Thursday, June 1, 2006
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Loving God With All Your Wallet
My friend Harry gave me a $54 gift certificate to Amazon.com for my birthday.
So I used it to purchase:
* "Air Supply - The Definitive DVD Collection"
* Journey - Greatest Hits DVD 1978-1997
* "The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists"
* "Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism"
* "The Ten Commandments of Character: Essential Advice for Living an
Honorable, Ethical, Honest Life"
The birthday gift I've used the most this week -- Luke Y. Thompson's
Air Supply: The Ultimate Performance DVD, which I've played about a dozen
I Love My Shul
Sometimes I have to bring a stranger with me to the place I pray to appreciate
how wonderful it is.
I often think of my shul as a cold and unfriendly (I'm just seeing a
projection of myself). I often feel jarred walking in and trying to pray
(that's because my life is far removed from what I am about to pray for).
But then I bring an obviously non-Jewish friend and he's treated with
great kindness and he opens my eyes to the goodness of those around me.
It made me think that a poor woman could wear the same dress every Sabbath
for a year to my shul and nobody would make fun of her. A poor guy like
me can wear the same suit every Sabbath for five years (I have) and nobody
makes fun of me.
I remember 12 years ago that I wore the same tie repeatedly to Stephen
S. Wise temple until Dr. Stephen Marmer came in one Sabbath with a gift
for me -- two bags filled with approximately 60 different ties.
We would have a potluck lunch every Sabbath but I was so poor, I couldn't
contribute -- until Dennis Prager lent me money.
At Ohev Shalom in Orlando, I was in a Talmud group but could not afford
to buy the next tractate. When the new volumes came in, there was one
for me purchased anonymously.
At Young Israel of Century City, I davened every morning with tattered
tefillin. One morning, Rabbi Muskin gave me a beautiful pair of new teffilin
purchased with his own money. It was the most beautiful gift I've ever
received but because of my sinful choices I had to give it back two months
And to think that in 1993 I had a girlfriend who gave me a book titled
"The Givers and the Takers."
What To Do About Mordecai Gafni?
Yori Yanover writes:
For the record, I never met or spoke to Mordechai
Gafni, and everything I know about him comes
second hand. If you tell me he had illegal sex with two, rather than
one minor, I must accept your version of the truth, because I don’t
have a better, more direct source to rely on.
But I agree with you that the discussion of the ravages Gafni
left behind, both earlier and later in his life, is overdue. Let me
ask you then, what would you consider, in your personal case, to be
the kind of arrangement after which you would feel that your grievance
Let’s line up the grievances as I’ve heard them, second hand:
- Sex with an under-aged person
- Sex with several women with false promises of marriage
- Sex with students impressed by Gafni’s
A reliable arbiter should investigate and assess the extent of the
damage sustained by each individual woman. I suspect the range of assessed
damages might be as varied as the range of women who have had the bad
luck to be swayed by Gafni. But my sense
is that as long as none of them suffered physical damage, the dollar
value set on their mental anguish would be limited.
Broken promises of marriage can bring in some monetary rewards, but
since most of the sexual complaints are by adult women, who were, basically,
consenting, the sums will not be large. But, of
course, the better the lawyer, the higher the rewards.
But I must warn you that pursuing this case to the end will require
a great commitment on your part; you’ll basically have to put your personal
and professional life aside and commit to suing Gafni.
And if you’re not the first one to sue him, he might be broke by the
time you win.
Which brings me to the sad and real aspect of recovering from the kind
of injury you sustained: It’s not about punishing the SOB who hurt you.
It rarely is. It’s about rediscovering the powers within you to move
on. You said I was “ranting and raving,” so I would assume that you
don’t think I’m your friend. So I’ll tell you what I would have told
my daughter, if, God forbid, she were in your situation: Let the guy
rot, move on, get back into life.
I’ll share with you a personal experience.
Many years ago, my wife and I lost our one-year old baby. It was an
opportunistic bacteria that ran through her
body in one weekend. Our pediatrician was negligent. It was our first
child, we depended on him for judgment, and he was basically ignoring
us, even when we called in the middle of the night. By the time we finally
brought her in, he was shocked by her condition and had us take her
to the emergency room, where she passed away.
After the first month of mourning, we went to see our lawyer about
suing our doctor. We sat with a battery of attorneys, and they began
to prep us, set dates for depositions, etc., until it became very clear
to us that pursuing the case, in which we were undoubtedly right and
the doctor undoubtedly wrong, would require about a five-year commitment
on our part. We would be deposed, we would appear in court time and
again, we would be asked to re-live the most painful time in our lives,
again and again.
We balked. And decided to put our energies in recovering
from the tragedy. Which we did, slowly.
Incidentally, the pediatrician’s wife lost her pregnancy shortly thereafter
and he left the field permanently. So karma is still alive and well.
The fact is that today the only thing I feel for that doctor is pity.
I think my wife and I are in much better shape than he.
In my view it is inappropriate for anyone to write what Mordechai
Gafni should do or not do. He is an addict
who’s hitting rock bottom, and he will or
will not seek recovery. The public discussion of the quality of his
mia culpa, or
the mia culpi
of various Renewal movement leaders is embarrassingly prurient. As individuals
we have the right to declare what our own needs are, not what other
people’s needs should be. After all, what do you want him to receive?
Jail? Not going to happen, not here, not
I’d be extremely surprised if it does. So, if not
jail, then what?
Talk about Mating for Hetero-America
Luke Ford is the only
heterosexual man of note who offers timely and meaningful advice on matters
of the heart to heterosexuals from the male point of view. In this he
is assisted by his imaginary alter ego Chaim
Amalek, an Apostate New York Jew who can be seen on Myspace.
Got a question? I've got an answer: email@example.com.
Who Should Chaim Amalek Court?
Chaim Amalek of New York finds himself living in penury and in such dire
social isolation that he is reduced to courting the "women" ( not all
really are) of Craigslist. What follows are some personal ads from a few
of the women he contemplates dating in New York. Consider this the internet’s
first instance of "open source" advice on courtship. Dear readers, kindly
chime in with your two cents and good sense by discussing here which of
these women are worthy of a date with Chaim Amalek:
I. Let me wrap my hands around.... - 25
Reply to: your neck and squeeze till their is no more air. I want a weird
man who gets turned on with women like me. Morbid, bitch and not all sane...
