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Museum In Tel Aviv To Display White Lace Collar From Justice Ginsburg


Months before Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, she parted ways with one of her signature white collars. This fashion accessory of an American Jewish justice is now in Israel. NPR's Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: The Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington has Judy Garland's ruby slippers and Abraham Lincoln's top hat. The Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv displays memorabilia from Jewish icons - the guitar Leonard Cohen played at a concert in Israel, original 1960s cosmetics from Estee Lauder and now a white lace collar from R.B.G. Museum curator Orit Shaham-Gover.

ORIT SHAHAM-GOVER: A woman that had made such a trailblazing in the world and in American society - it's amazing to be able to get such an item, an original one.

SHAHAM-GOVER: A museum board member asked Justice Ginsburg for a donation. This January, she replied in writing, I would be glad to contribute to the Museum of the Jewish People in Tel Aviv one of the collars I wear with my robe at oral arguments. Would that be satisfactory? It was. Israeli museum representative Shula Bahat went to pick it up at the beginning of the pandemic.

SHULA BAHAT: I went to the chambers on March 4. She was the first person I saw in Washington, D.C., at the time, wearing a mask.

ESTRIN: The justice rushed off to hear the court's first major abortion case since President Trump took office while the Israeli Museum official collected an intricate white lace collar with a thick gold edge and a pearl clasp. Ginsburg's chambers were decorated with a Hebrew quote from Deuteronomy - justice, justice shall you pursue.

BAHAT: She was totally, totally dedicated to the values of Judaism, and she was a righteous person.

ESTRIN: Another R.B.G. collar is in a traveling exhibit now in Skokie, Ill. The Tel Aviv museum aims to reopen its main exhibit in December, pandemic willing. When it does, Ginsburg's collar will be on permanent display.

Daniel Estrin, NPR News, Jerusalem.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Daniel Estrin is NPR's international correspondent in Jerusalem.