A Brooklyn Rabbi, Yehuda Levin, wrote that gay men should consider chemical castration “as you do with cancer” to stop their same-sex feelings. Levin made his comments in a Letter to the Editor in response to a groundbreaking op-ed written in the Jewish Press by Chaim Levin. (No relation). The op-ed was important because it was the first time that this conservative publication published a column written from the perspective of an openly gay former Orthodox Jew.
“As you do with cancer, you never stop trying to find a better treatment to cure yourself,” wrote Rabbi Yehuda Levin in his Jewish Press letter. “If all therapies fail, as a last resort you use chemicals to stop the urge to act in a forbidden manner. (This resolution is ordered by European courts for offenders and it works.) Unpleasant, surely; but better than committing adultery, homosexuality or incest.”
Rabbi Levin’s medieval mindset is an embarrassment to Judaism and he should be deeply ashamed of himself. Levin’s anti-gay comments were cruel and insensitive to Jews everywhere who have felt the sting of intolerance and discrimination.
Rabbi Levin, who leads Congregation Mevakshei Hashem in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, is no stranger to anti-gay controversies. Last year he made news by claiming that the new marriage equality law in New York helped cause the earthquake that shook the East Coast. The rabbi opposed a gay pride parade in Jerusalem in 2010 calling it a “sodomy celebration” and “nothing less than the spiritual rape of the Holy Land.”
However, Levin is most remembered for helping GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino write anti-gay remarks that badly backfired. After Paladino retreated and apologized to the LGBT community, Levin dropped his support complaining that the politician, “folded like a cheap camera.”
Clearly, Rabbi Yehuda Levin is the Jewish version of Fred Phelps, the hateful Kansas preacher best known for protesting LGBT events with “God Hates Fags” signs. The fact that so many anti-gay organizations team up with him proves that they will scrape the bottom of the barrel to show that their ‘Christian Nation’ agenda has diverse support.
Indeed, Levin is a member of the advisory committee of Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation. Last month, the rabbi joined some of America’s most radical extremists to protest the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling a few anti-gay organizations “hate groups.”
The Rabbi was angered after he read an historic op-ed in the Jewish Press by Chaim Levin, who detailed being abused at the hands of a therapist referred by the “ex-gay” organization Jews Offering New Alternatives to Homosexuality (JONAH). The co-founder of JONAH, Arthur Abba Goldberg, is a convicted felon who concealed his lurid past until it was uncovered in a joint Truth Wins Out and South Florida Gay News investigation. Chaim originally spoke out about the harm caused by reparative therapy in a video produced by Truth Wins Out.
The reaction to Chaim’s Jewish Press op-ed by anti-gay activists was ferocious. According to the newspaper: “Following the publication of this op-ed, a number of Jewish Press advertisers were approached and threatened. They were told to stop advertising with the Jewish Press.”
Instead of backing down, the Jewish Press wrote a brave editorial defending Levin’s op-ed and boldly claimed that, “The Jewish Press won’t be silenced.” In support of the publication, TWO started an online Change.org petition that generated more than 3,000 letters from people who thanked the Jewish Press for their bravery and fairness.
Levin is not the only Jewish anti-gay extremist making news. Australia’s Rabbi Shimon Cowen published a report that claimed an effective way to counter anti-Semitic bullying is to funnel public money away from anti-homophobia bullying campaigns.