Who she is: 

Elena Kagan grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a middle child with two brothers. She went to an all-girls public high school before attending Princeton University. After studying in England, she went to Harvard Law School where she was an editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review.

Elena worked as a clerk and professor before serving as an advisor for President Bill Clinton. When President Clinton left office, Elena returned to Harvard Law School where she eventually became the Dean. In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated her for Solicitor General, and the following year appointed Elena to the Supreme Court.

What she does: 

As Dean of Harvard Law School, Elena was known for bringing people together. She invited people with different views to talk to each other and work as a team to improve the school.

As the Solicitor General, Elena was the lawyer who represented the United States before the Supreme Court. Now that she is an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, she has the important job of listening to cases that come before the Court, analyzing the different arguments, and making her decision based on the Constitution.

Why she's cool: 

Even today, few women have achieved what Elena Kagan has. She serves as a role model and pioneer for women who want to practice law or serve their communities. As the first female Dean of Harvard Law School, Elena paved the way for other women to take on leadership roles in one of the country’s oldest universities.

When Elena was appointed to the Supreme Court, she joined two other female justices, Sonia Maria Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsberg (who is also Jewish), putting three women on the Supreme Court for the first time in United States History.

About being Jewish: 

Elena was the first girl at her synagogue to have a bat mitzvah—an honor she had to fight for. Read more about it here.

Learn more about Elena Kagan's bat mitzvah and how she made an impact on Jewish history.