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Two Jews to Receive Presidential Medal of Freedom

Martine Kaplan — July 30, 2009 – 3:35 pm | Barack Obama Comments (3) Add a comment

Today, President Barack Obama announced the recipients of the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom. This distinction is “awarded to individuals who make an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

Two Jews are among those who will be honored August 12th at the White House. Here are their bios, provided by the White House.


  • Nancy Goodman Brinker: Nancy Goodman Brinker is the founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s leading breast cancer grass roots organization.  Brinker established the organization in memory of her sister, who passed away from breast cancer in 1980.  Through innovative events like Race for the Cure, the organization has given and invested over $1.3 billion for research, health services and education services since its founding in 1982 and developed a worldwide grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists who are working together to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find cures.  Brinker has received several awards for her work, and has also served in government as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary (2001 – 2003), Chief of Protocol of the U.S. (2007 – 2009), and Chair of the President’s Cancer Panel (1990).  In May, Nancy Goodman Brinker was named the first-ever World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Cancer Control.
  • Harvey Milk: Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected official from a major city in the United States when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977. Milk encouraged lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens to live their lives openly and believed coming out was the only way they could change society and achieve social equality. Milk, alongside San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, was shot and killed in 1978 by Dan White, a former city supervisor.  Milk is revered nationally and globally as a pioneer of the LGBT civil rights movement for his exceptional leadership and dedication to equal rights.


To learn about the rest of the recipients, click here.


djaymick | August 4, 2009 – 2:17 pm

Any thoughts on Mary Robinson?

Joel Rosenthal | August 7, 2009 – 8:41 pm

There is no way a person who presides over a hatefest should ever be considered for such an award.

Bryan J Blumberg | August 9, 2009 – 12:57 pm

Yes.  I agree.  I would also like to know the NJDC’s opinion of Obama’s choice of Mary Robinson to receive the Medal of Freedom.

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