Wouldn't it be great to start 2007 with a clean slate?
If you know any of the individuals listed below please encourage them to apologize directly to those they attacked for exposing Rabbi Mordechai Gafni.
Marc Gafni came out publicly back in May that he assaulted more women in Israel. To this day Saul Berman, Joseph Telushkin, Dr. Steven Marmer, Naomi Marks, those at ALEPH and others who supported Mordechai have not make an apology to those they harmed.
Saul and Joseph, pick up and write an apology letter to all of the survivors of Gafni, Vicki Polin, Rabbi Yosef Blau, Luke Ford and the rest of the people you harmed. It's been suggested as part of your teshuva process you all should start fundraising for The Awareness Center for at least the amount of revenue they must have lost because of your denial and attacks.
I think you should contact all the rabbis and other individuals you contacted in the past and let them know of your horrible mistake and request they put their names back up. I know this may be a difficult task to attain, so an easier way would be to take an add out in all Jewish papers in the US and Israel with your apology, naming the survivors of Mordechai Gafni, Rabbi Blau, Vicki Polin and Luke Ford.
Here's the list of Characters that need to apologise directly to those they attacked for exposing Marc Gafni as a sexual predator. If you know any of these people please call them and encourage them to do the right thing.
- Metuka Benjamin (Director of Education, Stephen S. Wise Temple)
- Rabbi Phyllis Berman (Former Director Elat Chayyim summer program)
- Rabbi Saul Berman (Director, Edah)
- Davidovich (Executive Producer, Israel Channel 2 Television)
- Rabbi Tirzah Firestone (Congregation Nevei Kodesh)
- Rabbi Shefa Gold (Director C-Deep, composer and teacher)
- Rabbi Arthur Green (Dean, Hebrew College Rabbinical School)
- Rabbi Eli Herscher (Stephen S. Wise Synagogue)
- Arthur Kurzweil (former Director, Elat Chayyim, Jewish Book Club)
- Avraham Leader (Leader Minyan, Bayit Chadash)
- Stephen Marmer, M.D. (Psychiatrist, UCLA Medical School)
- Jacob Ner-David (Board Chair, Bayit Chadash)
- Peter Pitzele (Ph.D., Bibliodrama Institute)
- Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (Rabbinic Chair, Aleph Don Seeman, Ph.D. Emory University)
- Rabbi Joseph Telushkin (author, Jewish Literacy and Jewish Wisdom)
- Rabbi David Zaslow (Havurah Shir Hadash)
- Noam Zion (Hartman Institute)
This is one of the many letters the above individuals signed and sent out in attempts to destroy The Awareness Center.
To The Jewish Community worldwide:
In this letter we the undersigned ask the Jewish community worldwide to reaffirm its commitment to the Torah, and to the ethical principles of Judaism. Although the specific focus of our discussion is Rabbi Mordechai Gafni, whom have known collectively for many years, the issues we address are universal and timeless.
A group of several people� None of whom know Rabbi Gafni personally in any real way, and none who has had any contact in the past twenty years � have undertaken a systematic campaign to besmirch his name. Their primary method has been to keep alive and distort two very old and long discredited stories. Their attacks have recently increased in volume and intensity. He has consistently and generously offered to meet with them, but they have refused.
Many people who know Rabbi Gafni well, as all the undersigned do, have individually and collectively examined the accusations about him that this group has been spreading. We have found their rumors and accusations to be either wholly without substance or radically distorted to the point of falsification. We conclude that the false and malicious rumors against Gafni constitute lashon hara � and that the dissemination of such lies is prohibited by the Torah and Jewish ethical principles.
Thus we must address and to make right the wrong that has been attempted in regard to Rabbi Gafni, and affirm our support of him as an important teacher and leader in the Jewish community.
We have worked with Rabbi Gafni in many contexts, ranging from colleague to employer. We have published his works in our collections, co-taught with him, and known him in a host of other close relationships. Over the years, we have also extensively discussed with him the different stages of his life and the decisions he has made in relationships, professional choices and more.
We affirm without reservation that in addition to being a person of enormous gifts, depth, and vision, Rabbi Gafni is also a person of real integrity. He possesses a unique combination of courage and audacity coupled with a genuine humility that comes only from having lived life fully � with all of its complexity, beauty and sometimes pain.
Leaders of his caliber and depth who are committed to ongoing personal development are few and far between. From our dual commitment to him as an individual, as well as to the most profound ethical teachings of the Torah, we urge you as the reader of this letter to reject the false reports about Rabbi Gafni, and to give him your full support, as we all have done and continue to do.
If you have further questions, please feel free to contact any one of us directly.
The following letter was written by Rabbi Saul Berman and distributed widely by Rabbi Gafni and his supporters over the past 18 months:
To Whom It May Concern,
I have had occasion during the spring, summer and fall of 2004 to conduct an extensive personal inquiry in response to accusations which have been made against Rabbi Mordechai Gafni and publicized on the Internet. A more balanced version of these same issues than that on the Internet was raised in an editor's column by Gary Rosenblatt published in the Jewish Week newspaper, in which Rosenblatt asserted that he was unable to draw either a negative or positive conclusion about these issues, calling his extensive research into the issue an "investigation without a conclusion".
I have invested literally hundreds of hours in talking to parties directly and indirectly related, reading public statements posted on the Internet, and following the unfolding of this issue. I have come to a number of clear and unequivocal conclusions.
First, as I have written in a public letter together with Rabbi Joseph Telushkin and Rabbi Tirzah Firestone, we have found the decades-old accusations against Rabbi Gafni to be unconvincing now, as they were dismissed in responsible contemporaneous investigations. We believe that these accusations have been intentionally distorted, kept alive and circulated by a small group of people who have waged a vendetta-like campaign against Rabbi Gafni, creating a false and unfair impression of his character.
Second, the material posted on the Awareness Center website and related Internet blogs is not credible. Both in regard to Rabbi Gafni as well as to other cases posted there, the Awareness Center has grossly distorted facts and blatantly lied. Indeed, working together with a small team I have collected a host of examples of such behavior on the part of the Awareness Center. While the Awareness Center does address an issue critical to the Jewish community, that of sexual harassment and abuse, the center itself has unfortunately become an abuser itself of the first order.
The major other Internet poster of accusations against Rabbi Gafni is a certain Luke Ford. Luke Ford, who poses as a journalist, also runs a pornography site. He is a discredited Internet gossip columnist for the pornography industry, who, by his own written admission, regularly publishes libelous material as truth without even the slightest attempt at verification.
Third, I have urged Rabbi Gafni to continue actively writing and teaching his communities of students around the world. I have done so based on my firm conclusion that he poses absolutely no danger or threat to anyone. Indeed, I firmly believe that the notion suggested by Vicki Polin of the Awareness Center that he poses any danger whatsoever is patently absurd. While in some areas I would take issue with Rabbi Gafni's thought, particularly in areas where he departs from classical Orthodoxy, the work he is doing is serious and is of great benefit to the Jewish community worldwide.
I urge the readers of this letter to continue to support Rabbi Gafni's work, including his public teachings, writings, television projects and social activism. We are in need today of hearing the emerging voices of the next generation of Jewish leadership, and Rabbi Gafni's voice is one of them. I look forward to learning what he has to teach in the decades to come.
Rabbi Saul J. Berman