This is a really solid piece by Nicholas Confessore on how Carl Paladino came to deliver his homophobic rant over the weekend. What I really appreciate is how Confessore breaks down the Hasidic community in Brooklyn and puts Rabbi Yehuda Levin (Paladino's bigoted ally) in context:
Like Mr. Paladino, Mr. Levin, 56, plays on the margins of traditional power structures. His synagogue, the Kehilas Mevakshai Hashem, has roughly two dozen members, far fewer than the thousands of adherents commanded by the large Hasidic sects that dominate Orthodox politics in Brooklyn, each under the dominion of a grand rebbe, or rabbi. He is based in Midwood, rather than the Hasidic strongholds of Williamsburg and Borough Park.In fact, Mr. Levin is not, strictly speaking, a Hasid, though he wears the familiar black hat and coat of those who are. "I'm the next closest thing to Hasidic," Mr. Levin said, "an amalgam of right-wing yeshivish and Hasidic."What Mr. Levin did have was a pure devotion to conservative politics unmatched by more prominent Orthodox rabbis, many of whom 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.
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