Ten Things Every American Jew Should Know about Paul Ryan


The truth about Rep. Ryan’s role model Ayn Rand

(NJDC) Below are ten documented things that every American Jew should know about Republican vice presidential candidate Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).

  1. Ryan twice authored regressive budgets that drew concern — and even ire — from many in the Jewish community because of the deep cuts they made to vital social safety net programs that would strand the poor, many in the middle class, seniors, children, and other groups who depend on government assistance. Organizations that panned his budget included the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, B’nai B’rith, and the National Council of Jewish Women, among others.
  2. Ryan wants to end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher program — which would dramatically increase the burden on seniors by leaving them to pick up the tab.
  3. Ryan wants to replace Medicaid with block grants which would severely impact millions of Americans — including seniors, the disabled, and the poor — who desperately need the basic guarantees offered by Medicaid.
  4. Ryan has called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme and advanced a plan to turn it into a privatized program. Under Ryan’s vision, future retirement benefits would be pegged to the risky ups and downs of the stock market instead of providing guaranteed assistance to those who paid into Social Security and earned it.
  5. Ryan has little — if any — foreign policy or national security experience, yet pushed for cuts to the foreign aid budget that are strongly opposed by the pro-Israel community. Also indicative of his inexperience, Ryan had the chutzpah to accuse America’s top generals of lying — for which he later apologized.
  6. Ryan — like the rest of the House Republican caucus — has voted at least six times against measures to strengthen Iran sanctions during the 112th Congress simply because those measures were advanced by Democrats.
  7. Ryan is as anti-choice as they come. He is a proud supporter of so-called “personhood” efforts and even floated the idea of allowing states to criminalize abortions and the women who receive them. Ryan voted to defund Planned Parenthood four times and is opposed to the President’s contraception compromise.
  8. Ryan voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which protects equal pay for women.
  9. Ryan is a staunch opponent of equal rights for gays and lesbians — including marriage equality and military service.
  10. Ryan wants to eliminate millions of dollars in funding for federal Pell Grants that allow low income students to attend college.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s selection of Ryan to serve as his vice presidential candidate is the clearest indication yet that Romney does not reflect the values of most American Jews. This alarming partnership between Romney and Ryan will further reinforce the reasons why such a significant majority of American Jews will be voting to reelect President Barack Obama this November.

Satire: Customer Service

Ring.

Hello, Romneytron 2012 Customer Service. “Believe in America.” How may I help you?

Hi, I just voted for the Romneytron 2012 but I am not sure its empathy circuit is acting right.

What do you mean?

It is saying all sorts of strange things like: “I like to fire people who provide services to me” and “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” It even strapped its dog to the roof of the car for a twelve-hour road trip and shows no sign of remorse.

More after the jump.

It sounds like it is stuck in “Tea Party mode”. Have you tried resetting it?

That’s what I thought. I called earlier when the Romneytron locked up the nomination and your colleague Eric Fehrnstrom said “It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”


Did that help?

Not really. It turns out the Romneytron assaulted a student who he suspected of being gay, forced him to the ground and clipped his hair with a pair of scissors. And now he shows no regret for having committed a hate crime.

I don’t know what you customers want. You said the Romneytron 2001 was too French. You said the Romneytron 2002 was too pro-Choice. You said the Romneytron 2008 wasn’t conservative enough. There is no way to satisfy you people.

What ever happened to “The customer is always right?” I just want a leader who cares about my problems and will take my side.

Click.

I love being able to hang up on people.

Equality Forum 2012 Philadelphia with Israel as Featured Nation

— by Chip Alfred

The twentieth annual Equality Forum is being held in Philadelphia. This year this global LGBT summit is highlighting the achievements of the State of Israel in giving equal opportunities to all sexual orientations.

According to the Equality Forum‘s Executive Director Malcolm Lazin:  

Our 20th anniversary celebrates the transformation from a groundbreaking conference that focused on an emerging civil rights movement into the annual Equality Forum recognized as the premier annual national and international LGBT summit.

Israel as the featured nation will be represented by the Ambassador to the U.S., major Israeli LGBT leaders, and Tel Aviv DJs and entertainers.”

The annual Equality Forum includes 25 panels, International Equality Dinner, SundayOUT! at The Piazza, six parties, 13th Annual Gay and Lesbian Art Exhibit, theater, and special events. There is no registration fee and all panels are free.

