Rabbi David Ingber and 100 Jewish leaders launched a Change.org petition called “Stop Marc Gafni from Abusing Again” which elicited many powerful comments and first person accounts. You can read the entire list of hundreds by clicking here but we’ve selected 75 that are noteworthy below.
I’d like to say THANK YOU for this, on behalf of those of us who have been exploited, manipulated, and traumatized by our toxic entanglements with this man. After decades of attacking and discrediting his victims, and hoodwinking reputable leaders and organizations into trusting him as a man of integrity—just as WE once fervently trusted and supported him—it is time for the truth to finally emerge so that no one else is hurt. The allegations in the NYT article represent barely the tip of the iceberg of the damage MG is responsible for, in realms far beyond the sexual. May his victims be healed, may MG be healed (if that’s possible), and may we all be fierce and compassionate defenders of the truth.
Donna Zerner, Portland, OR
He ruined a part of my life by hurting someone so incredibly close to me. Mordechai Winiarz, as we all knew him, came into my life when I was 15. The havoc he wreaked is still here today, decades later. We are still picking up the pieces. I pray he doesn’t get the chance to hurt anyone else. I’ve watched the hurricane that is his personality tear through people lives since then, each time warning his current wife what will be her future, and telling her to seek me out when she is ready, because I will understand what she’s been through. I hope I don’t have to do that again.
Miryam Kabakov, St. Paul, MN
I was a victim of this horrible man’s sexual, emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse.
Judy Mitzner, Rowlett, TX
In a recent law on domestic abuse in England, the meaning of domestic violence includes “psychological and emotional torrent.” Commentary on the new law correctly states, “When a woman is being controlled, she can’t effectively resist or escape.” This describes very well my experience of being close to Mordechai. I haven’t spoken to him in ten years. Yet as I write this I’m filled with fear. I still feel the power of his most treasured value: not love, not truth, but loyalty to him. Showing disloyalty to Mordechai is the ultimate betrayal in his eyes, which is why my heart is pounding nearly out of my chest: naming my experience feels disloyal. Once I hit “sign” I imagine Mordechai running to his “evidence file” on me, and showing his supporters all of the emails I sent, signing off with pet nicknames and lots of love. Those emails are probably real. But what do they show? Who hasn’t heard of a battered woman who loves her husband, even as at other times she fears him? Like all of the women who sent the emails in that precious file, I sent them when I thought I loved him, and at the very same time, I felt afraid of him, intimidated, threatened, trapped, and scared of what he would do when he fell into rage, as he often did. I was entranced in the spiritual high of praying with him and dazzled by the seeming depth of his teaching. Yet at the same time I knew things about him that should have led me to run as fast as I could. I was too intoxicated, indoctrinated and caught up to move an inch. I still feel scared. But the time has come to start moving.
Erica Ariel Fox, Brookline, MA
I have been aware of some of these allegations for years, and didn’t want to judge a brilliant teacher who surrounded himself with many people who I deeply respect. But now, the weight of the wrongdoing and its continuation are such that I resigned from the Wisdom Council for the Center of Integral Wisdom today, January 2, 2016. I agree that we must stop further hurt and exploitation.
Joan Borysenko, Tesuque, NM
I wrote my book my book SEX AND THE SPIRITUAL TEACHER in large part to warn people about Marc Gafni and others like him. I’ve followed his activities for years, been in contact with some of his victims, and spoken many times with a psychotherapist who has treated two of those victims. The psychotherapist said, among other things, “Marc Gafni belongs in jail.” Believe Gafni’s victims, not his lies.
The sad fact is that many charismatic spiritual teachers have personality disorders. Some are sociopaths; some are narcissists; some are both.
Few people understand how sociopaths think and operate. I encourage you to read M. Scott Peck’s PEOPLE OF THE LIE and Martha Stout’s THE SOCIOPATH NEXT DOOR.
It’s time to say “never again” to Marc Gafni.
Scott Edelstein, Minneapolis, MN
When a sociopath can no longer control what you think about him, he controls what others think about you. Marc repeatedly displayed this trait, as he moved from group to group, bad-mouthing the “uptight” group he just came from. And of course, his blaming the victim (the teenagers who “seduced” him and his other abuses and lies) is another example of this “control by social pressure.”
