Threnody* for RBG

After hearing about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing and her quick and ruthless replacement, thoughts and emotions flowed through me faster than I could process them: grief, anger, frustration, helplessness, more fury, fear, trepidation for what is to come; my surge capacity was almost ready to spill over! I learned about the term for the first time as I listened to a beautiful online Erev Yom Kippur service from Shir Tikvah Synagogue in Winchester, MA. The wonderful and insightful Rabbi Cari Bricklin-Small talked about how all of us have surge capacity, a set of adaptations that we draw on in stressful situations and that at times this can be depleted. But then, I remembered RBG’s tenacity, her strength of character, her passion for the arts, her love of country and her family and her willingness to really listen and respect other’s opinions. As an email popped up on my computer screen reminding me to keep making phone calls in Battleground States, I realized clearly that it is now our turn to carry her torch forward to continue the fight for equality for all people- then I felt gratitude and thanks for what she accomplished.

Bear Swamp-Ashfield, MA

Yesterday we took a hike to a bucolic and peaceful pond; Bear Swamp in Ashfield, Massachusetts. Luckily my Native American Flute was stowed safely in my husband Paul’s backpack. As I walked through the pine woods and saw a pond, the perfect melody came to me. Yom Kippur started the next day; the melody is partly to commemorate the observance of Kol Nidre and it also a piece of music to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As I started to play, I poured all of my turbulent emotions from the last few days into the short intervals of the piece.

After I played, I felt peace, resolve and determination. I hope that this music will help to honor her memory and for the moment my surge capacity was renewed!

* Threnody-a wailing ode, song, hymn or poem of mourning composed or performed as a memorial.

Author: Judith Dansker

Professional oboist and chamber musician- member of Hevreh Ensemble and Winds in the Wilderness, Professor of Oboe Hofstra University; observer of people, art and nature; passionate food and travel explorer.

4 thoughts on “Threnody* for RBG”

  1. Thank you, Judy, for your inspiring words. Sometimes it’s hard to get past the despair. And yes, RBG’s resolve and optimism leads us forward. Your music was just perfect, sad, lamenting and yet, set in this beautiful bit of nature with the sun shining and the breeze ever so gentle. Thank you for sharing.

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