Details of the Featured Nation Israel Programs follow the jump.
Michael Oren
Equality Forum Featured Nation Israel Programs

  • Ambassador of Israel to the U.S. Dr. Michael B. Oren as Keynote Speaker at International Equality Dinner
  • David AdikaIsraeli photographer David Adika featured at 13th annual Gay and Lesbian Art Exhibit
  • Israeli delegation including elected officials, leaders, drag queen, and entertainers
  • Tel Aviv Drag Queen Osher Sabag performs at Drag Party
  • Israeli Pop Star Shorty performs at SundayOUT! at The Piazza
  • Tel Aviv DJs spin at Equality Forum parties

International Equality Dinner
At the National Museum of American Jewish History – Saturday, May 5th, 7 to 10 p.m.

  • Houston Mayor Annise Parker  – Recipient of the 17th annual International Role Model Award
  • NBCUniversal  – Recipient of the 10th annual International Business Leadership Award
  • Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren – Keynote Speaker
  • MSNBC Anchor Thomas Roberts  – Master of Ceremonies


25 Major Panels including:

  • Featured Nation: Israel – Moderated by Israel native Nurit Shein, Executive Director, Mazzoni LGBT Health Center, with four leading Israeli panelists, including openly gay Tel Aviv City Council Member Yaniv Weizman,  Thursday, May 3rd at 8:30 p.m.
  • National Military Panel – Members of OutServe, a network of out service members, on obstacles LGBT military personnel face after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Saturday, May 5th at 1:00 p.m.
  • National Sports Panel – A panel of sports experts discusses the challenges facing openly LGBT amateur, college and professional athletes, Saturday, May 5th at 1:00 p.m.
  • National Religious Colloquy – Moderated by Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, Professor of Religion, Temple University, a panel of Catholics discusses LGBT inclusion in the Roman Catholic Church, Thursday, May 3rd at 7:00 p.m.  
  • National Youth Panel – Facilitated by Katherine Miller, discharged West Point cadet under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” is a discussion with gay former University of Michigan Student Body President Chris Armstrong, and Iowa activist and son of lesbian parents Zach Wahls, Saturday, May 5th at 2:30 p.m.
  • National  Same-Sex Marriage Panel – Moderated by Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director, Equality Federation, the panel surveys the status of marriage equality, Saturday, May 5th at 2:30 p.m.


SundayOUT!
At The Piazza – Sunday, May 6th, Noon to 7 p.m.

Over 150 vendors, artisans, galleries, bars, boutiques, cafés and restaurants in an Italian inspired open-air plaza. SundayOUT! includes music, recording artists, drag queens, and Israeli DJs and performers.

Special Theatre Performance

The Twentieth-Century Way – Set in L.A. in 1914, two actors are hired by police to entrap homosexuals in public restrooms for social vagrancy, at Play and Players, Thursday, May 3rd to Saturday, May 5th

Six Parties including:

  • NBCUniversal Welcome Party at Vedge – Thursday, May 3rd
  • Drag Show & Party at Tabu – Friday, May 4th
  • Stimulus Party – Friday, May 4th
  • Girl Fever at Sisters – Saturday, May 5th
  • Men’s Party at Voyeur – Saturday, May 5th
  • SundayOUT! Tea Dance at Tendenza – Sunday, May 6th

For a complete schedule of events, visit The Equality Forum Website.

Equality Forum is a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus. Equality Forum coordinates LGBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high-impact initiatives and presents the premier annual national and international LGBT civil rights summit.

 

The Best of Congressman Barney Frank


Frank has often been accused of pushing “the radical homosexual agenda.” In the clip above, he defines exactly what that agenda is.

Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) stunned the country by announcing his retirement. Here are a few reactions we have received along with video highlights of his wit and wisdom.

Statement by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO):

Barney Frank was a groundbreaking pioneer and one of the most insightful, knowledgeable and humorous people ever to grace the halls of Congress. We will miss his leadership on a wide range of issues — from fighting to reign in Wall Street’s excesses and working to stabilize our economy to standing up for equal rights for LGBT Americans and curtailing runaway Pentagon spending. Congressman Frank championed the rights of all Americans, the economic security of all of our families, and a politics of inclusion and hope. It’s a great loss for the Congress but Barney leaves behind an enviable record of accomplishment. I will miss
his presence every day.

