Bei Mir Bist Du Strange

Carl Paladino has been relatively quiet lately. This interlude began after the Orthodox rabbi who claims partial authorship for the candidate's sharp indictment of homosexuality, homosexuals, the Gay Pride Parade and anyone tolerant of the aforementioned, especially if named Cuomo, withdrew his support for Paladino. The reason: Paladino's sort-of-but-not-quite apology for his remarks. Rabbi Yehua Levin noted with Runyonesque flair that the gubernatorial aspirant had "folded like a cheap camera" when confronted with the uproar his statements provoked.

No sooner was the press conference over than controversy about it began. The NYT's City Room blog said he folded like a cheap lawn chair, not a cheap camera, which isn't nearly as good, imho. Either way, it was easy for Rabbi Levin to say. He's not running for governor and, although Jews are known for their disputative zest, the Reb doesn't look like he spends much time with people who disagree with him. Everyone in the room in which Big Carl made his speech, except for Big Carl himself, was dressed just like Levin, in duds required by the style dictates of a Jewish sect that is, quite literally, holier than thou, than me, than Carl, than anyone other than they, and they've got chapter and verse to prove it. Carl lingered sneeringly over the words "gay pride" and the boys-only crowd clapped and nodded as if of one mind, Levin's.

Rabbi Levin is entitled to his opinions, which include the view that permitting gay marriage in Israel would be worse than the Holocaust, and his followers are entitled to his opinion too. But if the Reb didn't realize that saying nasty things about gay people in New York City--especially in the wake of a gay student's jump off the GW and an attack on some young gay men that sure sounds like a hate crime--is not good strategy for a candidate already known for a distinct lack of polish, then Levin committed what even less devout Jews call a goyische kop. And that, as Martha Stewart, shiksa of renown, might say, is not a good thing.

The Rabbi was not content simply to withdraw support for his erstwhile amigo. He had more to say and he said in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, apparently in hopes that Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan would join him in a sort of ecumenical homo smackdown. The Archbishop didn't show, no goyishche kop he, and here's where the story gets odd. The Rabbi averred that he was dining when he learned of Paladino's mea culpa (not the Rabbi's words, of course, but after all, he was in front of St. Pat's):

"I was in the middle of eating a kosher pastrami sandwich," Rabbi Levin said. "While I was eating it, they come running and they say, 'Paladino became gay!' I said, 'What?' And then they showed me the statement. I almost choked on the kosher salami."

Say what? He's eating pastrami, then he's choking on salami? What was he eating, a double-decker? Then why not say so? What about the pickle, half-sour or full? Maybe his sandwich transubstantiated: water into wine, wine into blood, pastrami into salami.

If that's the case, I think the Rabbi should thank G-d the mustard didn't turn into mayonnaise. Then he'd really be in trouble.