A Call to Shun Marc Gafni

If I had the power I would excommunicate Marc Gafni from the Jewish religion and rescind any invitations he may have received to teach or lecture in any public forum.

Of course I do not have or want such power, but the latest round of news articles about Marc Gafni touched a third rail inside of me. I have a visceral reaction to people in positions of power who use their charisma and authority to seduce underage girls. The trauma is one from which these women rarely fully recover.

Marc Gafni has a long and sordid trail of sexual abuse on his resume. I don’t care if he is clever and glib. I acknowledge that he is both.

Does that make it OK for him to ruin young girls lives? I don’t think so.

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is an active and avid supporter of Gafni’s New Age spirituality.

Therefore I wrote the following letter and posted it to Whole Foods via their web site:

I have been a regular Whole Foods Shopper both at Bishop’s Corner and at the Whole Foods on Raymond Road in West Hartford since the stores opened. I have spent thousands of dollars on your products. BUT I can no longer shop at Whole Foods until John Mackey publicly recants any support of Marc Gafni. Gafni is a serial sexual predator who has destroyed lives. Shopping in the store of man who claims Gafni is a visionary spiritual leader is repugnant to me, and I can no longer do so. Please advise me if Mr. Mackey repudiates Marc Gafni. I will look forward to returning to Whole Foods at that time.

Some have asked me why I have been more vocal about this man than other causes they consider priorities.

It goes without saying that we cannot pour out all of our indignation for every evil in the world. For me though people like Gafni who use their power to abuse and inflict harm on others really get under my skin.

As a rabbi I see red when a person’s actions besmirch the reputation of what I consider not just a profession but also a sacred calling. The repeated instances of sexual exploitation and abuse in which Gafni has engaged make him unfit for welcome to any respectable teaching forum.

14 thoughts on “A Call to Shun Marc Gafni

  1. Thank you for posting this. I applaud the clear, concise and cogent way I too signed the petition. When we speak out alone, we are vulnerable to retaliation and retribution. But there is safety in numbers. And perhaps the public outcry, and the blocking of this non-Jewish avenue for Gafni, results in him finally getting the help he needs and people no longer get hurt by him.


  2. I agree but unfortunately many do this and many are doing it right under our noses. So possibly before one points fingers, maybe look deep inside yourself and see your own shortcomings etc. it’s horrible one would seduce under age girls. It’s also horrible to cheat in any form, especially a human that pretends to be so holy and really is the opposite.


  3. Calvin, I could not agree more. Looking inside ourselves and being aware of and working on our own shortcomings is vital. I am far from perfect to be sure. But there is a red line for me when it comes to using your power and charisma to seduce underage girls. That is point at which we must take the responsibility to both judge and condemn.


  4. Thank you for this. Reading the comments here, people speak of ‘seducing underage girls’. First, let’s call that for exactly what it is – rape (consensuality being absent in such immaturity). Next, most adult students of Gafni’s are in a strong power differential relationship with him – if Gafni sexually approaches a student there is predominantly nothing ‘consensual’ about any ensuing sexual relationship. A boundary violation, loss of a personal centre, intense confusion, and often psychological meltdown over time, are all experiences shared by victims of sexual predator Gurus. Profound betrayal of trust; an experience of spiritual, emotional and sexual abuse are usually the outcome.

    Sexual predators such as this usually hone in on sexual abuse ‘survivors’ as their sense of autonomy and self-agency are easily eroded in this horrendous (repeat) boundary violation – Rarely are teacher/student relationships equal or healthy. That is why (after decades of such human flotsam and jetsam – both in spiritual and so-called psychotherapeutic settings) there are such strong ethical guidelines in place in assoc. etc. This man should not be given any position of trust!


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