More after the jump.


In a recent Republican debate, Newt Gingrich said Frank should be thrown in jail for his role in the housing crisis. Frank responds to the video above.

Statement by NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris:

On behalf of the National Jewish Democratic Council’s leadership and staff, I am truly saddened by the news that Representative Barney Frank will be retiring at the end of his current term. For the last 30 years, Frank has been a leading voice for many Jewish communal concerns and a stalwart advocate for America’s middle class on Capitol Hill. Through his fierce advocacy for many Democratic and social justice causes, Frank truly represented the Jewish value of tikkun olam — repairing the world.

As we’ve experienced over the years, Frank has an unparalleled work ethic and a sense of humor to match. He leaves behind a strong legacy as one of America’s pioneering Jewish legislators in addition to the many pieces of legislation that bear his name. Frank’s absence in the House will be felt by all, and especially so for many in the American Jewish community who have looked up to Frank as a role model. We congratulate Frank for his distinguished career in the House of Representatives and wish him the best as he begins the next chapter of his life.

Barney Frank is asked by a Tea Party member if he would support a “Nazi policy” (public health insurance), Barney Frank responded, “On what planet do you spend most of your time? … Madam, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table. I have no interest in doing it.” Rep. Frank was in rare form that night, standing up to the uninformed shrieking of the right and offering a real lesson in how to argue with conservatives.

Ambassador Shapiro Meets Israeli GLBT Leaders at Hate Crime Scene

— David Streeter

President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro met with Aguda: The National Association of GLBT in Israel-which advocates for GLBT rights in the Knesset and across Israel-and other leaders from Israel’s GLBT community yesterday. According to the U.S. Embassy, “The meeting took place at the Gay and Lesbian Center of Tel Aviv-the scene of a hate crime in 2009 where a gunman opened fire in the club, killing two people and injuring at least 15.”

Democratic Party is Improving Their Messaging

 

Here, Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren speaks frankly about our the cause of our national debt and leads with her values.

Next, the DNC releases a hard hitting video highlighting the inappropriate cheering during the Republican presidential debates and notes none of the candidates said anything.  

Taking Account: The Aftermath of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

— by Sgt. Brian Kresge, Jewish Lay Leader of the 56th Stryker Bridge

Editor’s Note: Jewish tradition calls for an accounting of the soul cheshbon nefesh during the High Holidays. Now that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is no longer in effect, we can openly discuss the issue of homosexuality in the military. In this spirit, Sgt. Brian Kresge shares his regret at getting one of his friends kicked out of the army under DADT.

In 1996, I was stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska, just north of Anchorage, as part of a separate parachute infantry battalion.  Two years before, I had become ba’al t’shuvah coming out of Fort Benning to the 101st at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.  This continued in Alaska, working with the “Frozen Chosen” of Chabad Lubavitch in Anchorage.

This cast me, sadly, an odd-man out in my unit.  The request for special accommodations often put me at odds with my leadership.  They weren’t anti-Semites, they just were of the mindset that if the military wanted to bother with family or religious matters, they’d issue them to you.  I was regarded as a solid performer, a good shot, and a great infantryman, but the needs of faith compromised that at times.  The requests for kosher rations in the field and even exemptions from duties on Shabbos in garrison were met with disdain, and almost 17 years of having to repeatedly answer for a kippah in uniform never got old.

I made fast friends at my Alaskan duty station with an amiable fellow from Richmond, Virginia.  His fondness for smoking a pipe (an indulgence we shared) and flannel shirts made him look like he escaped from a porch on a hovel in Appalachia.  An infantry company only has a few non-infantry personnel, be it supply, or in this guy’s case, the unit Nuclear, Biological and Chemical specialist.  As such, grunts enjoy a branch-specific chauvinism that doesn’t view non-grunts as of sufficient military merit, thus he was equally an odd-man out.

Adam, my friend, was also gay.  He had a boyfriend in Anchorage who often came to visit him in the barracks, alternately dressed as a man or woman, but because of Adam’s 1950s woodsman appearance, no one gave it a second glance.