II. Dinner tonight with a medical professional and LTR - 31
Reply to: Date: 2006-05-15, 11:34AM EDT I just went to Guns N Roses last
night and the concert didn't start until 11:30pm and was home by 2am.
There was no way after drinking all day that I was going to make it to
work and see 25 patients. I am very career oriented, have 2 degrees and
also have another business in addition to my current job. About me: avid
concert goer. Just picked up tickets for Madonna and Pink Floyd. I am
also seeking a jewish hotster (or would seriously convert) who likes to
wine and dine, around 6 feet owns an apt. like myself, and is available
for intimacy daily. I am 31 and women's peak is 35 so if you think you
can handle me let's get this party started THE DOWN SIDE TO BEING SINGLE
IS NOT BEING ABLE TO GET ACTION EVERY DAY SEEKING A SERIOUS RELATIONSHIP
ONLY 33-40. FYI: PLEASE HAVE MULTIPLE PICS MY PICS WERE TAKEN 5/1/06 I
PURPOSELY DO NOT PUT A CLEAR PIC ON HERE FOR SECURITY REASONS
this is in or around Ues
III. he who worships the big beautiful woman is KING - 46
Reply to: Date: 2006-05-29, 8:14AM EDT Its true.. most men leave us behind..
thinking our sexuality is something weird, but little do they know we
are the great exploders of all time.. and the loudest, most passionate
women who let men be kings in the bedroom (or outside).. I pitty the man
who has never made love to a BBW nor who has been their husbands, boyfriends,
lovers.... Me? I seek him...for completion, for passion, for sharing mind
body and soul. Monogamous only, unattached...I AM NOT YOUR f--- BUDDY
!!! I have a great job and a wonderful life but one missing ingredient
is your humor and masculinity ......whether you're slim or husky or large....IT
DOES NOT MATTER...
IV. Married lady that needs her lover - AND HE WONT DRIVE HER CRAZY! -
Reply to: Date: 2006-05-28, 11:19PM EDT If you want me.... I am here -
but under my terms only! This was suppose to be posted in westcher - accidently
posted in Manhattan. Ok.... here goes nothing but maybe something. I have
read several postings from men to see you hate to have a woman have criteria
to meet but feel it is only responsible for a person to be as specific
as a person can be to find what is right for each person. My belief is
- if your honest with yourself and the ones around you - you can find
anything or anyone. I want to find a great situation and enjoy it for
a long time. No harm in trying. I am a sexy voluptious woman with needs
and desires to fulfill. I am blunt, silly and serious, affectionate, I
personally have a rather fun kinky sexual side and a more sweet loving
side. It depends on the lover and the situation but I am open to explore
and enhance my sex life along with my everyday life. I am not interested
in a person that is hung up on sex though. I am not looking to "f---"
or to "f--- around". I want a lover. An affair. A friend. A man who is
wanting to give attention to a woman that earns it and will deserve it.
I want to find a giving man who is into treating a woman nice and loves
to pamper but that is your call. Every person is diffent and each situation
is diffent. I am attracted to over the age of 35, tall - over 5' 10" a
must, strong, above average endowed, open-minded, funny, sexy, can have
a firm hand sexually - and is only dominate in the bedroom (no subs or
bi-guys) men - a real man. Decision making, educated, sophisticated, kind
hearted, lover of a man. As I think more about the sexual man I am looking
for - here is a more descript explaination.... A passionately dominate
man who is not abusive but controlling. A thick long cock to keep me weak
in the knees and wanting to worship it. I like rough sex. I like to be
taken and have fantasies like everyone else. I have great big breasts
that desire to be played with roughly. I like a man that is not afraid
of a woman and knows a thing or 2 about the G-spot. Must love a voluptious
woman with real cuves - round rear - big boobs. Toys are great, spankings
are amazing and eagerness to please is always rewarded with eagerness
in return. Attitude, personality and honesty are winners everytime. Does
not matter how great a person thinks they are - a liar is a loser to me.
The hottest snob is unattractive. And a drip of a personality is just
no fun. I have some great qualities, some ok qualities and some bad qualities
- I am human. I drink - socially, smoke and can be an attention needer.
I do not want someone to change me and I do not want to change the right
person. I like the be the center of a person universe when I am with them.
I want to keep you wanting me as much as I hope to want you. I am married
and am not looking to leave - my marriage is my business and am not looking
to explain my seperate life to anyone unless there is a connection between
myself and someone else. I would like to think that somewhere out there
- there is a man who is looking for me. I can give the right man my attention,
affection and devotion. I am not looking for a nightly encounter - just
someone that understands or can be understanding and available for me
when I need them. I am not looking to have a one nighter - so please do
not think it will go anywhere if you are. I am not looking to "party",
swing, no BS or liars. Just be honest with yourself and with me and if
it is something we can do - lets enjoy a hot romance. I am not looking
for long distance romance so be local - be in Westchester or very local
to it - must be able to travel and like traveling.
this is in or around Upper Westchester
V. I've Been a Bad Girl - Oh Please Don't Spank Me.... - 44
Reply to: Date: 2006-05-30, 9:43AM EDT I am searching for a strong man
who can handle an obstenate woman, someone who understands where the persons
head is at when they behave like a total and complete brat. You would
take control and give me a good spanking.... Not back down and be assertive.
Know who you are and be able to handle who I am, a high powered executive
who needs to be treated like a little girl at times and a woman at other
times. An all around individual who knows how to treat a woman like a
girl and a girl like a woman. If you can follow this, then you certainly
will have my attention. I'm waiting for your response, tell me all about
what you would do and how you would take care of me and how I would take
care of your needs as well. Oh and by the way I am a BBW, so if this bothers
you, please dont answer my posting. Thanks. send a photo and i'll respond
with the same.
VI. May I Eat Your Arm?
Reply to: Date: 2006-05-31, 1:18PM EDT I'm looking for that special someone
who would let me eat his arm if we were starving and lost in the wilderness.
Thanks for the arm! That's what I would say. Oh actually, I would say
I LOVE you AND thanks for the arm and yes, I still love you, despite your
gnawed on arm. I think that's pretty cool of me to still love you when
your arm looks like that.
