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.