A group of rabbis have forced two
venues to cancel on a lesbian comic's planned New Year's Eve event.
According to the New York Daily
News, rabbis from the Vaad Harabanim of Flatbush, which certifies
whether a restaurant's food is kosher, threatened to pull their
religious certification if Forster performed at two local Brooklyn
eateries that cater to Jewish clientele.
Leah Forster, who grew up Orthodox and
lives in the neighborhood, generally abides by Jewish law as it
relates to her stand up act, which pokes fun at the insular Orthodox
world she lives in. Forster performs in both Yiddish and English,
and only in front of all-female Jewish audiences.
Despite her sexuality not being part of
her act, the rabbis said that because Forster is a lesbian, it would
be a violation of Jewish law for her to host such an event.
“I am being stripped of my basic
human and civil rights solely based on my sexuality plus my religion
or lack thereof,” Forster
Forster has filed a formal complaint
with New York City's Commission on Human Rights, which oversees
enforcement of the city's LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination law.
Forster is still selling $50 tickets
for a “nite out” in Brooklyn for New Year's Eve. A flier for the
event states that it will be held somewhere in Brooklyn and will
feature alcohol and kosher food.
“The show must go on!” the flier
states. “Once in a lifetime chance to see the show that Rabbi$$
are trying to cancel!”