I Am A Man
May 28, 2006:
Today I turn 40, an age when a man must put aside the things of childhood
and assume the mantle of manhood. No more the playing of the Gameboy for
me. No more giggling. No more reading the comic strip "Apartment 3G" or
going to movies based on superheroes or trolling for age-inappropirate
women at "Friday Night Live" or trying to impress young Jewesses who themselves
are fated for desperate evenings on Craigslist. From now on, everything
must be tight - my use of time, my muscles, my writing. Today I am a man.
Lukeford.net Not Loading For Some
Some people have tried to read lukeford.net and it will not load for
them except the blogads on the upper left of the page and the "Home
button. I can't figure out what the problem is. Do you have any thoughts?
fails validation here. What is my solution?
One person says: "My guess is that you use a CSS and in this case
the path to the css who determines the layout can't be found."
What does this mean?
A friend writes: "It appears that the CSS styling sheet is off,
so the encoders aren't picking it up. I don't know how to tell you to
fix it with Dreamweaver because I use Frontpage software."
Luke Is 40
Not long ago I was so pleased to find myself linked in the same sentence
with Mark Steyn -- in John Birmingham's
Morning Herald article about witty righties and humorless lefties
-- that I immediately ordered Birmingham's
out-of-print book, "How
to Be a Man." I figured this would be the perfect 40th birthday
present for Luke Ford, especially
because of the Australian connection. And indeed it was, at least in
my opinion. Luke isn't very gracious about presents, but I assume he'll
at least learn something from it. It's a good book, as of course I read
it first. (Along with Maia and Grandpa,
who were both quite glued to it.)
...Someone else gave Luke some AMC movie passes, so Monday he took
me and Maia to see "United 93," which we all liked very much, although
Maia thought it was too sad and Luke had to march around my backyard
afterward for a good 20 minutes, demanding that we all imagine him saying
manly things like "Scramble those jets" and "I want action, not answers"
and (of course) "Let's roll." He only stopped when my Dad finally came
outside and distracted him with a dirty joke.
One good thing about Luke: He's an appreciative audience and when he
laughs, he laughs so long and loud you think his sides actually might
split. He also cackled happily for quite a while at the pre-movie commericial
about some bed-wetting product.
Luke's "let's roll" dialogue fantasies were at least a relief from
his conversation on the way to the movie, which consisted almost entirely
of him saying things like, "Do you think I'm exploitative of women?"
"Am I self-centered and narcisstic?" "People say I'm manipulative --
He wouldn't let me change the subject, and just saying "yes, yes, yes"
gets boring after a while, so eventually I reminded him that, you know,
some women charge 95 cents a minute for these kinds of conversations.
I Take A Break Monday Afternoon From Chasing
Sexual Predators To Become One
Levine, Aria Lexxi,
Justin Levine Heather
Luke Y. Thompson Martina,
Luke Y. Thompson Heather
Veitch, Steve Aria,
Luke Y. Thompson Aria,
Luke Y. Thompson Crystal
Klein, Adam Grayson Jamie
and her mom Lisa Crystal,
Luke, Rich Lexxi,
Luke, Rich Lexxi,
Thompson, Justin Levine Derrick,
Lexxi, Luke Luke,
Lisa, Shay, Crissy Lexxi,
Luke acting out his military commander fantasies Shay
20 photos were by my host Holly.)
Holly emails me: "I'm sorry I didn't have more time to talk to you
or your friends (or anybody!) but I get like that when I'm hosting a party.
It's like I go into work mode. Anyhow it was a good party and I'm glad
I could feed you something you could eat."
Will Senger writes:
The recidivism rate among sexual offenders is not 100% and not near
100%. In Canada, it is between 2 and 5 per cent but one has to realize
that this figure is based on legal recidivism, not just sexual offending.
As an example: A released sex offender with a condition of release not
to consume alcohol can be returned to the institution for drinking a
beer and thus become a recidivist and part of that 5%.
The suggestion in this writing from your site that says sexual predators
don't get better is basically true. The predator does not stop having
the desire to submit to his/her deviant fantasies and will likely never
stop being aroused by inappropriate thoughts - but the actual recidivism
statistics obviously account for the fact that these urges can be controlled
Have you seen this week's Forward
Five books -- all by women.
Then she says, "You
don't read women authors, do you?"
Least that's what I think I hear her say.
"Well", I say, "how would you know and what would it matter anyway?"
"Well", she says, "you just don't seem like you do!"
I said, "you're way wrong."
She says, "which ones have you read then?"
I say, "I read Erica Jong!"
Yori Yanover writes:
Dear "Orthodox Rabbi Responds":
In a normative society, an accused has the right to face his accusers.
It's an elementary component of fairness and justice.
There are cases when the accusing party stands to be harmed, either
by the accused or by a related agency; or when the accusing party is
under aged, when we promote the protection of the accuser via anonymity.
But a grown Orthodox Rabbi like you, who faces his God three times
a day and is at peace with his conscience, what justification does he
have to don the hood of the anonymous witness?
My views on Gafni? I understand he's been a brilliant teacher who couldn't
keep it in his pants. He broke the social code regarding employing one's
influence and status to get laid. He probably shouldn't go back to teaching
for a while, because, as I was led to understand, once he's on a roll,
he can't help himself. The women he had sex with were not minors, save
for one experience when he was much younger. In my view, Gafni should
make amends in a serious, honest and meaningful way to the women he
took advantage off, or he'll never grow beyond this point of abuse and
humiliation. If I were his spiritual consultant, I would recommend a
detailed apology, including recanting his actions and a dollar value
set on each offense. And then he gets forgiven and can start to seek
the next step in seeking his spiritual wholesomeness.
I believe the prison system in every country is a horrible place which
is against the spirit of Torah, degrading souls and subjecting human
beings to daily abuse and torture. No crime at all should be punished
with uprooting a person from his loved one and turning them into sodomized
animals for a prescribed period of time. Prison is a crime against God
and humans. Our Torah, as ORR knows well, prescribes the death penalty
for intentional capital offenses, exile for unintentional capital offenses,
and a detailed process of restitution for everything else. If a person
is deemed chronically addicted to sexual assaults, we should probably
consider long-term hospitalization. But advocating that Gafni, or any
other human being, accept incarceration as justice, means turning a
blind eye on the suffering and torment of the millions of incarcerated
One last point, ORR says: "Or were the comments too strong and if I
did put my name would he have looked for ways to attack me which is
why he is frustrated at the anonymity."