More after the jump.
My squad leader, a storied staff sergeant who helped write the book (literally) on long range surveillance operations, was a raging homophobe.  I, however, liked him because out of all my leadership, he looked out for me, in part because I never made him look bad in terms of my abilities.  His squad had the highest physical training average, the best marksmen, and we won squad competitions.  He was the best leader I worked for in the active duty Army.

There was a cycle when we enjoyed a number of back-to-back operations that separated us from kith and kin for a good period of time.  First Wales for a unit exchange which lasted over a month, then several weeks at the Northern Warfare Training Center (then at Fort Greeley), followed by weeks in the field.  We were arctic paratroopers, after all, winter operations were our bread and butter.  My squad leader and others at his level began to get cabin fever, and took to tormenting and humiliating junior enlisted as means of entertainment.  Adam began to inhabit the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality to escape from that.  I was at least insulated.  No one wanted to be seen picking on the unit Jew.

Unfortunately, my squad leader found Adam and another soldier in a compromised position.  It was really nothing more than two of them emerging from a bathroom buttoning their trousers, but it was enough for him to demand the launch of a DADT investigation.  Gay or not, the accusation and call for investigation were out of line.  Ultimately, the commander made the matter go away.

Adam, however, was filled with indignation, and filed a complaint against my squad leader, who perceived this to be career ending.  I liked Adam, he was a good friend.  A decent squad leader, though, engenders a certain amount of loyalty on the part of his subordinates.

I told him Adam was indeed gay.  While he was incensed that I hadn’t come forward before, he was relieved that someone could save his career, though I seriously question if it was ever in danger.  I went before the unit commander and told him about how Adam came out to me, and about his boyfriend, who as it turned out, was under age.

Adam was discharged under Chapter 14, incompatibility with military service.  It wasn’t a dishonorable discharge, but it did mean the benefits he was a year shy of earning were now gone.

My reward, sickening as it was, was an enhanced reputation as a soldier who “did the right thing.”  My advancement came at the expense of a good friend, one I lost forever and to whom I would apologize given the chance.  The under-aged boyfriend notwithstanding (especially in a unit where many guys had 16 and 17 year old girls in their barracks room more often than not), Adam did nothing to merit the humiliation and discrimination, and I wronged him grievously in my betrayal of his confidence over what would have amounted to a negative counseling statement for my squad leader.

While I don’t find homosexuality compatible with Torah-observant Judaism, one could see as a service member, DADT was always an imperfect policy.  It was easily weaponized based off of rumor and speculation.  When I left active duty, I believed that the less frequent interactions with the military under the National Guard would entail less scrutiny into personal lives.  However, here in the Pennsylvania National Guard, a chaplain from Lancaster–clergy from a liberal denomination–was targeted under DADT by an anonymous chaplain superior who we do know was from a more conservative denomination.  The matter was dropped, but certainly it could have humiliated the chaplain involved, not to mention compromised his civilian ministry.  Meanwhile, they protected the anonymity of his accuser.

And the policy wasn’t just useful to those with an anti-gay agenda.  I performed duties full time at my Guard unit’s armory a few years ago during a mobilization.  We had a soldier transfer in from Minnesota.  He was gay, though not openly.  His boyfriend dropped him off and picked him up from drill.  What was important to me, taking attendance, was that he showed up and did his duties for the weekend.  I had other soldiers, some combat veterans, being AWOL or failing drug tests, and you could have heard crickets chirping for volunteer opportunities.  He volunteered and did a great job as part of the National Guard security presence in Washington, D.C. during President Obama’s inauguration.  When he transferred to Texas to be closer to family, his jaded boyfriend came to the armory and dropped off gear he left behind, obviously hoping that outing him would land his ex in hot water.  The irony of DADT being wielded by a jilted lover wasn’t lost on me.

Informed by my experience with Adam, I wasn’t about to bite.  The kid was a good soldier.  He’ll deploy with the Texas Army National Guard, if he hasn’t already, and he’ll show his mettle in the service of this country in Iraq or Afghanistan, and his performance will have nothing to do with his sexuality.

My great-uncle, of blessed memory, was a Marine and fought at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.  He was awarded the Purple Heart and a Silver Star.  He expressed sentiments regarding gay Marines he fought alongside back then.  “If they were gay Marines, I would actually call them Marines that were gay,” he said to me, the distinction lurking in the organization of his phrase, “and anyway, history won’t mention anything other than that they were Marines.”

