Great Jewish Women,” by Robert and Elinor Slater. This lot also includes a book about Jewish law gifted to Ginsburg by one of the authors, Menachem Elon, a former Israeli Supreme Court justice who died in 2013. Bidding for the lot is at $1,600.

The book “Lincoln and the Jews,” by Jonathan Sarna and Benjamin Shapell, is included in a separate lot with books related to Abraham Lincoln.

Among the Jewish women writers whose books Ginsburg owned were Susan Sontag, Gloria Steinem and Annie Leibovitz. Steinem’s 2015 book “My Life on the Road” with an inscription to Ginsburg, “To dearest Ruth — who paved the road for us all — with a lifetime of gratitude — Gloria,” has already gotten a bid for $18,000.

Other books up for bidding include an inscribed copies of Tony Morrison’s “Beloved,” Joan Didion’s “My Year of Magical Thinking,” and a book by Antonin Scalia, Ginsburg’s close friend on the court despite their ideological differences. Also available are some of the honorary degrees Ginsburg received from various colleges and universities.


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