That's pure nastiness. As someone who gets a litany of my journalistic
history, as well as reams of attributed writings I never authored plastered
over endless screens every time I post my opinion, I resent the underhanded
insult. If your record makes you vulnerable in this debate, what right
do you have to comment on the sexual proclivities of another? If your
record is solid, stop whining, ORR, be a man, put your name under your
statement and argue like a grownup.
Vicki Polin is a crazy lady, but at least she's out there, name intact.
Anonymity is a convenient way to stab someone in the dark and run away
without having to watch them bleed. It's cowardly and disturbingly pre-adolescent.
Jewish Whistleblower writes:
Luke, why do you give the time of day to hypocrite Yori Yanover. He
allows anonymous comments on his blog and even he reposts them as posts
on his blog (seee just the last few enteries), he has anonymous "affidavits"
he uses to attack his named enemies, he posts anonymous email all the
time, he posted numerous smears anonymously on Protocols and his best
friend Yudelson has admitted he posts anonymously on the Jewish Survivors.
Perhaps Yori, should out his anonymous friends before he lectures us.
Or just change his first name to hypocrite.
Further, virtually all the material I post is sourced and has named
sources. Virtually everything Yori posts on USAJEWISH is UNSOURCED and
Larry Yudelson writes:
JWB typically misses the point -- Yori and I prefer to argue with names
attached; JWB and other cowards don't. That hardly counts as rational,
since Team Polin happily drags our families into the blog battles, but
so it goes.
As to the half truths: You bet I've posted anonymously on JewishSurvivors,
after I found that my signed posts were rejected by the moderator. The
only time I recall actually posting, though (since I assumed that the
moderator wouldn't let through any posts taking issue with her) was
when Team Polin assembled a list of the most valuable players in the
victim protection program (or whatever they called it) this past year,
and the name of Luke Ford was missing. Given Luke Ford's role in the
LA Tendler case, I found that a most surprising omission.
Incidentally -- there seems to be an interesting battle brewing in
the sexual victim community; check
out the comments from the past couple of days at the bottom.
Jewish Whistleblower responds:
For a Jewish Journalist and the head of an upstart publishing house,
you would think that Yudelson would learn to read. He really needs to
work on his reading comprehension.
I correctly made the observation that virtually all of Yori's posts
are identical. He posts anonymous materials ALL the time as part of
his posts and that Yori is a hypocrite.
As to the rest of Yudelson's response it is irrelevant and inaccurate.
I personally have stated in the past, and will do so here again, that
I believe that Luke Ford did a valuable service to the community by
exposing sexual predator Gafni and his enablers.
I will note that Larry Yudelson now admits he was aware that the allegations
were credible and removed a post attacking various people over their
exposure of Gafni. The problem was he did nothing to speak out against
Gafni and took no steps when his best friend Yori Yanover was promoting
Gafni. Yudelson left the stumbling block in front of Yanover. Basically,
that is the quality of friendship you get from Yudelson. He is a moral
pigmy that stood silent in the face of evil that was Gafni while attacking
those who stood up against him and even when he removed his post, he
took no steps to correct the false impression he left or the damage
to those who he wrongly attacked. His blog silence enabled Gafni, just
as his silence in NJ enabled Rabbi Baruch Lanner. Yes, Larry Yudelson
has a name but what is it really worth?
Luke how is your post quoting an Orthodox Rabbi any worse that Yori's
posts that DO EXACTLY THE SAME. Here's
just one of many examples.
Where in his revised "YOU RESTORED MY SOUL" post (the original of course
had the quote "homosexual movement, the feminist movement and the psychoanalytical
movement. All three movements have politicized the sexual, and with
that, robbed us of the carefree availability of our sexual expression,"
which of course Yori has since removed) he quotes anonymous Yitzchak
from Jerusalem. Why is Yitzchak from Jerusalem allowed anonymity? Is
not Yanover a hypocrite of the first order? Enquiring minds demand to
know if this "Yitzchak" is in fact Chabad Kabbalist Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsberg.
same one who wrote this terrible racist nonsense:
"Less than five years ago, Habad Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsberg of Israel
stated publicly in the New York media that "Jews have different DNA
than gentiles, and that Jewish life is infinitely more valuable than
I hadn't realized that conversion also altered one's DNA. Disgusting.
Yori Yanover claims that "Vicki Polin is the most favorite Jewish author
of both White Power and Muslim bloggers."
BUT IN FACT it is his alleged friend Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg a Chabadnik
(a movement closely associated with Yanover who set up their internet
presence) that can be argued is the most favorite Jewish author of both
White Power and Muslim bloggers, with statements like: "Jewish blood
and a goy's (gentile's) blood are not the same."
Israeli Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg, Inferring that killing isn't murder
if the victim is Gentile. Jerusalem Post, June 19,1989.
Will Yori Yanover openly condemn Rabbi Yitzhak Ginsburg? Demand Chabad
rid itself of this racist? Unlikely.
Larry Yudelson writes:
I said: The only time I recall actually posting, though (since I assumed
that the moderator wouldn't let through any posts taking issue with
her) was when Team Polin assembled a list of the most valuable players
in the victim protection program (or whatever they called it) this past
year, and the name of Luke Ford was missing. Given Luke Ford's role
in the LA Tendler case, I found that a most surprising omission.
JWB said: As to the rest of Yudelson's response it is irrelevant and
inaccurate. I personally have stated in the past, and will do so here
again, that I believe that Luke Ford did a valuable service to the community
by exposing sexual predator Gafni and his enablers.
While JWB is welcome to his happy delusions, what I said was indeed
relevant: JWB was making some sort of point about anonymous postings
being hypocritical, and I explained that my "admission" of anonymous
posting was in response to Vicki's not allowing me to post by name on
her site, and then not giving you proper credit. Whether JWB gives you
credit for Gafni is separate from whether or not "survivor" did -- isn't
the party line that JWB and Vicki Polin are separate people? (Incidentally,
Vicki has yet to respond to my query as to her relationship with "survivor").
