It is a story told in many versions, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says near the beginning of the new PBS series “The Jewish Americans,” “but mine is: What is the difference between a bookkeeper in New York’s garment district and a U.S. Supreme Court justice? One generation.”
Ginsburg, 74, repeated the story last week at the Sixth and I Historic Synagogue in Washington for an audience that watched clips of the series and then listened to Ginsburg speak of her heritage with filmmaker David Grubin.
“I am the beneficiary of being a Jewish American,” she told Grubin, the child of a father who immigrated at age 13 and a mother “conceived in the Old World and born in the New World.”
Ginsburg, who was raised in Brooklyn, said her first glimpse of anti-Semitism came during a drive with her parents down a country road, where she saw an “unsettling” sign outside an inn that instructed, “No dogs or Jews allowed.”