Culture, Justice, Religion

Gafni's Letter to Aleph

To my holiest friends,
I want to say I understand I have made grave mistakes. I made choices that clearly hurt people I love. I am infinitely saddened and profoundly sorry for the pain I have caused.
I take full responsibility for all the pain I have inflicted. Clearly all of this and more indicates that in these regards I am sick. I need to acknowledge that sickness and to get help for it. That is what I am doing in this letter.
I want to state clearly and unequivocally that I now recognize that I am sick in these ways and I am committed with all of my energy to check myself into the appropriate programs that will get me healing on this. I have already turned to a leading figure to guide my treatment program and am entering treatment immediately. want to enter into the most appropirate healing process with both myself and where appropirate with the others involved.
I promise you from the bottom of my heart and in the name of everything that is holy, I am taking this crisis with utmost seriousness. I am making healing the number one priority of my life. I must act now to discover what led to me to make these damaging choices that hurt people I care about, hurt my community, and hurt the people who have supported me for years in building Bayit Chadash.
In light of all that has happened I am leaving all of my rabbinic teaching capacities. I am looking now, together with a professional team, for in-house treatment centers where I can go and learn about what led me here, where I can grieve for all the pain that I have caused, and where I can
heal so that this never happens again. I apologize with all of my heart and soul to everyone.
With love and pain beyond words,

Here’s what’s shady about this, as far as I’m concerned: He fled to America before he could be arrested, and is now looking to check himself into a treatment program. Could this simply be a way to earn the mercy of the US courts when Israel inevitably attempts to extradite him?

7 thoughts on “Gafni's Letter to Aleph

  1. This is something that makes me extremely sad. Marc Gafni is someone I happen to have met and spoken with, and it was a truly moving experience. He is a gifted author and strikes me as a generally warm, decent man.
    I am not ignoring the other things that have been said. I am not attempting to be glib or aloof, or hold tightly to ignorance. I am not expecting anyone to do anything, nor to agree.
    If I am to understand that Marc Gafni has hurt someone, my heart sincerely goes out to them and I wish them quick healing. If one of the people Gafni has hurt is himself, my heart goes out to him, too. I hope none of this pain will linger for much longer. I believe- and I may even seem heartless for saying so, that everyone involved was a human being. I hate seeing them suffer for the mistakes of others, or for their own, and I wish there was more I could do.
    I realize that those that are angry may have every right or reason to be. I realize these thoughts don’t really change the situation. I cannot hate, I cannot point a finger, I cannot bring myself to condemn at this time. I am merely very sad, and I am not asking anyone else to see this. But yes, I hope someone does. The world is far too one-sided in everything, and the suffering never ends. And what will we do to bring happiness to everyone hurting? Probably nothing.
    We will deal, as we should, with right and wrong, as it is the least of our job, and the rest will stay unattended to. I think that’s why I will remain sad, when many others have gone home. You see a person who has done something wrong, I see a friend who has done something wrong. If everyone was friends with everyone else, you would be stuck the same place I am now. No, I didn’t mean to oversimplify everything; I almost wish I could. Instead, I have to feel badly for a few people, plus one- to grasp the horrible imperfection in that and say “I am like these people” and live with that truth. We are humans, not us and them, not you and me. I believe this pain is a legacy we share, and for now, we’re stuck with it.
    We bring pain into the lives other others, and we bring happiness into the lives of others, hit and miss, laugh and cry, grow and fall over, and drag people down. I couldn’t tell you if any of us really deserve to live like this or not. I can’t see it in those black and white terms of reward and punishment. I don’t know anyone who has never hurt someone. That doesn’t make it okay, it just means I don’t have the luxury of doing something simple and saying “okay, it’s taken care of.” And the people who will fix this, they’ll go home, and they will think they did their part. And perhaps they did their absolute best and more cannot be expected. Really though, we will wake up in the same world we were in before this happened, and no one will feel better.
    We’ll do with this what we do with all things- what we think is right in this situation. I just hope that someday we have better ideas- ones that leave less hurt. If we do nothing to Gafni, (apart from firing him and ruining his reputation) we might not be satisfied. If we do something to Gafni (and indeed it has already been done) we still have to live in a world that considers pain given back as its best solution to pain given. I still have to live in that world, and yeah- it would make me sad even if I didn’t know this person.
    Please do, give support, help, and good wishes to anyone who has been hurt, and see to them first. And then what will do for Gafni? Damn him forever- that’s the closest thing to humanity we have. If you saw the world this way, you’d be sad too. Not from being better than that, or worse than that- not even from being part of that… Just because any world has this cruelly oversimplified way to live. That makes me sad for them, you, myself, them, and yes- for even Gafni who like many or even most of us, has brought noteable pain into someone’s life. Now, he too receives it in abundance, whatever happens from now until the future- but is it ever really enough?
    You can damn me for saying so, but this I must say that with regards to damnation, this world is far more than sufficient. This is a world that seldom if ever considers the cost of its judgements. In any sane moment I could only wish a better a world on everyone- to wish this world ill would be hopelessly redundant- just don’t think I’m not sorry for it.

  2. Gafni took it all back, he never meant to apologize and wrote a letter explaining here:
    I wonder what he’ll write now that the NYT has written this investigative article detailing allegations of him as a pedophile, rapist and sexually predatory towards his female students in multiple locations over the past 3-4 decades…

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