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 New age guru and former Rabbi - new allegations - abuse of power, etc.

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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: New age guru and former Rabbi - new allegations - abuse of power, etc.   Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:12 pm

A Spiritual Leader Gains Stature, Trailed by a Troubled Past
Beliefs
By MARK OPPENHEIMER DEC. 25, 2015 - NYTimes
 
PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. — In his home office overlooking Monterey Bay, Marc Gafni is trying to remake American spirituality. He reads, he writes, and he works to bring a little-known philosophy called integral theory into the mainstream of New Age.

Integral theory “is based on the understanding that evolution itself is an expression of a spiritual universal force of creation embodied in each one of us as us, as unique selves,” said the futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard, who described Mr. Gafni as a leader of the movement.

The members of Mr. Gafni’s think tank, the Center for Integral Wisdom, and their projects are drawn from the worlds of medicine, yoga, meditation and the business-ethics movement known as “conscious capitalism.”

“We take the best of all the major disciplines of wisdom from the premodern period, the modern period and postmodern period,” Mr. Gafni said. “And we integrate them in a kind of renaissance project.”

A co-founder of Whole Foods, John Mackey, a proponent of conscious capitalism, calls Mr. Gafni “a bold visionary.” He is a chairman of the executive board of Mr. Gafni’s center, and he hosts board meetings at his Texas ranch. The Whole Foods website shows a seven-part video series of conversations between the two men.

The new media pioneer Arianna Huffington spoke, via teleconference, at Mr. Gafni’s invitation-only conference last year. The author John Gray has asked Mr. Gafni to help write a sequel to “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus.”

But the growing prominence of Mr. Gafni, 55, and his think tank has alarmed many Jewish leaders who know him as a former rabbi who was accused of sexually exploiting a high school freshman and who then moved to Israel to start a mystical community, only to lose it after having affairs with multiple followers.

Mr. Gafni, who talked about his past during several interviews, and his supporters say he has put all of that behind him. He said that old claims against him were all exaggerated, the result of professional resentment, and that he had been the victim of pseudofeminist witch hunts. (He handed this columnist a copy of “Sexual McCarthyism,” by Alan M. Dershowitz.)

Ken Wilber, considered the modern founder of integral theory, started the think tank with Mr. Gafni. Mr. Wilber said that before forming a partnership with Mr. Gafni, he personally researched the rumors about him and commissioned an employee to investigate. In the end, Mr. Wilber concluded that Mr. Gafni was, at worst, “insensitive as a boyfriend.”

“Marc has a lot of Shakti,” Mr. Wilber said, using a Sanskrit word for energy. “I don’t think he understood the impact it had on people.”

Mr. Gafni was born Mordechai Winiarz to an Orthodox family in Pittsfield, Mass., in 1960. His family moved to Ohio, and he attended an Orthodox Jewish high school in New York City. “He was one of the most brilliant students I have ever taught,” said Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who ordained Mr. Gafni but later rescinded the ordination.

After high school, Mr. Gafni stayed in New York to study. In a 2004 article in The Jewish Week about Mr. Gafni, a woman said he repeatedly sexually assaulted her, over a nine-month period, beginning in 1980, when she was 13. “He told me that if I told anyone, I would be shamed in the community,” The Jewish Week quoted the woman as saying.

Mr. Gafni was quoted saying they had been in love. He added, “She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.” In a recent interview, the woman, who asked not to be identified, said that she stood by her account from 2004 and that the encounters were not consensual.

In 1986, when Mr. Gafni was working for Jewish Public School Youth, an outreach program, he was accused by a 16-year-old girl of climbing into bed with her naked while she was staying with him and his wife. “He stalked me for years afterward,” said the woman, Judy Mitzner, who recently wrote about the episode.

Mr. Gafni said that it was “a one-time event” and that Ms. Mitzner was “highly initiatory” and came on to him. Ms. Mitzner said that was not true. “I never initiated anything with him,” she said. No charges were filed in either case.

Mr. Gafni moved to Israel in 1988 and changed his name from Winiarz to Gafni — from a Polish cognate for vine, or wine, to a Hebrew one. He became a popular teacher and briefly had an Israeli television show.

About 2000, with two other rabbis, Mr. Gafni started Bayit Chadash, or New Home, a community that held classes and weekend retreats focused on mysticism and creative worship. “I had known some of the stuff around him,” said Jacob Ner-David, one of his co-founders, adding that, when asked, Mr. Gafni admitted “a monogamy problem.”