The folks who are wrapping him in a cloak of victimhood and touting his integrity might want to crack open their eyes just a teeny bit and wonder if this could all be so black and white. Can hundreds of people, from a wide swath of cultures, over a span of decades be so focussed on misunderstanding and harming this poor, brilliant man?
Andrea Cohen Kiener, West Hartford, CT
I survived this man’s sexual, psychological,emotional and spiritual abuse! It took 30 years for people to finally listen!
Judy Mitzner, Rowlett, TX
I was a student of Marc (Mordecai) Gafni from 2003-2005 and learned then that he could or would not keep his word.
In a subsequent dealing I had with him (after his so-called ‘recovery’ in Salt Lake City) he again failed to honor an agreement he made with me. In fact, I learned later that his ‘recovery’ in Salt Lake was really about creating ‘evidence’ to ‘prove’ his innocence by disparaging and blaming those who have been brave enough to testify publicly about his abusive behavior towards them. Simply stated, his modus operandi is to blame others (it seems he takes no responsibility for his own actions).
I do know some of the individuals who have been victims of his abuse. While I may not speak for them, my own experience of Mr. Gafni informs me that he cannot be trusted, is manipulative, lacks real empathy for others, is secretive, authoritarian, has an impulsive nature, lies, etc. (see a pattern?). While I have learned not to confuse the message with the messenger, it baffles me that he continues to escape any real accountability for his actions.
It’s time to stand up for Integrity…time to do the right thing.
Russ Cashin, Saint George, UT
I know several of his victims. I know the horrors of their experiences. And I know the lasting traumatic suffering Gafni leaves with his female victims.
But his victims are not only female. Men are manipulated, controlled, and shamed by Gafni.
His overall pattern of behavior is malignant and sociopathic.
William Harryman, Tucson, AZ
I am signing this as a witness to scores of lives damaged. As a protest to the twisting of good wisdom to feed evil addictions. As protection against further abuse. Please G!d let this monster be stopped. Let his victims be healed. Let the lessons be learned.
Chaya Lester, Jerusalem, Israel
With deep respect for Marc’s brilliance, and a prayer for the awakening of his conscience, I cannot remain silent. I therefore resigned today, Jan. 2, 2016, from Marc’s Wisdom Council, in which I was never a participant but to which my name had been lent years ago.
Gordon Dveirin, Boulder, CO
I’m signing because Marc Gafni is masterful at spinning explanations for the fact that former colleagues and communities – every community he has ever worked in, across the globe – have found him to be deceitful, manipulative, and violating of the sacred trust of his position as a teacher and leader.
Gafni claims that these people are jealous of him, or that they have stolen his ideas. Yet these supposedly jealous Rabbis and leaders have given generously of their time and wisdom to other colleagues, and nurtured other young, talented and responsible colleagues to positions of responsibility and leadership. They are not jealous of Gafni. They are exercising their responsibility to protect others from him.
Gafni claims that he simply practices polyamory – “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogomy.” But the polyamory community and the spiritual community would be the first to say that Gafni’s actual behavior – targeting vulnerable women, secretly taking advantage of children and married women in his community, portraying the act of “telling anyone” about the relationship as deep disloyalty to him, threatening them to keep them quiet, while conducting multiple (secret) relationships with others, often while married himself…these are not ethical or responsible. They are not loving.
Gafni displays no empathy, remorse, or even interest in understanding why scores of people have been traumatized by him. Instead, he mounts a campaign to discredit and destroy his victims, and moves on to the next community and an ever-larger platform for victimizing others. If you were hiring a new executive at Whole Foods or inside the Robbins organization, would you not be given pause if a reference check turned up even a fraction this history?
The following description of psychopathy is the best portrait of Gafni’s behavior over the last couple of decades as I’ve seen:
“Key traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:
• A disregard for laws and social mores
• A disregard for the rights of others
• A failure to feel remorse or guilt
• A tendency to display violent behavior
Psychopaths are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people.
Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.
When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail in advance and often have contingency plans in place. Their crimes, whether violent or non-violent, will be highly organized and generally offer few clues for authorities to pursue. Intelligent psychopaths make excellent white-collar criminals and “con artists” due to their calm and charismatic natures.”
Consider this petition one giant anti-reference letter to you, from most of the people Gafni has worked with over his career.
Ask yourself: Could they all be wrong?
Sheila Heen, Cambridge, MA
Open letter to Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey:
Marc Gafni is quoted in The New York Times: “She was 14 going on 35.” By definition, he is an admitted child sexual abuser.
While you can try to bifurcate your personal choices — in this case, supporting a known child rapist — from the interests of the Whole Foods Market corporate entity, doing so is not possible.
Unfortunately, customers and shareholders of a $11 billion public company do not discern between the corporate brand and its CEO’s public activities and affiliations.
As you know, the CEO of a public company is charged with responsibility for the public’s perception of the company, upholding the reputation of the brand. In this regard, your public affiliation with a known sexual predator, as reported by The New York Times, is a failure of this responsibility.
I trust that you, the Whole Foods Market executive leadership team and board of directors will take this information into consideration when ensuring, on behalf of all shareholders of the company, that you make paramount the protection of the company’s reputation, arguably its most valuable asset.
Your choice to continue your affiliation with a sexual abuser seriously compromises and jeopardizes the integrity of the Whole Foods brand, for which you, as CEO, are proxy. That you would place your alliance with a known sexual predator ahead of your responsibility as CEO of the company is, I’m sure, deeply troubling to all shareholders of Whole Foods Market.
nancy levine, woodacre, CA
As an interfaith seminary student, I cannot in good conscience, stay silent on this matter. There has been no justice for his victims and it’s frightening to think that he is in a position to victimize a whole new generation. Under different circumstances this man would be in jail. Pedophilia, sexual abuse, misogyny, lack of integrity and moral compass are things that we have dealt with much too often under the guise of spirituality and religion. It besmirches the name and validity of true teachers and leaders in this community. This has to end once and for all.
Arda Itez, North Bergen, NJ
Open letter to the Board of Trustees of the Esalen Institute:
Marc Gafni is scheduled to lead a workshop at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, February 5-7, titled “Evolutionary Relationships.”
Mark Gafni was quoted in The New York Times (12/26):
“She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.”
“I did not,” he said, “represent myself as someone who didn’t sleep with students.”
By definition, Mr. Gafni is a child rapist. Consensuality is not a consideration when sexual engagement takes place with minors, under the age of 18.
Statutes of limitations prevent Mr. Gafni’s prosecution under the law. Unfortunately, there is no statute of limitations on suffering and trauma endured by his victims. Theirs is a life sentence.
More than 100 Rabbis and leaders of the Jewish community nationwide have authored a petition urging you to sever ties with Mr. Gafni. Signatures are accumulating.
I trust that the Esalen Board of Trustees will take this information into consideration when ensuring that it protects the extraordinary legacy, history, and integrity of Esalen, its mission and values, as well as its reputation. A choice to continue an affiliation with a known sexual abuser would seriously compromise the integrity of Esalen’s values and mission.
I know many people have worked very diligently for many years to build the Esalen brand, to attract participants from all around the globe, from all walks of life. Thanks to these efforts, Esalen and its representative values have entered the mainstream dialogue and zeitgeist. I’d be sad to see these efforts and accomplishments undone and damaged, perhaps irreparably so.
nancy levine, woodacre, CA
Someone who shouldn’t be teaching young women, as suggested by Sally Kempton, has nothing to teach anyone.
Dr. Susanne Freeborn, Bellingham, WA
“All evil needs to flourish is for good people to stand by and say nothing.” Anyone who does not speak out or who turns a blind eye because of “all the good” that someone contributes becomes complicit in the abuse of power and in all the harm that they perpetrate.