For my part – my military credentials – I served from 1994 – 2011 with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment in Alaska, and with the Pennsylvania National Guard as part of the now disbanded 28th Infantry Division Long Range Surveillance Detachment (LRSD) and the 56th Stryker Brigade.  I was also the 56th Brigade’s Jewish Lay Leader, as endorsed by the Aleph Institute, the military and prison service organization that was created to answer a call from the Lubavitcher Rebbe to serve Jews in those circumstances.  In my civilian occupation I am a programmer and author.

Taking Account: The Aftermath of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

— by Sgt. Brian Kresge, Jewish Lay Leader of the 56th Stryker Bridge

Editor’s Note: Jewish tradition calls for an accounting of the soul cheshbon nefesh during the High Holidays. Now that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is no longer in effect, we can openly discuss the issue of homosexuality in the military. In this spirit, Sgt. Brian Kresge shares his regret at getting one of his friends kicked out of the army under DADT.

In 1996, I was stationed at Fort Richardson, Alaska, just north of Anchorage, as part of a separate parachute infantry battalion.  Two years before, I had become ba’al t’shuvah coming out of Fort Benning to the 101st at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.  This continued in Alaska, working with the “Frozen Chosen” of Chabad Lubavitch in Anchorage.

This cast me, sadly, an odd-man out in my unit.  The request for special accommodations often put me at odds with my leadership.  They weren’t anti-Semites, they just were of the mindset that if the military wanted to bother with family or religious matters, they’d issue them to you.  I was regarded as a solid performer, a good shot, and a great infantryman, but the needs of faith compromised that at times.  The requests for kosher rations in the field and even exemptions from duties on Shabbos in garrison were met with disdain, and almost 17 years of having to repeatedly answer for a kippah in uniform never got old.

I made fast friends at my Alaskan duty station with an amiable fellow from Richmond, Virginia.  His fondness for smoking a pipe (an indulgence we shared) and flannel shirts made him look like he escaped from a porch on a hovel in Appalachia.  An infantry company only has a few non-infantry personnel, be it supply, or in this guy’s case, the unit Nuclear, Biological and Chemical specialist.  As such, grunts enjoy a branch-specific chauvinism that doesn’t view non-grunts as of sufficient military merit, thus he was equally an odd-man out.

Adam, my friend, was also gay.  He had a boyfriend in Anchorage who often came to visit him in the barracks, alternately dressed as a man or woman, but because of Adam’s 1950s woodsman appearance, no one gave it a second glance.

My squad leader, a storied staff sergeant who helped write the book (literally) on long range surveillance operations, was a raging homophobe.  I, however, liked him because out of all my leadership, he looked out for me, in part because I never made him look bad in terms of my abilities.  His squad had the highest physical training average, the best marksmen, and we won squad competitions.  He was the best leader I worked for in the active duty Army.

More after the jump.
There was a cycle when we enjoyed a number of back-to-back operations that separated us from kith and kin for a good period of time.  First Wales for a unit exchange which lasted over a month, then several weeks at the Northern Warfare Training Center (then at Fort Greeley), followed by weeks in the field.  We were arctic paratroopers, after all, winter operations were our bread and butter.  My squad leader and others at his level began to get cabin fever, and took to tormenting and humiliating junior enlisted as means of entertainment.  Adam began to inhabit the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality to escape from that.  I was at least insulated.  No one wanted to be seen picking on the unit Jew.

Unfortunately, my squad leader found Adam and another soldier in a compromised position.  It was really nothing more than two of them emerging from a bathroom buttoning their trousers, but it was enough for him to demand the launch of a DADT investigation.  Gay or not, the accusation and call for investigation were out of line.  Ultimately, the commander made the matter go away.

Adam, however, was filled with indignation, and filed a complaint against my squad leader, who perceived this to be career ending.  I liked Adam, he was a good friend.  A decent squad leader, though, engenders a certain amount of loyalty on the part of his subordinates.

I told him Adam was indeed gay.  While he was incensed that I hadn’t come forward before, he was relieved that someone could save his career, though I seriously question if it was ever in danger.  I went before the unit commander and told him about how Adam came out to me, and about his boyfriend, who as it turned out, was under age.

Adam was discharged under Chapter 14, incompatibility with military service.  It wasn’t a dishonorable discharge, but it did mean the benefits he was a year shy of earning were now gone.

