Rabbi Yehuda Levin
By: Inside the Vatican staff

In the world of ecumenical relations, few can match the courage and achievements of the Jewish Rabbi Yehuda Levin. For more than a quarter of a century, this energetic religious leader has fought for pro-life and pro-life family values across the globe, uniting peoples of many faiths, emerging as a hero in the ongoing “culture wars.”

Now just over 52, hailing from Brooklyn, New York, the father of nine children — and grandfather of two — Rabbi Levin is one of the best-known and most respected Orthodox Jewish leaders in America.

For many years, he has been a special representative of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the US and Canada, and the Rabbinical Alliance of America, with a joint membership of 1,000 rabbis, representing the philosophy of more than 2 million Orthodox and traditional Jews worldwide. He speaks on religion and morality from a Jewish Torah perspective and is the chief spokesman for Jews for Morality. He has become a fixture at the annual address to the March for Life Rally in Washington, D.C. (organized by pro-life Catholic stalwart Nellie Gray) held every January 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

The lay Catholic leaders he has worked with include Judie Brown of the American Life League and Dr. William Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. But perhaps his most fruitful collaborations have been with leaders of the Christian clergy, including the late John Cardinal O’Connor, Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis, Vatican officials, and the Pope himself. Rabbi Levin’s active support for Catholic causes and values is enough to make Catholics themselves blush. Consider:

— In the 1980s, after the late John Cardinal O’Connor, then the bishop of Scranton, was appointed the archbishop of New York, he was greeted by a chorus of criticism from the secular media for drawing a parallel between abortion and the Holocaust. Rabbi Levin immediately rose to the cardinal’s defense and said the comparison, intended to highlight the sacredness of innocent human life, was both powerful and apt. During the 1990’s, having become a close personal friend of the cardinal, Rabbi Levin was invited to the archbishop’s New York residence
during a papal visit to meet with Pope John Paul II, where he informed the pontiff of Jewish pro-life and pro-family activism.

— When Father Paul Marx of Human Life International drew attention to the involvement of certain Jewish individuals and organizations in abortion — as he had to Catholic, Protestant and secular support for this radical evil — he was accused, outrageously, of anti-Semitism. Rabbi Levin, who himself has often criticized secular Jews for condoning abortion, condemned these attacks with vigor and declared that Fr. Marx was a strong friend and ally of the Jewish community, standing shoulder to shoulder with him in his defense of innocent life within the womb.

— In 2000, when an aggressive campaign was launched by secularists to expel, or at least downgrade, the Holy See’s observer status at the United Nations, Rabbi Levin participated in a major press conference at the UN (covered by ITV that same year) in support of the Church’s presence, saying it was indispensable to the organization’s moral and political health. His view prevailed, and the efforts to downgrade the Church’s UN status failed.

— During the last few years, Rabbi Levin has led efforts to counter the homosexual agenda in the Holy Land, outspokenly opposing an annual “Gay Parade” march through the streets of Jerusalem. In May of 2006, Rabbi Levin wrote a special letter to Pope Benedict XVI, imploring him and the Church for help: “We plead for the Most Esteemed Pontiff to strongly condemn the intended upcoming sacrilege… If we have any chance of preventing this blasphemy, it is only if the leaders and practitioners of the other faiths speak loudly, unequivocally and often.” As a result of this dramatic appeal, transmitted through diplomatic circles, the Holy See, in a highly unusual act, sent a telegram to the Israeli officials urging them to cancel the scheduled gay parade through the streets of Jerusalem. This international pressure, initiated by Rabbi Levin, worked: the parade, originally scheduled for August, was delayed and then eventually cancelled, and the advocates of the “gay” ideology were required to confine their event to a small, isolated stadium in November, surrounded by the police, away from the main streets of Jerusalem, where families with children would have been forced to watch.

At a time when so many political and even religious leaders refuse to call sin a sin, and when many use timid language, Rabbi Levin is not afraid to call moral evil by its proper name.

At the pro-family events he attends, he speaks the language of an Old Testament prophet, calling wayward children back to God. Abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, pornography — you name the moral evil, and Rabbi Levin is sure to have unequivocally condemned it.

Having achieved so much in his life, Rabbi Levin has not slowed down, but actually redoubled his efforts. “So much has been accomplished, and yet so much remains to be done,” he says. “Jews, Christians and all good people of faith are under attack, and yet many don’t even recognize it, and if they do, they make needless concessions in order to get along. I don’t believe in cowering before the secular establishment, but standing up for my moral beliefs and asking people who share them to join me.”
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