Friday, May 12, 2006

Rabbi Mordechai Gafi recent rape allegation - public statement by JWB

From: Jewishwhistleblower

In light of the events in recent days being reported by Jewschool’s Dan Sieradski concerning Rabbi Mordecai/Marc Gafni/Winiarz “b(e)ing oustered from his position at Bayit Chadash, the spiritual community in Tel Aviv-Yaffo, amidst five distinct allegations of sexual harrassment and one charge of rape.”

I demand nothing less than the immediate resignation and removal from any public role in any Jewish institution the following rabbonim:

Rabbi Saul Berman;
Rabbi Joseph Telushkin;
Rabbi Arthur Waskow;
Rabbi Zalman Schechter-Shalomi;
Rabbi Avraham Infeld;
Rabbi Haviva Ner-David;
Rabbi Michael Zedek;
Rabbi William Berk;
Rabbi Marcelo Bronstein;
Rabbi Leonid Feldman;
Rabbi Tirzah Firestone;
Rabbi Arthur Green;
Rabbi Rolando Matalon;
Rabbi Joe Schonwald;
Rabbi Daniel Siegel;
Rabbi Avi Weiss;
Rabbi Eli Herscher;
Rabbi Eric Yoffie;

and all other Rabbis that publicly supported rasha Gafni and ignored the cries of his survivors. I demand the same of all medical and mental health practitioners that publicly supported alleged rapist Gafni and not his victims. Hopefully, we can name more of them shortly.

Damn each and every one of them.

—–Original Message—–
From: Name withheld upon request
Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2005 4:36 PM
To: Office of the President
Subject: Appearance of “rabbi” Gafni at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles

Dear Rabbi Yoffe:
I would like to call your attention to the lecture series being presented by the above mentioned “rabbi” at the Stephen S. Wise Temple in Los Angeles, California.

The man is a sex offender and his presence in any Reform Temple is a disgrace to our Reform community.

Thank you for your attention to this email.

Name withheld upon request
Member of a Reform Synagogue


Tue, 1 Mar 2005 15:27:44 -0500
From: “Office of the President” …
To: Name withheld upon request

Dear Name withheld upon request:

The rabbi of Stephen S. Wise Temple, Eli Herscher, has informed me that the allegations against Rabbi Gafni have been investigated again and again and have been proven to be simply untrue. Rabbi Herscher is a man of great integrity and I rely on his judgment in this matter.

Eric Yoffie

This email from Arthur Waskow (see last post) was circulated throughout the Jewish Renewal movement at the time. I would note that all his assertions of Gafni/Winiarz’s innocence are garbage. But it shows once again the Jewish Renewal movement will protect a predator at the expense of women and children. And they count on the silence of other rabbonim and community leaders to do it. Unfortunately, they have done so at the expense of MORE victims. All their investigations and “determinations” of Gafni’s innocence were done without even interviewing Gafni’s survivors.

Damn them all.

Arthur Waskow - Friday, March 19, 2004

Dear Mr. Plone almoni,

Since I also received your original memo, Rabbi Isenberg has shared with me his response to you and your rejoinder. There are three aspects of this question that I want to make you aware of:

1) If Rabbi Riskin were in fact in possession of any actual facts, rather than rumors, it would be incumbent on him to say so clearly to the people you have written and the broader public; and knowing his commitment to both ethics and halakha, I am sure he would have done so. In the absence of such a message directly from him, with facts rather than “I have been told,” there is no evidence of the “independent corroboration” that you claim. The Jewish Week also had nothing but rumors, as its editor made clear — and although in other cases that paper named names because it had evidence, in this case it only mentioned rumors about an unnamed person, precisely because it had no evidence.

2. Having heard the rumors long ago, ALEPH and Elat Chayyim did their own assessment of the situation and not only found no evidence of wrongdoing that anyone was able to make available, but took steps to make sure that its strong and explicit and publicly and repeatedly announced policy of preventing any sexual harrassment or abuse was carried out in all cases.

3. You assert that “Rabbi Gafni/Winiarz has a history of serious abusive behavior with women and children.” What is your evidence (not rumors but evidence) that this is so? You also mention “the ongoing danger he resents.” What is your evidence (not rumors but evidence) that this is so? In the absence of such evidence, the passages of Torah you quote are irrelevant. and in the absence of such evidence, I would join in Rabbi Isenberg’s question: What distinguishes your allegations from lashon hara? I would also ask what distinguishes your accusation that “It is a failure of community leaders in the Orthodox community that his name is not mentioned”( from lashon hara against a long list of Orthodox community leaders?

It seems far more likely that their refusal to name the specific name that you are so insistent on naming stems from their own sense of ethical behavior in a case where rumors are not substantiated by evidence. Shalom, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director The Shalom Center


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