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  Yoga with Ruth
A retired English teacher, Susan Dlugach just cannot retire from learning, tutoring, writing, traveling and exploring.

She was tiny. She was nerdy. She was Jewish. And worst of all, she was a woman. Her known name came from the Hebrew word re'ut, Ruth, meaning compassionate friend. The invisible text seen only by those with a keen third eye would know her spirit name, Gefen, for she was strong.

Small was not her intellect. Only one of nine women among 500 men admitted to Harvard Law School in 1956, the dean denied her request to complete her third year there, so she transferred to Columbia where she tied for first in her graduating class.

From these ivy league credentials, a plum appointment in her chosen profession should have been easily accomplished, no? But she was denied law firm positions because she was a woman. She taught at Rutgers Law School and was paid less than her male colleagues because "your husband has a very good job."

Co-founding the Women's Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union, she argued gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court, charting a strategic course that led to successive victories.

Case after case, from extending the Equal Protection clause under the 14th Amendment to challenging involuntary sterilization, she pleaded before courts victoriously. In 1980, she took a seat on the District of Columbia Circuit Court.

The path was built on her persistence to maneuver around obstacles while shooting arrows for equity for all. It was a 34-year journey to her ultimate nomination on the Supreme Court in 1993.

In my yoga sessions with friends, we do planks to strengthen our bodies. Remembering film clips of Ruth holding her frail body in this pose while working out with a trainer, we began referring to planks as our Ruth Bader Ginsbergs because her compassionate spirit continues to inspire and strengthen us.

~ Susan Dlugach

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