Dov Linzer, Bronx, NY
I’ve spent my entire life surrounded by people who call themselves “spiritual teachers,” some great and deserving of the titles they’ve earned and others have been simply unworthy, while a few have been truly despicable. This man is one of the worst. The actions of Marc Gafni and his unwillingness to admit wrong have violated and dehumanized too many women. Companies, organizations, and scholars who continue to support him, whether financially or vocally, will see no such support from me.
Amitai Gross, Erie, CO
The cycle of abuse cannot be ignored. I sign for the victims of past and hope I am not signing for victims in the future. I sign because I hear no public teshuva, only excuses – 13 going on 35 is not a defense. He is the adult. Shame shame shame.
naomi less, Brooklyn, Uganda
As an interspiritual seminary student learning about integral spirituality, I am disappointed that Ken Wilber continues to endorse this sex offender. Marc Gafni should be immediately removed from the Center for Integral Wisdom. Moreover, all leaders in the integral spirituality movement should publically disavow Marc Gafni.
Laura Klein, Rockaway, NJ
I know of Marc Gafni through the direct experiences of a dear friend, a brilliant and sensitive woman who was traumatized almost beyond recovery by this truly dangerous and malevolent psychopath. There is an insatiable vampire-like quality to the way he violates his victims, and he continues to feed off them energetically long after the sexual act. That he poses as a highly evolved “spiritual” teacher is even more disgusting. I cannot speak strongly enough. He must be stopped, now, in whatever way possible.
Jan Garrett, Snowmass, CO
I’m signing because people I care about in Boca Raton were hurt in profoundly disturbing ways by this man.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Berkeley, CA
To any of Marc’s remaining supporters who may be reading this, including Ken Wilber and Sally Kempton, who I love and respect: Marc been very adept at using his charisma and eloquence to sidestep responsibility for his behavior and to gain your support, which he desperately needs to prop up his claim that he is the victim. It’s time to admit that you have been manipulated like everyone else he’s come in contact with. Yes, it stings to feel like you’ve been had, that you’ve been conned. But it pales in comparison to the trauma experienced by his real victims. If you still see something redeemable in Marc, the best thing you can do is to deprive him of your support. Only when there is nowhere for him to hide will there be any possibility for his redemption. But more importantly, withdrawing your support from Marc will also allow his victims to feel whole and move ahead in their healing. And they need your support more than Marc does.
Bill McCart, Oakland, CA
Open Letter to Whole Foods Board of Directors:
Your statement “John Mackey’s involvement with Marc Gafni and the Center for Integral Wisdom is his personal business” is not accurate.
Likewise, Mr. Mackey’s statement on his Whole Foods Market blog is not accurate:
“My involvement with Marc Gafni and the Center for Integral Wisdom is conducted strictly in my personal life”
John Mackey sits on the Executive Board of Directors of Marc Gafni’s nonprofit corporation: The Center for Integral Wisdom is registered with the California Secretary of State, Corporation Number C3388762, 2697 Bryant Street, San Francisco.
This IRS Form 990 shows The Center for World Spirituality, EIN 46-1051882, at the same San Francisco address:
The Form 990 lists this website: www.ievolve.org.
Mr. Mackey is listed on the Executive Board of Directors at the ievolve web address:
According to the Midwest Center for Nonprofit Leadership at the University of Missouri – Kansas City:
“The Legal Duties of the Nonprofit Board and Its Members”
“Boards and board members often are reminded that they have a ‘fiduciary responsibility’ to the organization”
Therefore, Mr. Mackey’s relationship with Mr. Gafni is not a strictly personal one.
Rather, as a sitting member on an Executive Board of Directors, Mr. Mackey has a fiduciary responsibility to the nonprofit corporation, of which Mr. Gafni is the chief executive.
As you know, this exposé on Mr. Gafni was published in The New York Times, December 26, 2015:
“She was 14 going on 35.”
I believe that Mr. Mackey’s position on the Executive Board of Directors of Mr. Gafni’s nonprofit corporation is compromising the core values of Whole Foods Market, and jeopardizing its reputation and shareholder value.
