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The Rabbi Who Influenced Paladino’s Speech

Brooklyn’s Yehuda Levin wants an ‘Orthodox Tea Party’

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Rabbi Levin (L) and Carl Paladino (front).(NYT)

Yesterday on The Today Show, Republican New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino implied that some of his more gay-bashing prepared remarks Sunday were written in consultation with unnamed Orthodox Jewish leaders, who, he added, “went too far.” The cryptic pseudo-blaming makes more sense now that we know about Yehuda Levin, an Orthodox (though not Hasidic) right-wing Brooklyn rabbi who several months ago offered to help Paladino navigate Brooklyn’s religious Jewish communities. Paladino worried about winning these votes after calling Sheldon Silver “an Antichrist and a Hitler.” But Levin agreed with Paladino’s diagnosis of the (Orthodox Jewish) Assembly Speaker and he wished to lend his aid. Levin avers that while he did not pen Sunday’s controversial speech, “I did have some input into it—and I stand ready to defend the content of it.”

Paladino’s campaign manager, Michael R. Caputo, saw the relationship with Levin as a way for Paladino to break into Democratic rival Andrew Cuomo’s Hasidic support, since Paladino’s positions on abortion and gay marriage jibe with most Hasids’. The problem, as the New York Times’s Nick Confessore explains, is that most ultra-Orthodox rabbis “preach traditional values in shul but are highly pragmatic when it comes to picking politicians to endorse, backing winners and those most likely to deliver resources to their communities”—which, in this case, would lead them (and has led them) to endorse Cuomo.

Levin, whose Midwood congregation has all of two dozen members, and who describes himself as “the next closest thing to Hasidic, an amalgam of right-wing yeshivish and Hasidic,” has long sought to establish an “Orthodox Tea Party” (his words), which, well, let’s just hope that idea doesn’t leave Midwood. Though maybe it already has: He is a spokesperson for the Rabbinical Alliance of America.

The article’s worst quote comes from Levin, who several years ago said of a Jerusalem gay pride festival, “This is not the homo land, this is the Holy Land.”

The article’s best quote comes from an anonymous Orthodox political operative: “These rabbis have become the Santa Claus of politics. You bring the person running, you have a photo op. And as long as he has a black hat and jacket, it’s great. It looks like an endorsement.” You forgot about the big beard.

Below: Paladino jokingly fires Caputo and hires Levin as his campaign manger. Ha ha ha.

(Source: Levin’s Website!)
Agendas of Paladino and Rabbi Meld [NYT]
Earlier: N.Y. Candidate Gay-Bashes to Orthodox Applause

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Rabbi Levin has to understand that the right wing does not care about the separation between church and state, nor about charity, a cornerstone of Judaism. Voting democrat won’t force you to ordain same-sex marriages, rabbi, but it will provide for the common good.

Actually, all politically conservative Jews need to learn this.

You should look into the “Rabbinical Alliance of America.” Here’s a hint—it’s all in Levin’s head.

One word for Levin: Bigot .

Rachelle Pachtman says:

It saddens and disgusts me that they allowed themselves to be used by Paladino, an obvious sleaze, due to their lack of sophistication. Not to mention the fact that baseless hatred or “sinaht chinam” is a sin according to what I understand. Not my proudest moment as an inclusive Jew who cares about social justice.

“Voting democrat won’t force you to ordain same-sex marriages, rabbi, but it will provide for the common good.

Actually, all politically conservative Jews need to learn this.”

Voting conservative is not about depriving people but about standing firm on principals that are sacred. We are not against individuals. Many of us certainly did not applaud the hatred bating that was espoused. But we must stand firm on these truths and not condone any contradictions. It would be like tell someone it’s okay to agree with a Holocaust denier as long as his heart is in the “right place.”

Lorraine fox says:

This Rabbi is a bigot. This is not the Midwood community in which I grew up and moved away from 33 years ago. Levin is shameful and an embarrassment to the community for keeping company with the likes of Paladino. I don’t think that Levin is backing Paladino due to a lack of sophistication. I think that Paladino represents the anti-gay hatred that Levin espouses. One wonders where he received smicha(ordination) to fulfill the Jewish ideals of Tikkun Olam.
Lorraine Fox

Well thank you Rav Levin! You’ve done a great service to the community, the people and the nation. Your advise may well make Mr. Palodino the extreme outsider his (and your) views deserve. A Jewish Tea Party? I thought one of our stereotypes was intelligent?

Just an aside, notice that Palodino, coward and poor politician that he already demonstrated in his speech, now takes his poor judgement and spinelessness to a higher level by not only not taking responsibility for his homophobia, but blaming the Jew (sound familiar, Rav Levin?) for making him do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks to you, Reb Levin, we Jews are to blame for the Tea Party extremism.

Johann von Goethe~ Character develops itself in the stream of life.

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The Rabbi Who Influenced Paladino’s Speech

Brooklyn’s Yehuda Levin wants an ‘Orthodox Tea Party’

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