A popular Jewish comedia says her shows were cancelled at two venues because she's a lesbian.

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Report: ‘Mafia-like’ rabbis threatened venues over lesbian comedy act

December 10, 2018 - 12:04 pm
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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A popular Jewish comic has been booted from a pair of Brooklyn venues after they were threatened with the loss of their kosher certification.

The Daily News reports that members of the Orthodox Jewish community had complained to the restaurants because comedian Leah Forster is a lesbian.

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Forster had planned to hold events at Garden of Eat-In in Flatbush, and at Orchidea in Borough Park.

Tickets for Forster's New Year's Eve show was going for $80, but the restaurant's owner was forced to cancel or risk losing the venue's kosher certification.

“(The rabbi) said that you’re a lesbian, and you represent that, and we can’t let this go on,” Garden of Eat-In owner, Chaim Kirshner told the Daily News, "They operate like the mafia. If they pull your hechsher (kosher certification), you are screwed. They tell other places not to give you a hechsher.”

Orchidea stepped up to host the show, but also ran into resistance.

"One of the performers is openly lesbian. Every part of this event is against (Jewish Law) and against every moral fiber of our community," the petition said.

Forster said Orchidea was also pressured by a rabbinical group similar to the one that allegedly turned the screws on Garden of Eat-In.

"I feel really bad. I really wanted to work it out," Orchidea owner Mazal Werzberger said, "I need to have the rabbi's certificate. If I don't have it, I have nothing."

The eateries may face scrutiny from the city's Commission on Human Rights if they find Forster was discriminated against.

Adina Miles, known as 'Flatbush Girl', an Orthodox Jewish woman who has been critical of Jewish media, was going to emcee the event, and blamed the kosher certification process.

“It’s not about the restaurants,” she said. “It’s about the mafia nature of the kosher certification establishment who overstep their power and try to control community discussion and the restaurant owners.”

Forster has been contacted by a lawyers for the Human Rights Commission.