Carl Paladino and Yehuda Levin: Made for Each Other
The 56-year-old rabbi from Borough Park has been glomming onto TV cameras since the early '80s, usually as an anti-gay crusader. His biggest moment in the sun came when he ran for mayor against Ed Koch in 1985 as the Right to Life Party's candidate. Levin also went to bat for Pat Buchanan's Presidential campaign in 1996 after the candidate caught flack for his many light-hearted Jewish smears. Levin climbed aboard that crackpot bandwagon as well, that time as a national co-chairman of Buchanan's campaign.
But our favorite epistle in Levin's saga was in 1997 when he led a campaign to block the opening of the Holocaust Museum on the grounds that it would honor gay victims who perished in Nazi concentration camps. Levin was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking to prevent ''the elevation of homosexuals to the martyred status of the six million Jews.'' who perished.
That one didn't work out, but he was back earlier this year after the Haitian earthquake, suggesting that pro-gay policies led directly to that cataclysm. Here was his take: "We have seen the underground earthquake, tsunami, Katrina, and now Haiti. All this is in sync with a two thousand year old teaching in the Talmud that the practice of homosexuality is a spiritual cause of earthquakes. Once a disaster is unleashed, innocents are also victims just like in Chernobyl."
The Times' Nick Confessore notes today that Levin's current congregation has all of two-dozen members. And Newsday's Will Van Sant gets Levin to boast, with little coaxing, that he actually wrote one of the speeches that Paladino gave over the holiday weekend. Maybe he can pen one for the campaign about that museum travesty that had him so bent out of shape a few years ago.