October 13th, 2010
07:24 PM ET

Rabbi withdraws endorsement for Paladino after apology

An Orthodox rabbi who endorsed New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino said Wednesday he is withdrawing that endorsement after Paladino apologized for making anti-gay remarks.

"I sadly, sadly have to withdraw from his campaign because I represent the Orthodox Jewish community in terms of family values," Rabbi Yehuda Levin told CNN, adding: "You can't compromise on this."

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Homosexuality • Judaism • New York • Politics • United States

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Nobuharu

    Amy- You know, I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're so right. They're even kinda like the three of us Noelle Yep, these are all from my fleids two of the less successful ones, sadly. They are good to munch, though; the kids are always bringing ears back to the galle to roast (i.e., char) on coals.Left by clare on October 5th, 2005

    March 31, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  2. Laurent

    How could you leave out the part about the pastrami sandwich??

    October 15, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
    • Deli

      Pastrami – NOW we're talking!!

      October 31, 2010 at 2:17 am |
  3. Reality

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    For only Rabbi Yehuda Levin's eyes:

    "Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

    Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

    "When I grew up in Brooklyn, congregants were not sophisticated about anything," said Rabbi Harold Kushner, the author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" and a co-editor of the new book. "Today, they are very sophisticated and well read about psychology, literature and history, but they are locked in a childish version of the Bible."

    "Etz Hayim," compiled by David Lieber of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, seeks to change that. It offers the standard Hebrew text, a parallel English translation (edited by Chaim Potok, best known as the author of "The Chosen"), a page-by-page exegesis, periodic commentaries on Jewish practice and, at the end, 41 essays by prominent rabbis and scholars on topics ranging from the Torah scroll and dietary laws to ecology and eschatology.

    These essays, perused during uninspired sermons or Torah readings at Sabbath services, will no doubt surprise many congregants. For instance, an essay on Ancient Near Eastern Mythology," by Robert Wexler, president of the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, states that on the basis of modern scholarship, it seems unlikely that the story of Genesis originated in Palestine. More likely, Mr. Wexler says, it arose in Mesopotamia, the influence of which is most apparent in the story of the Flood, which probably grew out of the periodic overflowing of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The story of Noah, Mr. Wexler adds, was probably borrowed from the Mesopotamian epic Gilgamesh.

    Equally striking for many readers will be the essay "Biblical Archaeology," by Lee I. Levine, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. "There is no reference in Egyptian sources to Israel's sojourn in that country," he writes, "and the evidence that does exist is negligible and indirect." The few indirect pieces of evidence, like the use of Egyptian names, he adds, "are far from adequate to corroborate the historicity of the biblical account."

    Similarly ambiguous, Mr. Levine writes, is the evidence of the conquest and settlement of Canaan, the ancient name for the area including Israel. Excavations showing that Jericho was unwalled and uninhabited, he says, "clearly seem to contradict the violent and complete conquest portrayed in the Book of Joshua." What's more, he says, there is an "almost total absence of archaeological evidence" backing up the Bible's grand descriptions of the Jerusalem of David and Solomon.

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "litany of disillusion" about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    October 14, 2010 at 4:46 pm |
  4. nOT Trash

    The rabbi is obviously gay.

    October 14, 2010 at 3:18 pm |
    • Raison


      October 14, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
  5. habbair24

    wow! You would think the jews would know how it feels to be discriminated against.

    October 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm |
  6. Selfish Gene

    In order for one religion to be right, all the others must be wrong. Faith aside, this is a fundamental flaw in finding common ground. If you compromise or concede, you fail in your faith. Thus the religion fails. We can't all win. But we can be called upon to fight the persecution of the losers. Once that was Jews. Then Blacks. Now it is Gays. I wonder who they will hate next.

    October 14, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
  7. JohnQuest

    David Johnson, I have no sound opinion, both of you have been saying the same things since I have been blogging with you.

    October 14, 2010 at 9:54 am |
  8. David Johnson

    Good people! I would like your opinion on 2 exchanges between Frank and myself.

    If you have 5 minutes or so, please go to this blog and read the exchanges. Comment as you will.