My reward, sickening as it was, was an enhanced reputation as a soldier who “did the right thing.”  My advancement came at the expense of a good friend, one I lost forever and to whom I would apologize given the chance.  The under-aged boyfriend notwithstanding (especially in a unit where many guys had 16 and 17 year old girls in their barracks room more often than not), Adam did nothing to merit the humiliation and discrimination, and I wronged him grievously in my betrayal of his confidence over what would have amounted to a negative counseling statement for my squad leader.

While I don’t find homosexuality compatible with Torah-observant Judaism, one could see as a service member, DADT was always an imperfect policy.  It was easily weaponized based off of rumor and speculation.  When I left active duty, I believed that the less frequent interactions with the military under the National Guard would entail less scrutiny into personal lives.  However, here in the Pennsylvania National Guard, a chaplain from Lancaster–clergy from a liberal denomination–was targeted under DADT by an anonymous chaplain superior who we do know was from a more conservative denomination.  The matter was dropped, but certainly it could have humiliated the chaplain involved, not to mention compromised his civilian ministry.  Meanwhile, they protected the anonymity of his accuser.

And the policy wasn’t just useful to those with an anti-gay agenda.  I performed duties full time at my Guard unit’s armory a few years ago during a mobilization.  We had a soldier transfer in from Minnesota.  He was gay, though not openly.  His boyfriend dropped him off and picked him up from drill.  What was important to me, taking attendance, was that he showed up and did his duties for the weekend.  I had other soldiers, some combat veterans, being AWOL or failing drug tests, and you could have heard crickets chirping for volunteer opportunities.  He volunteered and did a great job as part of the National Guard security presence in Washington, D.C. during President Obama’s inauguration.  When he transferred to Texas to be closer to family, his jaded boyfriend came to the armory and dropped off gear he left behind, obviously hoping that outing him would land his ex in hot water.  The irony of DADT being wielded by a jilted lover wasn’t lost on me.

Informed by my experience with Adam, I wasn’t about to bite.  The kid was a good soldier.  He’ll deploy with the Texas Army National Guard, if he hasn’t already, and he’ll show his mettle in the service of this country in Iraq or Afghanistan, and his performance will have nothing to do with his sexuality.

My great-uncle, of blessed memory, was a Marine and fought at Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.  He was awarded the Purple Heart and a Silver Star.  He expressed sentiments regarding gay Marines he fought alongside back then.  “If they were gay Marines, I would actually call them Marines that were gay,” he said to me, the distinction lurking in the organization of his phrase, “and anyway, history won’t mention anything other than that they were Marines.”


For my part – my military credentials – I served from 1994 – 2011 with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment in Alaska, and with the Pennsylvania National Guard as part of the now disbanded 28th Infantry Division Long Range Surveillance Detachment (LRSD) and the 56th Stryker Brigade.  I was also the 56th Brigade’s Jewish Lay Leader, as endorsed by the Aleph Institute, the military and prison service organization that was created to answer a call from the Lubavitcher Rebbe to serve Jews in those circumstances.  In my civilian occupation I am a programmer and author.

US Joins Israel Today in Allowing Gay Soldiers to Serve Their Country

— President Barack Obama

Today, the discriminatory law known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is finally and formally repealed.  As of today, patriotic Americans in uniform will no longer have to lie about who they are in order to serve the country they love.  As of today, our armed forces will no longer lose the extraordinary skills and combat experience of so many gay and lesbian service members. And today, as Commander in Chief, I want those who were discharged under this law to know that your country deeply values your service.

More after the jump.
I was proud to sign the Repeal Act into law last December because I knew that it would enhance our national security, increase our military readiness, and bring us closer to the principles of equality and fairness that define us as Americans.  Today’s achievement is a tribute to all the patriots who fought and marched for change; to Members of Congress, from both parties, who voted for repeal; to our civilian and military leaders who ensured a smooth transition; and to the professionalism of our men and women in uniform who showed that they were ready to move forward together, as one team, to meet the missions we ask of them.

For more than two centuries, we have worked to extend America’s promise to all our citizens.  Our armed forces have been both a mirror and a catalyst of that progress, and our troops, including gays and lesbians, have given their lives to defend the freedoms and liberties that we cherish as Americans.  Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals.