Background information on The Case of Rabbi Mordecai Gafni (AKA: Marc Gafni, Marc Winiarz, Mordechai Winiarz)
Born as Marc Winiarz, went to New York from the Midwest for high school and college, became a youth leader and rabbi, was accused of sexual assaulting two teenage girls, and attempted sexual assault of a young adult woman. He was also accused of cult like practices. In 1991 he left the Unitied States to start a new life in Israel, changing his name to Mordechai Gafni.Interview by Luke Ford with Rob Goodman on Wednesday night, April 26
Marc Gafni: "I was a stupid kid and we were in love," the rabbi said. "She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her"
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the spiritual leader of the Israeli community of Efrat, was going to revoke the rabbinic ordination he gave Rabbi Gafni many years ago when they had a close rabbi-student relationship. When Gafni heard of Rabbi Riskin's wishes, he wrote a letter "returning" his semicha to spare his former teacher any further embarrassment.
Rabbi Gafni serves on the spiritual advisory council of Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal, a national organization based in Philadelphia; leds retreats at Elat Chayyim, a Jewish Renewal center in the Catskills; preached frequently at the Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles; and founded Bayit Chadash ("new home"), a New Age Jewish community in Israel that he said strives "to restore the spark of holy paganism."
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Rob visits "what everyone says is the heart of the new movement -- The Purple Festival [at Atlit Beach in Israel."
We see separate streams of naked men and naked women (some wear bathing suits) running into the ocean. They were organized and directed by Rabbi Mordecai Gafni.
A wave hits some of the women and they start choking on sea water. The men, 20 feet away, rush over and help their big-breasted Israeli sisters and bring them to shore.
Rob: "No wonder the old synagogue is empty. I'm all for smoking weed and dancing but when did that become religion?"
This festival is filled with hot chicks. It's presided over by homely old folks such as Gafni. Why must he get all the hot chicks? What happened to "From each according to his ability to each according to his need?"
There's great video of Gafni dancing around, waving his hand, and singing "L'cha dodi."
Gafni: "Let's say, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. Shabbat shalom."