Serial sex-abuser and spiritual chameleon rabbi, Marc (Mordechai) Gafni has emerged again into the public arena, and Jewish communal leaders are circulating a petition, calling on Whole Foods to withdraw its financial and institutional support for the self-described “visionary thinker, social activist, passionate philosopher”. Whole Foods’s founder John Mackey chairs the executive board of Gafni’s new age Center for Integral Wisdom. Gafni infamous history and his current growing prominence came to wide public attention last week, after Mark Oppenheimer published a profile on Gafni in the New York Times and, a few days later, a longer and darker profile in Tablet.
Jewschool covered Gafni’s exploits extensively in 2006, when he fled Israel amidst a police investigation into multiple accusations against him of sexual misconduct, including rape, and then in 2008, when he first re-emerged publicly back in the United States. We now join in support of this petition. Gafni admits and flaunts much of what he is accused of, but justifies it and perniciously demonizes his victims with the language of Torah. His Jewish communal support seems finally to have dried up; he’s now finding cover in the corporate new-age world, primarily from Whole Foods, and from the anti-feminist men’s movement crowd. We may not have much influence with the latter, but we should put a full-court press on Whole Foods to drop its support for this charlatan before he leaves more victims in his trail. Here are some ideas from Twitter for how to make sure that social media passersby looking to learn about him find out what they need to know to stay safe.