Thursday, March 3, 2016

MARC GAFNI EXPOSE – PART 3

MARC GAFNI EXPOSE – PART 3 - Bayit Chadash

Location: Monterey Bay and San Francisco, CA
AKA (Personal): Marc Winiarz, Mordechai Gafni
AKA (Business): The Center For World Spirituality, The Center For Integral Wisdom
Websites: www.Marcgafni.com, www.centerforintegralwisdom.org
EIN: 46-1051882


On May 9, 2006, three young women filed complaints of abuse with the Israeli police against Rabbi Gafni, who was then head of Bayit Chadash (The New Home), a Jewish spiritual community in Israel. The women were his students and each had suffered through periods of abuse and trauma, thinking she was the only one, and after finally speaking out, became aware there were others who had also been harmed in similar ways. From the article written in Haaretz, "The women's complaints say that the Rabbi exploited them sexually by abusing his authority over them." Less then 24 hours after being told about the complaints filed with the police, Gafni fled Israel never to return. Soon after the head of the foundation decided to fire Gafni from all his positions. According to the head of the foundation, as written in the article, "We have no doubt that these women are speaking the truth." The article also states that Gafni does not deny the allegations. In a public letter sent May 15, 2006, Gafni took responsibility for his actions, apologized, and acknowledged that he was sick. He also said he would stop teaching, and made a commitment to get serious treatment at an in-house facility immediately. He has since expressed regret for his public apology, has revoked any claims of sickness, and, rather than taking responsibility, has been trying to portray himself as an innocent victim.

Gafni's letter to Aleph (Alliance for Jewish Renewal) and his public statement can both be found here: http://nhne-pulse.org/rabbi-marc-gafni-sexual-improprieties/

From his letter to Aleph: "I must act now to discover what led to me to make these damaging choices that hurt people I care about, hurt my community, and hurt the people who have supported me for years in building Bayit Chadash. In light of all that has happened I am leaving all of my rabbinic teaching capacities."

According to the Gafni victim coalition, since May 2006, dozens of women and men have come forward and shared their till-then undisclosed stories of manipulation, exploitation, and emotional and sexual abuse at his hands over the years. In addition, he has been removed from at least nine organizations where he was a teacher and/or leader, every time due to abuses in the areas of power and sexuality. These are the places they are aware of; there may be others as well:

o JPSY (Jewish Public School Youth), New York
o Boca Raton Synagogue, Florida
o Tzufim settlement, West Bank, Israel
o Kfar Saba settlement, West Bank, Israel
o Isralight, Jerusalem
o Livnot U'Lehibanot, Jerusalem
o Melitz: Center for Jewish Education, Jerusalem
o Milah: The Jerusalem Institute for Education
o Bayit Chadash, Tel Aviv/Jaffa


One of his earliest victims who has been outspoken against Gafni states, “Every time a story comes up about him he just moves on to another community. He just keeps moving.”

PART 4: Tomorrow's focus is on the co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, who maintains his support for Gafni in the face of the numerous allegations and our effort to reach out to him.


Sources:
http://nhne-pulse.org/rabbi-marc-gafni-sexual-improprieties/
http://jewschool.com/2006/05/10587/gafnis-letter-to-aleph/
http://jewishsurvivors.blogspot.com/2006/05/call-to-all-survivors-of-rabbi-marc.html
http://www.timesofisrael.com/controversial-ex-rabbi-gafni-and-an-alleged-victim-square-off/
Haaretz article (not online)
Maariv article (not online)


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