Tag Archives: freedom

On the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

Earlier today the United States Senate voted 65-31 to repeal the policy known as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. DADT forced gay men and lesbian women serving in the US Armed Forces to choose between the honor, dignity and responsibility of serving in the US Military and living lives in hiding. When I served as a Chaplain Candidate Program Officer in the US Navy was only about a year old. The policy was already having a powerful impact, forcing people to choose between closet and career. At that early stage of the policy chaplains were in a bind – - be a safe person to talk to, help people cope, follow policy? Difficult, difficult decisions.

Fast forward to today and victory – - people can serve for all the many reasons that men and women choose to serve in the US Armed Forces: love of country, patriotism, desire to help others, discipline, earn money for an education, dedication, love of brother/sister soldiers/sailors/airmen/marines.   One’s sexual orientation no longer has to be a factor.   Freedom.  Freedom.

Judaism teaches us that all human beings are created in the image of the Divine, whether men love women, women love men, men love men or women love women.  There are a variety of opinions within organized Judaism about the place of homosexuality in Judaism, but halakha and human dignity are not the same thing.

זה היום עשה הי - zeh hayom asah A – this is the day that G-d created, a day of rejoicing.

Some links on the repeal of DADT:

Rabbi Rachel Gurevitz on why repeal of DADT is a spiritual victory

NYTimes news story

Service Members United

Twitter stream on DADT

Wikipedia info

Summertime, Freedom and Captivity

Growing up in the United States, summertime equalled freedom. We were free from school, free to play, ride bikes, sit by the lake, free to spend much of our time in our imaginations. Celebration of America’s Independence Day on the 4th of July amplified the focus on freedom.

This year, more than the previous 2 years, my thoughts turned to Gilad Shalit as we celebrated American Independence Day. Gilad Shalit has not known freedom for 3 years. He sits in captivity, captured in a cross-boarder raid by Hamas. None of his family, friends or colleagues have heard from him in years. Hamas, the terrorist government of the Gazan Palestinian Authority does not allow even the Red Crescent, the Muslim version of the Red Cross to see him. This is in violation of international law and practice. (By the way, I wrote Gazan Palestinian Authority because the PA in Gaza does not get along with the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank led by Fatah.) While he is not free, none of us are free.

Freedom is precious and cannot be taken for granted. I pray that Gilad will know freedom some day soon.

If you would like to learn more about Gilad Shalit, visit the website HaBanim.