But in 2006, while Mr. Gafni was in the United States, Bayit Chadash held a meeting at which several women in the community said that he had been sleeping with each of them and that he had insisted that each keep the affairs secret. Bayit Chadash soon folded.

Several former friends said that his dishonesty and manipulation, not promiscuity, upset them most.

“He swore to me that he never would sleep with students,” said Ebn Leader, a friend of Mr. Gafni’s in Israel and now an instructor at Hebrew College, near Boston. “And when the Bayit Chadash thing exploded, he claimed, ‘I was doing this, yes, but it was consensual.’ ”

Mr. Gafni disputed those comments. “I did not,” he said, “represent myself as someone who didn’t sleep with students.” He said he had asked lovers not for “secrecy” but for “privacy.”

Mr. Gafni published an online apology after moving to Utah. “Clearly all of this and more indicates that in these regards I am sick,” Mr. Gafni wrote. More recently, Mr. Gafni wrote that he regretted the apology and wrote it only to avoid “sensationalist conflict.”

In Utah, Mr. Gafni expanded his interests in non-Jewish mystical movements. He made an eclectic group of friends, including Rocky Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, who wrote a magazine[url=http://failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/gafni catalyst magazine.pdf]article[/url] defending Mr. Gafni. Mr. Anderson said that he now regretted the article and that Mr. Gafni had plagiarized material from High Road for Human Rights, the nonprofit organization Mr. Anderson founded.

Rabbi Ohad Ezrahi, who teaches in Tel Aviv, said a version of one of his Hebrew-language articles turned up as a chapter in one of Mr. Gafni’s English books, “The Mystery of Love,” without proper attribution.

Mr. Gafni said he did not commit plagiarism.

Mr. Mackey of Whole Foods and Mr. Gray, the author, declined interview requests. Ms. Huffington said Mr. Mackey introduced her to Mr. Gafni, whom she said she had “only met once.”

One Gafni supporter, Sally Kempton, who is a teacher and writer of meditation and Eastern philosophy and a member of his think tank, said he was “a wonderful teacher for mature students” and not someone “young, susceptible women should take as their teacher.”

Mr. Gafni, who has been divorced three times, said that any mistakes might have occurred because he was in denial about his polyamorous nature. 
“It’s kind of like being a gay guy in the ’50s,” he said. He now lives with his partner, Lori Galperin, a psychotherapist who is on the board of Mr. Gafni’s center.

“I think that one of the things that I’ve learned a lot about over the years,” he said, “is to take more and more responsibility for my impact on people.”
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PostSubject: Re: New age guru and former Rabbi - new allegations - abuse of power, etc.   Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:18 pm

Understanding the Marc Gafni Story, Part II
Talking to the friends and colleagues of a controversial ex-rabbi


By Mark Oppenheimer - December 29, 2015

On Friday, my article about the controversial ex-rabbi Marc Gafni was posted online at The New York Times website; it ran in the print edition on Saturday, December 26. Since then, it has received a tremendous amount of attention, and generated some very significant questions, many of them having to do with who supported Gafni, and when, and why.

As readers of that first piece know, Gafni, 55, who worked as a rabbi in both the Orthodox and Renewal wings of Judaism, long ago admitted that when he was 19 and 20 he had repeated sexual encounters, over a nine-month period, with a girl who was 13 and then 14 years old. In 1986, Gafni was accused of twice groping 16-year-old Judy Mitzner, a student involved with his Jewish outreach program, once getting into bed with her completely naked. (She was staying with him and his wife during a rough period at home.) He once told a reporter that the first girl was “14 going on 35” and that they were “in love”; the second girl was, he told me, “highly initiatory.”

Gafni’s also been accused of plagiarism, of emotionally abusive relationships with women at his Jewish Renewal community in Israel (which imploded after his multiple liaisons), and, in 2011, of sleeping with a woman he was counseling, which led her employer, a book publisher, to cancel Gafni’s book contract. (At the time, the employer, publisher Tami Simon, gave a statement to a blogger about why she was dropping Gafni, and the woman who alleged the affair recently confirmed the story to me. Speaking with me, Gafni denied that the relationship was a breach of ethics because, he said, he was not counseling the woman.)

