Many years ago, a respected Rabbi in the community in which I lived at the time, shared the following story: The Rabbi who was serving as the Chaplin to the local Jewish nursing home was unavailable one day to lead evening services. As this nursing home observed Jewish dietary laws, there was a full-time rabbinic supervisor in the kitchen who was there to insure that all meals at the facility were kosher. The kitchen-rabbi was asked to lead the evening service.
Problem: the kitchen rabbi was not comfortable with the gender mixed seating arrangements in the nursing home chapel and asked the one and only woman who showed up for evening services to stand in the back of the chapel away from the other worshipers. When she declined, the kitchen-rabbi utilized a portable-screen to encircle and isolate the now frightened woman from everyone else. Bedlam ensued.
There are in fact many rabbis in the Orthodox world who have no pastoral training and regardless of their familiarity with sacred texts, lack basic social skills and sensitivity in dealing with people. They have received the title rabbi as part of their training to perform a utilitarian functions like supervising food preparation or to ritually slaughter animals in kosher meat-processing plant.
The Rabbi who shared this story observed that we must always be cognizant of the fact that there are two kinds of rabbis in the Orthodox Jewish world, “chicken rabbis,” those involved in food preparation, and “people rabbis,” those who know how to speak and work appropriately with people.
“Rabbi” Yehuda Levin of Brooklyn, NY, is renown homophobic chicken-rabbi who every few months, likes to unload some hateful verbiage about homosexuality in an effort to grab some media attention.
Recently, while addressing less than a minyan (Jewish quorum of ten) of his colleagues, the publicity hungry Levin turned on a camera long enough to record him making the following statement:
“While our organization does not make any endorsements of political candidates, in view of the disastrous national decline in morality, we are compelled to condemn Mitt Romney’s support and promotion of the immoral homosexual lifestyle and agenda. While we sympathize with those challenged by homosexual urges, or a desire for minors or adultery, they all remain prohibited activities that debase the practitioners and demoralize society. Gov. Romney over a long political career has earned the title: ‘Dangerous Homosexualist’ – one who constantly advances the militant anti-religious, anti-society, immoral homosexual agenda to the detriment of family people.”
One can’t help but wonder why Levin singled out one Republican Presidential candidate for this diatribe when there are so many other community and national leaders who support equal rights for gay people? Does Levin really believe that the comments of a provincial, homophobic chicken-rabbi in Brooklyn can possibly have some influence on American voters? How naive can a person be? What a delusional sense of self-importance.
For the record, Levin’s organization, The Rabbinical Alliance of America, exists more on paper than reality. Most of their members are in fact, chicken rabbis, not people rabbis. They certainly do not speak for the majority of American Orthodox rabbis or lay people.
Following last years East Coast earthquake, Levin issued another incendiary statement blaming all damaging natural events on America’s tolerance on homosexuality. You Tube determined that Levin’s comments in that instance were contrary to their policies against hateful speech; the video was removed. The Rawplay article that reported on Levin’s comments still has a copy of the video.
With all the evil in the world today, one can’t help why some “clergy” like Yehuda Levin and Fred Phelps are so exclusively focused on homosexuality. Could the wives of these two men possibly have some insights into their husbands obsessive behavior?