By the way, Luke, I'd welcome your opinon on one thing: Isn't it a bit
odd for a grown man to be tossing around the term "best friend" with
such certain abandon? It's really not a phrase I've myself used since
seventh grade. I wonder whether JWB has been spending too much time
hanging around the schoolyard.
Another seemingly bogus claim. JWB claims "I will note that Larry Yudelson
... removed a post attacking various people over their exposure of Gafni."
Really? Which post?
Not bogus at all. The
proof in Yudelson's own words.
Sorry, JWB. I'm not standing up for Gafni now, and I didn't stand
up for him then. In fact, it was a phone call from Gafni a year or
two back that lead me to take down a blog devoted to you and Vicki:
I very much did not want to be on Gafni's team. ...
Comment by Reb Yudel - May 26, 2006 @ 3:57 pm
Larry responds: "Here's the misunderstanding. JWB thinks I was criticizing
him for going after Gafni. No; I've criticized Team Polin for their ongoing
mixture of prurience and prudity. And yes, that obsession with Frankist
cults, ritual abuse and recovered memory."
The only person in this dialogue that got a call from a sexual predator
thanking him for his efforts in attacking his enemies is a man named
As to obsession, Larry Yudelson should read his best friend Yori Yanover's
Further, as far as I'm concerned, by linking Yanover's blog and parroting
his smears, Yudelson should be considered a member of Team Worch and
an enabler of Rabbi Jeremy Hershy Worch. I hold Yudelson 100% responsible
for whatever comes.
Fire Of Holiness
An Orthodox Jew writes me:
is a connection of lineage spiritually between the Aish Kodesh and the
Izhbicer, as they all represent a current of Polish Hassidut through
to Kotzk, etc, which tended towards more radical readings of text, and
some very attractive ideas about theology. The fact that any liberal
and progressive theology can be easily distorted is not a fair critique.
There is no connection between Aish Kodesh, written by R. Kolonymous
Kalman Shapira, the Piaczezna Rebbe, in the Warsaw Ghetto and the Izhbitzer.
Other than Rav Shlomo taught both. There could be a pun with sacred
fire – or it could be a coincidence – a guy like Worsh probably believes
that it is Divine providence.
Izhbitz is interesting – I have the books at home very difficult very
obscure – you can claim that he is saying almost anything. He writes
tersely and expects the reader to understand. He has some strange claims
in the book which have gotten him in trouble – for example in Parshas
Pinchas in the Mei Shiloch he says Pinchas was wrong for killing Zimri
– who was actually performing a mitzvah by having illicit sexual relations
(in public?) with kozbi. Pinchas the student of Moshe (prototype of
the well meaning zealous yeshiva student) doesn’t understand the deeper
spiritual Zimri, who has mystic calculations for his sordid behavior.
Interesting that Gafni and Worsh may be attracted to such a Rebbi
The Rehabilitation Of Sexual Predators
Rabbi Mordecai Gafni writes:
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.
I want to enter into the most appropriate healing process with both
myself and where appropriate 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
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, MORDECHAI
An Orthodox rabbi responds:
He is getting good at this; while he claims to have taken responsibility
– he takes no responsibility – he claims to have an illness, he is sick,
illness can be treated he is seeking treatment. The implication is that
soon he will be healed and life can go on.
If he is taking responsibility then why doesn’t he get on the next
plane and go back to Israel and turn himself in at the closest police
station, at least give a statement – see if they wish to press charges,
if they do plead guilty to spare these women from testifying, and if
the court finds him guilty sit in prison. He writes “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.” That is not called taking responsibility,
it is called working on a defense. Curious no mention was made of his
previous victims – he is only admitting what the public already knows.
He says “I am taking this crisis with utmost seriousness.” Good thing
he just got fired and publicly humiliated – imagine if he didn’t take
this seriously! Amazing.
The odds of Mordechai getting a paying gig in the foreseeable future
is nil – yet he is taking responsibility so he writes “In light of all
that has happened I am leaving all of my rabbinic teaching capacities”
did he have a choice? Can he continue the charade as rabbi?
Mordechai made a similar statement when he left his second wife to
be with a woman he claimed he loved and wanted to spend the rest of
his life with – he stood up in a synagogue in Kfar Saba and said that
was leaving the rabbinate. Unfortunately he has since pledged his love
to numerous women has been engaged numerous times and has promised many
people to spend his life with them. Unfortunately he forgot his declaration
to leave the rabbinate and snuck back in. Of course by this time nary
an orthodox congregation would have him. After his “counseling” a young
woman, led to his leaving his wife – her irate father went right to
the chief rabbi of Israel. After an investigation, the chief rabbi’s
office declared him a “non-rabbi” he would never practice in Israel
in an official position.
Mordechai couldn’t stay away, had he stayed a computer software salesmen
– he could have been as sleazy as he chose (no offence intended to people
in that field of work) and when he got caught in his indiscretions it
wouldn’t have caused this public spectacle. But Mordechai in a perverse
way is so narcissistic that he is probably enjoying the publicity –
the same man who shaved his rabbinic beard and publicly announced that
he was leaving the rabbinate 10 years ago stood up again and wrote an
apology – because he is taking responsibility. He is getting good at
When he could no longer serve in an orthodox congregation on any continent
– despite his name change, Mordechai became new-age, he even created
a philosophy that could provide his libido with victims. If he is sincere
about his taking responsibility, about dealing with his sickness, I
would assume that he would move far away from this new-age philosophy.
Return to his orthodox roots. Deal with the real sickness – his need
for power and publicity. But this won’t happen, Mordechai will not have
the guts to take that much responsibility. If he did he would have to
apologize to the scores of woman he told he loved, to the scores of
woman he forced himself upon.
To all the people he stepped on making his way to the “top”. To all
the rabbis he ripped off and claimed their Torah as his own. To the
people who wrote his books for him and did his research. To all the
people whom he paid off over the years - buying their silence. To all
the listeners on radio and television to whom he would have to admit
that his programs were bought airtime – in an attempt to satisfy his
insatiable need for power fame and recognition.