Yet Gafni has continually found students and financial backers. The question is, who are they? And what is their reasoning?

We can gain some idea by listening to his supporters themselves. Many of them have gone on the record over various years. They include some of his earliest friends in the Orthodox Jewish community; the rabbi of a wealthy Reform temple in Los Angeles; and a religion teacher at one of America’s most prestigious boarding schools. They offer a range of explanations for why they trust (or trusted) Gafni, from skepticism about the sexual-abuse charges, or the veracity of such charges more generally, to a New Age belief that Gafni is sometimes overwhelmed by his own sexual energy. Taken together, they teach us something about what some call forgiveness, others denial.

Early in his career, in the 1980s, Gafni (then known by his birth name, Mordechai Winiarz) worked in the Modern Orthodox community. He attended the high school then run by renowned rabbi Shlomo Riskin. “He was one of the most brilliant students I have ever taught,” Riskin said, as I wrote in the Times. Riskin added: “For a period of time he lived in my house, that’s how much I loved him.” Riskin even left Gafni in charge of his Lincoln Square Synagogue when he was traveling. As a young man, Gafni also worked for a program, Jewish Public School Youth, housed at Yeshiva University.

A youth advisor who worked with both Gafni and Mitzner, but who told me that she was afraid to use her name, said that Mitzner (now in her forties) shared the story with her at the time, and she brought the alleged episode to the attention of the Yeshiva University administration. In a recent interview, Rabbi Kenneth Hain, who then worked at YU, said that he remembered that the university hired a psychologist to investigate. “The psychologist interviewed the parties and came back with a letter,” said Hain, who recalls seeing the letter. “And what it said was that he could not determine whether there had been any wrongdoing.”

Unlike many Modern Orthodox rabbis in the years thereafter, Hain—who is now a rabbi in Lawrence, N.Y., and from 1999 to 2001 was president of the Rabbinical Council of America, the major organization of Modern Orthodox rabbis—never vouched for Gafni or attested publicly to his integrity. And he was uncertain if anyone recommended Gafni for the job he got right after leaving New York, at a pulpit in Boca Raton.

Mitzner, though, told me that she suspected a cover-up all along. “You hear all the time about priests and pastors who sexually molest people, but you never hear about rabbis,” Mitzner said. “Everyone in the Jewish community wants to cover it up.” In any case, Gafni lasted less than a year in Boca Raton, then left for reasons that are unclear. He moved to Israel.

In 2004, The Jewish Week ran a [banned term] exposé on Gafni, which included Mr. Gafni’s admission of the incidents with the ninth-grader, as well as the news that Shlomo Riskin had rescinded his rabbinic ordination. The article quoted Gafni saying he now took precautions against future missteps: “‘I don’t work with kids,’” Gafni said, “‘I don’t counsel men or women, and I don’t meet alone with women.’”

But many defended Gafni. “If you want to find fly specks in the pepper, you can always find them,” the late Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, considered the founder of the Renewal branch of Judaism, told the Jewish Week’s Gary Rosenblatt. “But I’ve watched him teach. He is learned, exciting, and charismatic.”

The article had little effect on Mr. Gafni’s stature in Israel, and after it ran, three more prominent rabbis—Joseph Telushkin, author of the popular book Jewish Literacy; adjunct Columbia Law professor Saul Berman; and Renewal rabbi Tirzah Firestone—wrote a letter offering support to Gafni. In 2005, seventeen rabbis and communal leaders circulated a letter endorsing Gafni and casting doubt on the charges against him. Among the signatories were Berman, Firestone, Schachter-Shalomi, and other major leaders in Judaism, including Arthur Green, now the rector of Hebrew College, near Boston. They wrote, in part: “We affirm without reservation that in addition to being a person of enormous gifts, depth, and vision, Rabbi Gafni is also a person of real integrity.”

Many of those rabbis later recanted their support of Gafni. In 2006, after the dissolution of Gafni’s Bayit Chadash community in Israel, amidst complaints of emotional abuse from multiple sexual partners of Gafni’s—whose stories to this day Gafni denies, as one can read on his website—Telushkin, Berman, and Firestone apologized for their support. Green has also said he regretted supporting Gafni. When reached by telephone, both Telushkin and Green declined to comment; Berman did not return multiple emails and calls.