    October 14, 2010 at 9:41 am |
    • Selfish Gene

      at this point, it is like watching grass grow. I know where it is going, and it takes far too long to get there.

      October 14, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Raison

      @David Johnson

      After the gruelingly long read, I was impressed right down to my...er...toes, such as they are...and left you a very nice post.

      Why is it that we are getting so long-winded? I am getting so verbose and long-winded in some of my posts that I wonder if anyone will actually read them all the way to the end.
      But in your case, David, I think it was necessary in order to address all the points Frank was making. But then, some of "teh religulous" are obvious troll-baiters – giving a nice little list of crazy statements that fairly beg to be addressed point-by-point.

      Good job there, sir. I salute you. Cheers!

      October 14, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
  9. Frogist

    Mr Paladino, you can't fool all of the people all of the time. When you just want to get elected and will say whatever the group in front of you wants to get a vote, it shows a lack of principles. And I wonder about the people who would trust you to stand up for them, especially when they're not in the room. So I'm glad the Rabbi has chosen not to support you and is open in his saying why. At least he stuck to his principles, as backwards as they might be. And for those of you who don't know, the orthodox jewish community has always been politically active and has never really been a fan of gays.

    October 14, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  10. Reality

    The Royal College of Psy-chia-trists stated in 20-07:

    “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

    "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

    October 14, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  11. God

    I don't care about the "chosen people"
    I never really liked them, anyways.

    October 14, 2010 at 7:25 am |
    • Raison

      Yeah, we could tell....

      October 14, 2010 at 4:15 pm |

    Einstein stated in a letter recently auctioned that the bible was a collection of primitive legends. He said believing in God was childish and he as a Jew is no different than another person and are not chosen by God.

    October 14, 2010 at 5:17 am |
  13. Judith

    Dear Rabbi, Dear Paladino, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    Have we noticed yet? Fighting against hasn't worked. Playing with, working for and opening to, enlarge the circle of light 🙂

    October 13, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  14. Robert DiStefano

    This happens so many times with politicians these days. They change their minds in midstream as soon as the heat is on. It makes you not want to believe anything that they say.

    October 13, 2010 at 10:17 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      They're politicians, you are not suppose to believe a word they say. You know when a politicians is lying? (their mouth is open).

      October 14, 2010 at 9:56 am |
  15. Frank

    Since when do Orthodox Jews care about politics? They're supposed to be seperate from the world, like the Amish. I'm guessing they're Zionists.

    October 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Until it serves their purpose. Then they decide to insert religion into the politics. I seem to remember when they were the ones persecuted by a government. Who was that again?

      October 14, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  16. Kate

    CNN, this segment is atrociously written. Going by the full text of the article, you can't tell if the Rabbi is withdrawing his endorsement of Paladino because of the original remarks, or because he apologized for making them in the first place.

    Could we possibly get a less ambiguous segment and quotes to work from?

    Just sayin'

    October 13, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
    • Peace2All


      I just had to laugh..... I don't know if you remember the comment by the person that was talking about

      "When you 'brake' the law.... you pay the crime."...

      I know it doesn't have anything to do with this article or thread... but your comment about AAMCO...

      I passed an AAMCO earlier today, and just burst out laughing. 🙂

      Thanks for the funny... I will remember that one.

      October 13, 2010 at 9:24 pm |
    • Kate


      Don't forget you can only go past there once a month 🙂

      Just timin'

      October 13, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • Peter F

      Kate and Peace,

      How good to hear from you. Peace, has your name always been capitalized? I feel like either my mind has gone bonkers or you switched it up a while back... either is possible. 😉

      October 13, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Peter F

      Yes.... to both your questions... 🙂

      Hope that you are well...?

      October 15, 2010 at 4:48 am |
    • angela

      I saw the original story, and here is what I gathered: The Rabbi gave support in front of his congregation with the politician present to court worshipers after he had made the anti-gay comments, but it appears now that public pressure has forced the politician to back down from the strong anti-gay stance. In so doing, the Rabbi has withdrawn his support of the politician. It sounds like some kind of joke, but it's true. 🙂

      October 15, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.