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With the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there has been hundreds of articles and news reports to further cement her legacy as a champion of justice and equality.

But those pieces have been done. And done.

As an ordinary female citizen with no law background and no lawyers in the family just ordinary men and women, I have been trying to sift through the accolades and commentary to understand why she has resonated with me personally as a New Yorker, as an American, as a woman.    

So many have spoken of her as a role model, who faced down the obstacles that allowed others to walk right past them. So I wondered this week, who are the (female) role models who made a difference throughout my personal and professional life and I am astonished at how few of them made a real positive difference without jealousy or distain.


There was the advertising professor who saw our college team through multiple national ad competitions including the year in which her husband was rapidly dying of lung cancer. Given all of the stress, I can only remember one time that she lost it during our many student meetings and she was unapologetically candid about our work as the many advertising professionals I would have to bear witness to in my future.

There was the religious school principal who gave me courage and suggestions when I was most puzzled about how to best relate to my children during difficult moments.

And there is my mother and daughter. Spanning nine decades between them, the elder is resilient, determined and strong, she compliments me no matter how I feel about myself at the moment and reminds me to "be safe; take care; be careful.” The younger woman does exactly the same.

In short, lucky for me there were plenty of men who mentored me when the women I worked for were either professionally absent or inept to lead.  

As for RBG, I think that every time I have heard her speak I have walked away with a feeling that she is speaking to me — a wise Aunt Ruth who ideals of justice, peace and enlightenment appeal to my soul. A soft spoken person, who seemed comfortable expressing her belief in the Constitution as well as her child rearing. Her work, her legacy speaks for itself. I have no direct reason to miss her, but already I do.

A contributing writer to the Herald since 2012, Lauren Lev is an East Meadow resident and a direct marketing/advertising executive who teaches marketing fundamentals as well as advertising and marketing communications courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology and SUNY Old Westbury.