As a shareholder of Whole Foods Market, I request that the Whole Foods Market Board of Directors and Ethics Committee consider whether Mr. Mackey is in violation of Whole Foods Market’s Rules of Corporate Governance and Code of Business Conduct. I request that Mr. Mackey immediately resign from his position on the Executive Board of Directors of Mr. Gafni’s nonprofit corporation(s).
nancy levine, woodacre, CA
Because so many people and communities i know, trust, and love have been hurt by this man. Because not only has Gafni not revealed any soul-searching, repenting, nor apology for his acts, but he has gone further to blame his victims, including 13 and 16 year old girls. Because the role of a spiritual leader holds more responsibility and self awareness than most, not less. Because every sign points to this man remaining dangerous. Because truth. Because wisdom, Because trust. Amen.
Ayla Adler , Midreshet Ben Gurion, Israel
I personally witnessed some of the damage Mordechai Winiarz aka Marc Gafni inflicted on wives, lovers, followers, students and colleagues at YU, Revel, JPSY and in Jewish Renewal circles over the years. When Mordechai/Marc moved out of the Jewish community and on to Utah I called his Utah employer and warned them. MG was already close with a powerful politician by then. My words fell on deaf ears. He is an admitted child rapist. I have known women who MW/MG has abused. This is why I am signing this.
Shoshana Jedwab, New York, NY
Gafni pollutes any institution with which he associates with his sexual impropriety and lies. He claims a position of spiritual authority while proving himself to be an immoral, ruinous person who reinvents himself over and over again as each community spits him out.
As a rabbi, I think it’s vital that I join the chorus of voices (representing every denomination!) censuring any group who endorses or sponsors Gafni. His “spirituality” is the shallow stuff of narcissists. His claim to represent an authentic Jewish tradition are belied by his immorality.
As a woman, I stand with the victim of his I know and all of those I do not. It took too long before community leaders took seriously the words of the girls and women he harmed in public and private.
Rachel Solomin, Mountain View, CA
For over 10 years The Awareness Center had tried to stop this confessed sexual predator from harming anyone else, unfortunately we were not successful. Hopefully this time around criminal charges can be brought up against him, and put an end to Gafni’s reign of terror
Vicki Polin, Albuqueruqe, NM
I have seen the horrible trauma Gafni has done to wonderful people.
Steven Hassan, Newton, MA
You hurt and destroyed a part of someone who is more beloved to me than I can explain. I only hope you will never have the ability, exposure or power to hurt anyone else.
Miryam Kabakov, St. Paul, MN
Marc Gafni betrayed the sacred trust we personally experienced between rabinnical student and rabbi. Then he lied and abused friends and colleagues. This flawed man, who masquerades as enlightened but in truth brings darkness wherever he goes, must be stopped.
Sunny Schnitzer, Reston, VA
No one can do it alone. Gafni wouldn’t have been able to get beyond his Jewish/Israel scandals and achieve influence in the secular spiritual world if not for continuous enabling from several key people, particularly Sally Kempton and Ken Wilber. They’ve both signed multiple documents attesting to Gafni’s “integrity” which are full of lies about his past, and they continue to facilitate his endless lust for power rather than honoring the need for vulnerable people to be protected from his predations.
Their endorsements and coverups helped feed the 2011 situation that led to intense trauma for least three women I know.
Wilber and Kempton are both hopelessly enmeshed in Gafni’s dark orbit; they need to be publicly called out for their unethical actions and pressured to stop.
jason tucker, Fairfax, CA
I read the comments with a mixture of sadness and joy. Some of them are coming from people I knew once as friends and about whom I have worried for years because of their connections with Garni. I am happy to see them speaking out and so incredibly sad that they have experienced his manipulations and abuse.
A man who says he has nothing to regret and who retracts his admissions is so fundamentally out of touch with himself that he has nothing of value to teach in the realm of human consciousness.
Daniel Siegel, Hornby Island, Canada
If it is true that we teach what we most need to learn, then there is no better example than Marc Gafni. His obsessive teaching about shadows of psyche, eros, light trapped within darkness, and personal transformation is surely a furtive cry for help from a deeply troubled soul. Like the Israelites who “borrowed” the Egyptians’ gold, and formed it into the golden calf, so too, Gafni steals the gold from any vulnerable person who crosses his path. But unlike the Israelites, who completed their cycle of shadow transformation via control and discipline, followed by integrity and integration, this stolen light remains trapped in a gigantic black hole that grows larger and larger with each passing year. By speaking out, we can help others avoid the theft of their gold by this spiritual bandit.