But Gafni’s support did not come just from the Orthodox world. Beginning in 2002, he was a frequent teacher, and even a High Holidays preacher, at Stephen S. Wise Temple, in Los Angeles, one of the largest Jewish congregations in the world. A 2004 article in the Los Angeles Jewish Journal quotes the senior rabbi, Eli Herscher, fiercely defending Gafni—again, after Gafni’s public admission that he had been sexually involved with a 13-year-old.

But Herscher hasn’t found any substance to the rumors he said he personally checked out after Gafni himself brought the issue up soon after they met.

The article, Herscher points out, brings up incidents alleged to have occurred more than 25 years ago, when Gafni was 19, and even those are based on allegations that have never been proven and that Gafni denies …

Herscher takes The Jewish Week to task for implying that Gafni has admitted to wrongdoing or done teshuvah, or repentence, for specific incidents.

For instance, [Jewish Week editor Gary] Rosenblatt says that Gafni has done teshuvah by agreeing not to work with children, to do private counseling or to be alone with a woman.

But Herscher said he discussed those self-imposed ground rules with Gafni, and it was clear to him that Gafni was not trying to avoid temptation, but only trying to preclude even the appearance of wrongdoing, given the rumors that have haunted him for two decades.

“There are people who could be learning with him and being counseled by him who don’t have that opportunity,” Herscher said.

From 2004 to 2006, after the revelations about Gafni’s past with minors, the temple continued to have Gafni in to speak “every few months,” according to a 2006 article in the Jewish Journal. Only after Gafni lost Bayit Chadash, his Renewal community in Israel, after numerous women alleged emotionally painful romantic entanglements with him, did Stephen S. Wise Temple sever its connection with him. Only then did Herscher, the rabbi, distance himself from Gafni. “I pray that all who have been misled and hurt by him—first and foremost the women he has harmed—will soon recover,” Herscher told the Jewish Journal, in 2006.

Reached at his home in Los Angeles this week, Herscher, now senior rabbi emeritus, said that he had no comment.

Gafni’s also has defenders in the New Age world. My article in the Times quoted Gafni supporters Ken Wilber and Sally Kempton defending him on various grounds having to do with his nature, or his innate energy, which they believe in time he’s learned to control better. There were others I spoke with who believed either that Gafni’s past had been exaggerated, or that he had changed, and often both.

The men’s rights advocate Warren Farrell is in a monthly men’s group with Gafni, author John Gray, and others, and he is the third author on Gray’s planned next sequel to Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. Farrell is also associated with Gafni’s think tank, the Center for Integral Wisdom. “Marc is able to bring people in, see what their gift is, and then co-create with them,” Farrell said in an interview.

“I’ve looked into it,” Farrell said, when asked about Gafni’s controversial past. “People who know me say the single thing that stands out most with me is word integrity. Marc was very open about telling me and sharing with me what his background was. I did do some research on it. I knew one of the women he was involved with at the time I met him.” Farrell said that while he had only “Marc’s perspective on it,” he had concluded, “What feels pretty accurate to me was that Marc was basically in an Orthodox community and he tends to behave in unorthodox ways … Orthodox communities are pretty sexually repressed, and Marc is not sexually repressed.”

That line of argument—that Gafni suffered from an imperfect fit with the Orthodox Jewish world in which he was raised—was also put forward by Kempton, who writes about Eastern wisdom traditions and yoga, who is revered in certain precincts of the New Age world, and whose endorsement was instrumental in helping Gafni rebuild his reputation after he left Jewish life. She suggested that there was something in the hothouse of boys’ yeshiva education, or in his Jewish “lineage,” that explained why he turned to a 13-year-old for sexual release.

“I recognize,” Kempton said, “that particular heart-to-heart transmission in Marc, that he is able to offer in a large group, and that I think is very connected with one of the Hasidic lineages—I don’t know enough about Jewish lineages to understand it, but it’s a felt sense that I recognize … As you probably know, those highly, incredibly high-energy, smart young yeshiva boys are just filled with energy that spills over in super-, hyper-talking, obviously, in their hyper-sexuality. And I don’t think that in that sense Marc is that different from a lot of young Orthodox guys that I have known who are trying to stay celibate until they got married, and it was killing them.