If Mordechai really takes responsibility for all of this what would
be left? Mordechai is a talented orator a charismatic teacher, he is
not the great philosophical thinker that some of his fans think he is
– can he admit this? Can he move away from the lime-light? Can he lead
a life without adulation? Can he stop lying and abusing? Will he seek
forgiveness from the victims of his youth – for the abuse and the years
of emotional pain that followed? For causing them to lose their faith
in Judaism? For destroying their sex lives and future relationships?
Will he apologize to Rabbi Yosef Blau who years ago identified Mordechai
for what he was - a slick talking dangerous abusive con-artist?
When Mordechai returns to Israel, seeking his penance, when he swears
he is leaving the rabbinate and public life forever. When he returns
to G-d with sincerity, not to perform a tango with the Schechina - which
he deems to be in pain, because of the pagan Eros, which he declared
to have been exiled from Judaism. When he leaves his narcissism, his
self serving manipulative philosophy and sits in prison I will believe
that he has taken responsibility. But I won’t hold my breath.
A psychiatrist emails me about sexual predators:
They don't get better even though they may earnestly try to repent.
Okay, I'm being too harsh, some do. But we're talking like 3-7% who
don't go on to repeat the same sort of crime. It's absolutely tragic,
but if some one is prone to that sort of crime, especially those prone
repeatedly by history, you're talking about a recidivism rate that's
close to 100%.
There's a huge difference between someone who has an off color fantasy
and someone who acts that fantasy out in reality.
The rabbis you've been mentioning shouldn't ever again be around the
type of victims that they've preyed upon in the past. It's both not
fair for their future victims as much as for them. It's just too much
of a temptation for those guys to repeat their behavior no matter how
much repentance they've been through.
Yori Yanover writes: "Luke -- With all due respect, the casual observer
might jump to the conclusion that Vicki Polin and I are the only people
you know who aren't anonymous. This is best shown by the most recent rush
to kick Mordechai Gafni while he is conveniently on the ground. I don't
mind the fact that his public apology, as well as the letters from Reb
Zalman and several other Jewish Renewal folks be critiqued, even maligned.
But must it all be done by anonymous rabbis and psychologists? Are we
fresh out of people who can insult their fellow man and not hide behind
the shield of anonymity? What's the justification for this protection,
in the case of the two most recent rabbi and psychologist duo, for seeking
to remain anonymous?"
The Orthodox rabbi responds:
While Yori takes offence at the form – namely anonymous emails – though
he should recognize that much of blogging and comments is an anonymous
endeavor – what does he think about the content? I would assume that
an astute social commentator as himself would have some response to
the comment – and the authors identity should really be secondary. Or
were the comments too strong – and if I did put my name would he have
looked for ways to attack me – which is why he is frustrated at the
anonymity. Was there any inaccuracy in my email? If yes he should point
it out. If no – then why is the identity an issue? There have been hundreds
of anonymous comments on this issue on blogs all over cyberspace – so
I chose your blog which doesn’t take comments – which forces one to
send you emails – why is this an issue?
An Orthodox Jew writes me:
I agree that its a charade, but at least he 'fessed up. Sobel just
claims "teshuva" as though there were no victims, and that he's holy
enough to proclaim himself ready for prime time again, his serial attacks
were just an error on his part for which just some teshuva and therapy
will be adequate.
Philosophically, this issue of "pardon" has been raised with Nazi crimes.
Is there pardon without the victims granting it? In Torah there is no
other route; crimes of this sort require not the OK of other rabbis
(or even of Gd) but of the victims. And something tells me that we aren't
going to see it in either of the cases.
Here's what R. Hutner said about Teshuva: The background is that the
Rambam changes the Gemara's language- when the Talmud talks about the
three books (in which one is inscribed for life or death, as it were,
depending on the person's actions), it says "zachu" "if one has merits",
whereas the Rambam states "im asah teshuva". So R. Hutner notes (pachad
yitzhak derush 18) that the Rambam recognized, that contrary to the
usual way of thinking about merit, its not a quantitative issue (this
many sins, this many mitzvot).
Rather: Teshuva is not in the heftza, but in the gavra. That is, its
not the tally that counts, but the individual transformation that determines
Teshuva. And you know that Rambam was pretty severe on the matter of
Jonathan Chipman posted this on his blogsite, which has Gafni defending
Here is Sobel in his own words. I assume since we all know that he's
really at heart a big tzadik, that this applies to him:
In righteousness shall you judge your neighbor" (Vayikra 19:15).
The Torah commands us to give people the benefit of the doubt when
we are not sure whether or not their actions were permissible. For
example, if someone sees a Jew driving on Shabbos, and he doesn't
know whether he is desecrating the holy day or taking a seriously
ill person to the hospital, he should judge him favorably and assume
Actually, it depends. If the one whose actions are in doubt is generally
known to be an extremely pious, G-d fearing person, then, even if
his actions are most probably forbidden, yet, if there is even a one
percent chance that it is permissible, we are required by the Torah
to judge him favorably.
If, however, the fellow is someone who is average in his observance,
sometimes succumbing to sin, then the Torah requires us to give him
the benefit of the doubt only if there is at least a fifty per cent
chance that it was OK. If the odds that it was forbidden outweigh
the chances that it was permissible, then the Torah allows us to regard
it as questionable - but certainly not to rule that it was forbidden.
According to the Rambam, even in such a case it is an act of piety
to judge him favorably.
Only if someone is a known desecrator of the Torah, should we assume
that what he did was forbidden.
In practice, this commandment is difficult to obey. We are quick
to assume that others are misbehaving (although we almost always assume
that we are perfect or close to it) and we rarely give even tzaddikim
(righteous people) the benefit of the doubt. When we judge ourselves,
on the other hand, we instinctively assume that we are righteous.
Zion Sobel - How Does One Know When A Predator Has Truly Repented?
I'm a sexual predator as much as the next guy. I don't pick on kids.
I don't pick on guys. But if an attractive (or even a homely woman) is
the slightest bit interested in me, I am putty in her hands.
If I ever have a secretary, I'm going to make sure she's either a guy
or old and ugly. Otherwise I'll spend my time wondering how to get her
You should know that I stopped a rapist last night. Yes sir. I stopped
chasing this woman.