Dr. Gilah Rosner, Beallsville, MD
My twin sister was one of his victims and I don’t want to see this man continue to hurt others as he hurt my sister.
Sandra Zerner, Scottsdale, AZ
I have known Mr. Gafni and some of his victims. When the Beit Chadash “blow up” happened and he sought my support, I told him to first do real tesuvah – return to Israel and face his accusers in a Court of Law. I never heard back from him and he, of course, didn’t.
William Dolman, Edmonton, Canada
I am personal friends with 3 of his victims, and witnessed him humiliating his 3rd wife on a public stage.
Eliezer Sobel, Fair Lawn, NJ
I am a therapist who has been helping trauma victims and survivors of a wide variety of destructive cults and controlling relationships. I have worked with two women who related so many examples of truly repulsive, unethical, abusive behavior, including rape: physical, spiritual, emotional and has terrorized them. Gafni’s continued denial of his wrongdoing and the continued support by followers is something I see regularly in behvior of cult members. Look at Scientology and how they demonize former members and program followers to not even make the effort to do independent research and reach their own conclusions. I truly hope the survivors will continue to get more and more support and more and more people will come forward with their own experiences of fear and trauma related to Gafni.
Steven Hassan, Newton, MA
I had private lessons with Marc by phone in the late 2000s. When I wrote to him saying I could no longer afford the teachings, he wrote, “Bad idea, bad karma.” That was enough for me to run for the hills. I’m so sorry he has caused so much suffering; I used to love him when I was part of the Integral Spiritual community, but came to see his psychopathic part.
Diana Powell, Toronto, ON, Canada
It is heartbreaking that many of MG’s victims have done the painful work of sharing their horror stories, yet have been ignored or castigated as “liars” for so many years. To support, partner, or promote MG as a spiritual teacher — especially as a “teacher of love” — pours salt in the wounds of his victims; it is also a form of complicity with abuse. This must stop.
Mary Williams, San Marcos, CA
I have personal experience as to how Marc Gafni is a user and abuser of people. He uses people with lies and deceit in order to gain influence, power, money and/or sex. He is not to be trusted.
Maggid Al Goldberg, Evanston, IL
I deeply regret featuring Marc Gafni as a speaker this past summer on a global telesummit that I hosted on sacred sexuality. I did so prior to the degree of these allegations of misconduct fully coming to my attention. My colleagues and I unfortunately moved forward without thoroughly vetting Gafni, a mistake we take responsibility for and very much regret. I have since completely disassociated myself from him professionally and am speaking out with other colleagues in the field about my concerns. I will continue to decline speaking and promotional requests for any events or programs associated with Gafni. I pray for healing for all of us in this community and others who may have been harmed or misled by him. And I am grateful for those who have had the courage to speak out and take action.
Lisa Schrader, Nevada City, CA
I’m signing because I have researched all available digital evidence and believe Marc Gafni needs to be made legally accountable for substantial credible accusations of his historic and current sexual abuse. As a whistle blower in an Australian spiritual school in which a teacher was sexually abusing primary aged students, I am very aware of the impact of sexual assault on victims and of the shadow side of spirituality that seeks to minimise this abuse, and worse still places it in the context of the victims’ spiritual destiny. In ‘my’ case the teacher in question was brought to justice, convicted and sentenced. An important step in supporting victims in their healing process. Thank you to the brave women who have spoken out and have maintained their integrity in the face of the huge challenges they’ve faced. At last some leaders in the so called New Age are beginning to take responsibility for its shadow.
Catherine Camden Pratt, Australia
I know more than has been revealed. We roomed together once and I worked for him for a while. I know 2 of his ex-wives. He is a liar, women abuser and so much more. And he’s very dangerous.
Rabbi Moshe Pesach Geller, Jerusalem, Israel
I am signing because he denigrates, distorts, and pollutes the sacred.