“So the early relationship that started this whole thing,” Kempton continued, “was with a freshman in high school, he was 19, I think it was his first serious girlfriend. They made out, and he was very persuasive. He is a high-energy person. She was 13 or 14—it is not exactly clear which—but having been a 13-year-old girl with an older boy, I know how 13-year-old girls are kind of polite when somebody is kissing them, and they don’t really love it. And I think a lot of what is called abuse in teenage interactions really comes from girls being over polite and boys thinking that if a girl isn’t kicking them in the balls, that means [it’s okay].”

But in an email to me, the girl, now a grown woman living in New York state, rejected any characterization of her as Gafni’s girlfriend, or willing partner. Instead, she described their encounters as “aggressive, forced sexual contact without consent.” She wrote, “He would come in, in the middle of the night, and wake me up. He forced me into sexual contact with him against my will. I repeatedly pleaded with him to not touch me. I repeatedly said, ‘NO.’ He was physically stronger than me, and forced me into sexual contact that I did not want. He tried to force me to touch his penis, and against my will he touched my breasts and genitals in a forceful way. I tried to push his hands away from me. The experience was terrifying. He told me that I must keep it a secret, and if I did not, I would be the one who would be blamed by my parents and community.” She gave a similar, but more detailed, description to the blogger Luke Ford in 2004.

Not all of Gafni’s new supporters come from the New Age world. Adam Bellow is an editor at HarperCollins known for working with conservative authors, including Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz. He is now advising Gafni’s think tank, the Center for Integral Wisdom, and helping Gafni plan future publications. He is one of the talking heads in Rise Up, a short movie that seems to be a preview for a planned longer movie for the center. (Motivational speaker Tony Robbins, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, and Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus author John Gray are also in the five-minute movie.)

Bellow—who in 1993 published David Brock’s The Real Anita Hill—believed that the charges against Mr. Gafni may have been exaggerated over time, in part due to contested, and politicized, definitions of “rape.”

“We obviously cannot know for certain what occurred between two people—as the Hill/Thomas case amply demonstrates, memory is a very tricky thing and an experience that might seem benign or acceptable at one time in a person’s life may look very different in hindsight,” wrote Bellow in an email to me.

“Clearly there is something about Marc that elicits strong reactions, some of them harshly negative, but many others strongly positive. Can all these people who love and admire him really be completely wrong? Are they under some weird kind of spell? I think when you meet him you will see that he has no such magical power of enchantment. If he does, I am certainly immune to it. And yet in your position, I would be reluctant to dismiss the deeply felt and no doubt convincing claims of women who insist they have been harmed by him.”

In the end, Bellow suggested that Gafni was in part a victim of his own unconventional energy. “I can tell you from my own experience that the fire of Eros is a real thing,” Bellow wrote. “In recent years I have myself developed a capacity to experience and channel this energy in a series of tantric relationships. I have no doubt that it is real, that it has been experienced and described by many great poets and mystics, and that Marc himself is a powerful receiver and transmitter of it. I also have no trouble believing that in his early life he had little understanding or control over this powerful gift … Anyone who has gifts of this kind needs to learn to handle them responsibly and ethically. This can take some time, and even in the best of circumstances, people can get burned.”

Gafni has had a repeat gig lecturing at Phillips Exeter Academy, known as Exeter, the elite boarding school in New Hampshire. He is brought to campus by Kathy Brownback, who teaches religion at Exeter and is also affiliated with the Center for Integral Wisdom. She said that she finds Gafni’s writing extremely useful, and has included one of his articles on her syllabi. And according to a blog post she wrote, in 2012 Gafni spoke to students, met with a faculty book group, and led a retreat for the whole Exeter religion department.

“He’s come [to Exeter] two or three times,” Brownback said. “In person, he’s very intense, and he’s got a bit of, some would say more than a bit of, the charismatic evangelical preacher about him. He is really forceful about his ideas—some kids were completely drawn to that, and some kids were put off by it. In person, he’s not as helpful as the ideas are. The ideas really speak to kids.” She uses one Gafni article in her class Interdisciplinary Approaches to Epistemology, where he is taught alongside Plato, Aristotle, and Kant.”

“I have learned a lot from him and talked with him on a bunch of occasions, and been involved with the Center for Integral Wisdom board, so I know his work pretty closely,” Brownback said.

I asked if she worried about the sexual allegations against Gafni.

“I don’t,” Brownback said. “He’s never alone with any kids anyway, so that’s not an issue. It feels to me like there’s not a lot of distortion with him. But I don’t have any direct knowledge of that stuff, so I can’t say.”