Frankly, I think every man would rape if he could get away with it (unless
he's timid or ethical).
What's my ethical direction? I tend to do what is easiest. When people
(appropriately) reprimand me for doing wrong, I find it easier to do right.
I don't spend my life watching sexual predators. It just seems that way.
Let me take that back. I am spending my life watching sexual predators.
Originally from New York, Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel (in the mid eighties)
ran a yeshiva for troubled kids -- Neve Yohoshua (which became Neve Zion)
He was pushed out in 1987 after (sexually and otherwise) abusing (many,
perhaps most) of his male students. I've heard of at least one suicide
following this and other yeshiva bochers giving up on Judaism. Many kids
disappeared from the radar screen of the Orthodox world.
At that time, rabbis in such a position were pushed out quietly.
Sobel did not go willingly. He only left his position of religious leadership
when he was forced out.
Soon after, he claimed he had done teshuva (repentence) and spent thousands
of dollars getting psychiatric help.
It seems like most rabbi-predators claim the same thing.
"The people I trust in Israel," says an Orthodox rabbi who's
been a leader in combatting rabbi-predators, "none of them trust
him at all. Rabbi [Yitzchak Dovid] Grossman [aka the Disco Rabbi] would
not be the first person to be taken in by someone who's said he's done
teshuva. Sobel is good at this stuff. They're all good at this stuff.
If they weren't good at it, they'd be long gone.
"For many years, [Rabbi Sobel] has been doing things to get himself
back in business [as a religious leader]."
L.A. Gafni Event Canceled
Fax writes in the Jewish Journal:
Revelations about sexual misconduct have led to the cancellation of
an upcoming local event featuring prominent Rabbi Mordechai Gafni [with
Gafni had been scheduled for a public talk at Stephen S. Wise Temple
on June 9. Over the past two years, since being appointed to the Wisdom
Chair in September 2004, Gafni has returned every few months to the
Bel Air shul, where he's had a loyal following.
Herscher said he had discussed the rumors with Gafni and, after investigating
them on his own, found them baseless.
[senior Rabbi Eli] Herscher was in good company defending Gafni, as
some of the country's top Jewish thinkers, of all denominations, called
Gafni a remarkable teacher who was the target of a malevolent campaign.
Herscher also decried Jewish newspapers for printing lashon harah (malicious
gossip). "Rabbi Gafni coming to teach here makes a deeply important
Jewish statement - that if rumors and allegations and innuendo are allowed
to destroy someone who only wants to teach, Jewishly, that is tragic,"
Herscher said in October 2004.
Precisely what investigating did Herscher do? What investigating did
Berman and Telushkin and company do? I know that about 18-months ago,
Saul Berman did not return calls (one from a woman who says she was molested
by Gafni, another from a rabbi with information on Gafni's sexual conquests
of those under his religious leadership). What made Herscher, Berman and
company believe they were qualified to investigate such matters and then
declare Gafni safe?
From the case of Gafni, it appears that much of religious Jewry's leadership
is more concerned with protecting their own reputations and those of their
fellow leaders than in confessing the bad they have done and atoning for
it. I've yet to see any Gafni-supporting rabbi attempt to do any teshuva
As a convert to Judaism,
I've always believed that rabbis were better than any other group of people
and less likely to act like sexual predators. In particular, I was
(and in many ways still am) a huge fan of Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, Dr.
Stephen Marmer and my former Gafni-supporting friends at my former temple,
Stephen S. Wise (I was a Mountaintop Minyan member there from 1994-97
while I was also equally involved at Aish HaTorah and various Orthodox
shuls). I was naive.
For more than a decade, I looked at Rabbi Telushkin and Dr. Marmer as
role models. I admired their combination of Jewish commitment and universalist
Despite Gafni, I still think they're great guys. Just stupid in this
area. They're apparently learned nothing.
Picks Up Her Divorce (Get) May 24
This was Orthodox LA's most discussed divorce in years (there was media
coverage in Israel and Los Angeles). Both sides to the divorce (and the
15yo son) have been damaged by the fallout. Rabbi Batzri can't find work.
His ex-wife teaches at a Sephardic school in Pico/Robertson.
Luna Batzri put up flyers denouncing her ex-husband. Then her son put
up flyers denouncing her and what she was doing to his father.
Since his remarriage in February, until May 24, Rabbi Batzri, according
to some rabbis interpretation of Jewish law, has had two wives.
Luna Batzri's side said Rabbi Batzri would not give her a divorce. His
side says she would not pick up her divorce.
She sued him in civil court (for spousal and child support, even though
their son lives with their father) and refused to go to the Orthodox Jewish
court because she says she won't get a square deal. It is the norm for
Orthodox Jews to settle things within the community (by a Beit Din, Jewish
law court, if necessary) and not take things to secular court.
May 25, there was a late-afternoon pushing incident between Luna Batzri
and Rabbi Batzri's new wife at Pico Glatt Market and a police report was
filed. From what I heard, Luna initiated the pushing.
'What's The Latest On JDater Amy
A friend calls. "I know you have a satellite on her."
Luke: "She's the happiest I've seen her. I spotted her with an older
man at the Israeli Independence Festival."
Jews, please beware of the wolf in sheep's clothing
post on Craig's List:
There is extreme anti-Semitism in “La Voz de Aztlan” http://www.aztlan.net
It may not be obvious at first. You have to scroll down or poke around
their website a bit… but check out some of these links:
Viva Palestina Libre!
Delagacion Especial en Mexico
Fallujah: American Guernica
Palestinian Woman Martyrs Against the Israeli Occupation
Sign Petition to Stop US Military Aid to Israel
The “Kosher Nostra Scam” on the American Consumer by Ernesto Cienfuegos
The Petition to End Kosher Certification Labels
Betsy Rosstein’s New U.S. Flag!
STOP US Military Aid to Israel
STONE vs. ARMOR, Palestinian boy defends his hometown of Beit Hanuao
in Northern Gaza 2003
BOYCOTT ISRAELI PRODUCTS In Solidarity with the Palestianian Sruggle
Zion Sobel spoke of how each individual child is loved as much as
the next and that they are all a family, in the true sense of the word'
From John Hagee Ministries:
A $1,000,000 check was presented to Migdal Ohr, which is a home in
Israel to over 4,000 Jewish children. Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel spoke of
how each individual child is loved as much as the next and that they
are all a family, in the true sense of the word.