I am signing because he is a dangerous con artist. He combines hollow pop-spiritual rhetoric with fragments appropriated from mystical Judaism to create a sticky web where only he is master.
I am signing because consumes all he draws in, like Hannibal the Cannibal in Silence of the Lambs – beware.
I am signing to support friends who have been scarred by him.
Hali Weiss, New York, NY
Once a staff member at Bayit Hadash, I witnessed the trail of pain and hurt among many Israelis in the Bayit Hadash community who put their trust in Mordechai. He lied, betrayed many people. What hutzpah now to come off as a new age leader, “Intregal Abuser” is more like it.
Eliyahu McLean, Tsfat, Israel
He has harassed, threatened, manipulated, abused, and assaulted my friends. I firmly believe the man should not be in any teaching or leadership position. I question whether any spiritual insight he may describe in his written work can be benefitted from without evaluating it in the context of this history.
John Wagnon, Austin, TX
I was a victim of Marc Gafni’s manipulations many many years ago, I was involved in the criminal suit against him which he fled from like a common criminal, and I do not wish others to fall victim to his ways.
Ilana Nelson, White Plains, NY
I am a former student of Gafni’s who became aware of his abuse subsequent to my studies with him. He must not be allowed to teach in any capacity. I am signing in the hopes that more people will be aware of Gafni’s unethical behavior and will not provide him with further opportunities to propogate his teachings and possibilities for further abuse of students and others with whom he seeks relationships.
Ken Rosenstein, Brighton, MA
I would want Marc Gafni to do meaningful and transformative t’shuvah, for the sake of his victims, the community, and his soul and conscience.
Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, New York, NY
I have heard Marc talk on various occasions. At first, I was so enthralled with his good looks, charisma, and brilliant mind that I ignored the strong narcissistic and sexual undercurrents. Before long, I was no longer able to attend any of his talks or buy any of his books. I have followed the controversy of his sexual history. Not the accusations, but his responses, are what have me convinced of his guilt. He has not come out of denial, nor has he taken full responsibility for his actions. That is a strong red flag that the abuse is likely to continue. I don’t care how brilliant he is, he should not be teaching spiritual principles, and definitely should not be working with students. Sally Kempton says “young, vulnerable” females should not work with him, so obviously she knows he is guilty. But the fact is, ALL students are susceptible to a teacher. The power differential is enormous.
Rev. Andrea Fuller, Monterey, CA
I remember the intoxicating charisma and I am sickened by the truth and all the pain that MG has caused. How is this still happening?? Please may this ocean of voices be enough for all the others to see him for what he truly is and stop him. And may all those who have been hurt by him find some healing in knowing that all of us here have heard you and we support you.
Bena Medjuck-Bruckner, New York, NY
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey sits on the Executive Board of Directors of Marc Gafni’s nonprofit corporation. He can’t say this is a “personal” relationship. As CEO of Whole Foods an $11 billion public company there are rules of governance about which outside Boards members can sit on. I ask the Whole Foods Board of Directors whether Mr. Mackey is in compliance with company governance by sitting on the Board of Directors of a nonprofit corporation whose founder and CEO Marc Gafni told The New York Times that he sexually abused a minor: “She was 14 going on 35.”
nancy levine, woodacre, CA
This dangerous man abused and haunted 2 of my friends who were in the prime of their lives, with everything going for them. This man should be hunted down and prohibited to teach, and to be on any pedestal, whether public or private.
Fonda Weiss, Jerusalem, Israel
My childhood friend was 16 when he sexually abused her. She was shamed and hushed up by the higher ups in the Rabbinate. She was not the only victim. This man needs to be held accountable for past crimes and stopped from committing more.
Lisa Stein, Providence, RI
I’m signing because victims of Gafni’s abusive behavior are finally being believed and recognized as deserving a response, and this is important to me.
Rebecca Stern, Philadelphia, PA
I know the abuser and some of his victims personally. He is a dangerously manipulative individual who craves attention and audience rather than taking owneship of the truth of his actions and the harm he has done.