Later, Brownback sent a follow-up email in which she wrote, in part: “I know about the stuff on the web, and as I mentioned in my earlier email people at Exeter have sometimes asked me about the web. I’ve talked with Marc and with others involved who have reviewed all the material. I trust them and I trust Marc. I know him well and have full confidence in his integrity.

Later in the email, Brownback wrote: “In a way Marc reminds me of Jacob—not always orthodox (though more than the rest of us), and most assuredly wrestling with God. If his work had ever been thought to be racist, or sexist, or anti-Semitic, or anything else along that line, the criticisms would land completely differently with me. But the attacks on him are of a very different nature, and I am not concerned about them. I trust him and trust the very strong group that he has gathered.”
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Jcbaran

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PostSubject: Total babble - nothing "unique" here....   Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:14 pm

4 quotes by ex-Orthodox rabbi Marc Gafni not in The NY Times article
By Gabe Friedman December 29, 2015 7:00pm




Former Orthodox rabbi Marc Gafni — accused decades ago of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl — rocketed back into the news last weekend in a feature story in The New York Times.

Times reporter Mark Oppenheimer explains that Gafni has moved on from his troubled past to found the Center for Integral Wisdom. The think tank’s projects include retreats, workshops and lectures on self-help and mindfulness topics — all “drawn from the worlds of medicine, yoga, meditation and the business-ethics movement known as ‘conscious capitalism,’” Oppenheimer writes.


Gafni, 55, born Mordechai Winiarz, was accused of repeatedly molesting a 13-year-old girl over a nine-month period beginning in 1980. He disputed the allegations to the Jewish Week in 2006, saying: “She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her.


In 1986, 16-year-old Judy Mitzner accused Gafni of climbing into bed with her naked, while she was staying with him and his wife. Gafni hasdisclaimed his acknowledgement in 2006 that he had a “sickness.”

In 1988, Gafni moved to Israel, where he changed his name and started Bayit Hadash, a “community that held classes and weekend retreats focused on mysticism,” according to Oppenheimer. The movement disbanded in 2006 after several women in the group learned he was sleeping with the others.

Having published several print and audio books, Gafni has garnered praise from the likes of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey.

What The Times article does not offer is any detail about the content of Gafni’s new ideology. Fortunately, Gafni’s website offers a broad selection of the New Age guru’s ideas in print and video form — including several passages on eroticism that would make a lesser alleged sex offender blush.

READ: Rabbi fights sexual allegations

Here are four declarations from the site:

 1. Gafni advocates committing “outrageous acts of love”
“What does an outrageous lover do? Well first, stay safe. An outrageous lover keeps all the boundaries that you should be kept and breaks all the boundaries that should be broken,” Gafni says. “But what does, you ask me what does the outrageous lover do? An outrageous lover commits outrageous acts of love. But which outrageous acts of love? There are so many that need to be committed. An outrageous lover commits the outrageous acts of love that are unique to him, unique to her. They are an expression, a function of his or her unique self.”

2. Two of his friends compare the sexual assault accusations against him to anti-Semitism
Gafni first started his website in part to challenge the claims against him, and an entire section is devoted to defending his reputation. It is introduced with the phrase: “If you have heard of troubling stories on the internet about Marc Gafni, this page is for you.”

“The evidence makes it abundantly clear that the horrendous claims made about Marc on what can only be described as Internet vendetta or hate sites hidden beneath the fig leaf of victim advocacy, are without a shred of truth,” write fellow spiritual leaders Sally Kempton and Ken Wilber. “To even need say this is in some sense offensive. It is somewhat like a Jewish person needing to deny anti – Semitic claims on a neo Nazi site.”

3. He has written an entire book on tears
“Tears are the story of your life, the story of my life,” Gafni says. “Your life is the evolution of your tears. What would it mean to keep a tears journal, the times that you cried and begin to be able to hear the voice of your tears? We wrote an entire book on integral religion and your own path to waking up, growing up, showing up, which is the path of your tears.”

4. He believes that if you aren’t erotic, you might as well be dead
“Eroticism is not merely sex…To live erotically is to be on the inside…To experience the fullness of union with the higher reality, to have time stop still and enter in to that timeless time, and placeless place,” Gafni says. “To feel the fullness of your creativity, your longing, awake in you. To be erotic is to be alive…You have two choices in the world: wake up erotically or die.”


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