Ya’ara Saks, Toronto, Canada
I’m signing because his actions hurt a friend, a friend I love. I have known about this for years and I am glad it is finally out in the open.
Rebecca Young, Little Rock, AR
I have taken three on-line workshops with Gafni but because I was seventy- five at the time I had no such problem. Still during the third workshop I became very aware that his ego was running the show and dropped out of his teachings which had lost all value to me . His teachings had been like a precious jewel that had suddenly turned to slime. My heart goes out to his victims but I know from similar experience they can eventually triumph.
frances barnhart, Roanoke, VA
Marc Gafni clearly has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which can’t be cured, healed, or tempered, so full-out public censure (if not prison) is the only practical, permanent solution to protect others from him.
Marj Hahne, Longmont, CO
I met this guy around 16 years ago in Israel and had multiple encounters with him in his role as spiritual guru over the years, as well as knowing personally some of his victims. He is first class asshole to say the least, but, his mega watt charisma and conviction is compelling, that is how he is able to continue to draw followers. Beware!!
Gavriel Fiske, Jerusalem, Israel
As a leader in the Jewish community, it is my responsibility to do my best to make certain that Marc Gafni’s toxic and charismatic personality does not continue to negatively impact people that are often seeking inner wisdom, spiritual grounding or personal inspiration. Gafni’s continuous unethical behavior needs to stop.
Chava Gal-Or, Houston, TX
As a former leader of the iNYCs (Integral New York) community we hosted Gafni, Diane Hamilton and Ingber to discuss these events in 2009. Gafni made promises at that time that he has not kept. I believe he is out of control and needs others to create boundaries around him to protect the vulnerable.
Devin Martin, Beacon, NY
I’m signing because I know Marc Gafni personally and know many people who know him as well. To be honest, I always liked him. He’s personable, interesting and brilliant. But he’s dangerous. When his manipulation of came to light to me personally after a friend confided in me. I thought it was an anomaly. But his lies built and built and more victims came to light. He must be stopped. Do not believe him. He is brilliant and a master manipulator. I hope he seeks help.
Rebekah Million-Steele, Longmont, CO
I have experienced first hand the charismatic draw of his teaching and then witnessed the devastating effects of his lies and betrayals to people that I care about. I have watched with amazement and deep disturbance how he has managed to reinvent himself time and time again and find new audiences to repeat this basic pattern. This petition gives voice to those who have been hurt by him and hopefully sends a clear warning to others who have the potential to be harmed.
David Aftergood, New York, NY
I am signing because I knew and respect his third wife, who came out with her painful story in the Times of Israel: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/from-one-gafni-victim/
Julie Danan, Pleasantville, NY
I’m signing because I personally know people from multiple communities who were harmed by this man.
Jill Hammer, New York, NY
In 2003 I made a choice to stay in a Maggid program though I emailed other participants with my research that showed Mordechai Gafni to be a rapist of a 13 year old. His teachings are brilliant; he is , in my opinion, a sociopath. I never trusted him nor idolized him and am grateful for people who supported me in following my own gut
jean ryersbach, Levittown, PA
I personally know him to be an unrepentant, highly destructive person.
shlomo dror, Jerusalem, Israel
I’m a Esalen member. Do not allow this unethical & untrustworthy person to be on your schedule. He will spoil your beautiful space.
Rachel Masters, San Francisco, CA
It’s horrific that Whole Foods is allowing a KNOWN ABUSER to use Whole Foods as a platform for his nonsense as a way to gain legitimacy.
Rebecca Oberman, Atlanta, GA
I will not tolerate Jewish sexual predators in leadership positions to abuse their power and station.
Rabbi Zac Kamenetz, Berkeley, CA
enough is enough. all life is precious, and those who disrespect and violate the sanctity of others should not be allowed to do so unless proper amends and complete repentance has been made.
Rabbi Ilan Glazer, Germantown, TN
Gafni’s flippant comments related to his sexual encounters with a 13 & 16 year old are repulsive & disgusting. He needs to acknowledge the pain his choices has caused
Karla Kamstra, Bloomington, IN
Read Full Article