John Hagee gives sodomizer Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel a fat check.
A reliable source writes me:
Here's a picture of the bastard getting money from the Christian Right.
Now Migdal Ohr is a fine institution, but this is so painful to see.
I was disgusted by someone's defence [of Sobel]. How primitive is it
to maintain that a serial sodomizer of minors under his care can "do
teshuvah" and be cured enough to be trusted among young sephardic boys
who wouldn't be believed if they complained. And the fact that he had
a string of similar activity in Baltimore years earlier and did teshuva,
as it were, is encouraging. I just wonder if that right wing Christian
leader in the photo I sent you knew that he was shaking hands with a
rapist and molester of boys?
Everyone in Neveh Yehoshua was a high school student, and if you think
about the planning- the sicko sets up a yeshivah in a remote area outside
of Netanya so that he can easily molest boys. As "rosh yeshiva," he
was hanging around the swimming pool with the kids. I can't imagine
a more horrible story, all those shattered kids, and somehow just by
chance he's up north in the remote Migdal Haemek in a little boys school,
and I'm supposed to believe that he's cured of gay pedophilia? That's
Migdal Ohr is a home/school for wayward and underpriviledged boys,
and far from Jerusalem and Feldheim. I don't know what he does, but
even if he has an office job there, he has ready access, and remember,
the way these guys operate is that they use their "holy rabbi" status
as a force and a legitimizer (such was Gafni's approach, and I know
for a fact that it was how Sobel used to work, since his victims were
not gay, but he would transfix them with some religious argument that
it was what God wants, etc (remember, his victims were... classmates
The way the story broke [about Sobel] was fabulous and well known.
He used to come to the US every year to recruit students, he would always
try to be "with it." I remember once he went around quoting some Billy
Joel song. Anyway, he had his driver with him, who was also a student
at the yeshiva who was supposed to also represent the yeshiva. When
in California, a local rabbi gave him use of his house while the rabbi
was away for some family business. Apparently the trip was cut short
and when he returned he found Sobel and his student in a, well, compromising
position. Quickly the story got around, the yeshiva took out ads that
Sobel was no longer there, and relocated to Jerusalem, now Neve Zion.
Rabbi Grossman is a good man. Still, one doesn't have to be a Freudian
to figure out Sobel's enthusiasm for the job, and it doesn't excuse
the way he's been covered for, having done far more bad stuff than Lanner
or Gafni combined. We used to joke that it was because of the Haredi
world's disdain for women, so that if someone spent time with women
he should be punished, but with other yeshiva boys, well that's more
[Sobel] did manage to work his way through that group [sent by Rabbi
Shlomo Riskin]. One of them was running around trying to tell people,
but the kid was not that frum and no one believed him (he has long hair
and the other guy is a Rosh Yeshiva, the people would say). His defender
on your site should be embarrassed. Particularly since it was this kind
of "honor to Rabbis" that covered for him in Baltimore and allowed him
to prey again. I don't know what he's like today, but you know about
the rate of "cure" in these guys. As good as Gafni's is likely to be.
I feel like finally justice may be served. I've been carrying this
sore for a long time. Sobel deserves a page like some of the others,
being worse than all of them. The sheer number of victims and the calculated
depravity is mind boggling. Setting up a yeshiva specifically set up
for his sick needs? Not even Gafni went that far (although he certainly
worked his way through Bayit Chadash, and even there at least they weren't
confused 17 year olds away from home in a foreign country for the first
Never underestimate the power of teshuva! You can't really know if you've
done repentence until you place yourself in the same position where you
"The true lesson is really the reverse: The power of appearing to
do teshuva is that it gives one a vicious opportunity to get back to that
May 23 Article On Gafni
Here's the translation I received of the last paragraph:
One of the complainants told police that Rabbi Gafni wanted me to hit
him and to curse him. He cursed me. He called me a prostitute, a bitch,
and said I was his slave.
Kenneth Hain's Part in Protecting Rabbi Mordechai Gafni
By Survivor of Rabbi Mordechai Gafni, May 23, 2006:
In 1986 soon after I was a victim of Mordechai Gafni's attempted forced
sexual advances, a sixteen-year J.P.S.Y. (Jewish Public School Youth)
girl, Judy, confided in me that Mordechai Winiarz (his name prior to
his name-change to Gafni) had been sexually abusing and threatening
her on several occasions. I realized immediately that I needed to bring
these serious concerns to people who would stand up for what was right
and put an end to his abuse of power and people. I had seen myself what
he was capable of, and I was not going to stand idly by and let him
Among people from whom I sought help and guidance, I turned to Rabbi
Kenneth Hain, the current Rabbi of Beth Sholom in Lawrence, NY, who
had connections with Yeshiva University (which funded JPSY) and who
knew Mordechai personally. I called him to tell him my fears and concerns
regarding the details of the sexual abuse of and threats made by Mordechai
to Judy as well as the experience I had had with Mordechai when he attempted
to seduce me. Rabbi Hain listened to everything and said to me, "You
weren't there, so you don't know if this is true." When I told him the
details of Mordechai's sexual advances towards me as well as his subsequent
threats to me and to Judy once he knew that she and I had spoken, Rabbi
Hain responded, "Sometimes the bigger person is the one who can just
let things go."
Although twenty years have passed, I will never forget his exact words
and how they shocked me. Here was yet another enabler of Mordechai--someone
who had the responsibility to be as courageous as Rabbi Yosef Blau and
at least investigate these allegations and follow-through with a proper
course of action; yet, all Rabbi Hain did was quash me and insist that
I "let things go." Rabbi Blau listened to victims and acted responsibly
to ensure that the many accusations against Mordechai be taken seriously
and that Mordechai not be allowed to continue in his position as leader
Mordechai was eventually ousted from J.P.S.Y. I later heard from reliable
sources that it was Rabbi Kenneth Hain who had furnished Mordechai with
a letter of recommendation that he travelled with. With this reference,
Mordechai fled to Boca Raton, Florida where he managed to dupe the Boca
Raton community into accepting him to serve as rabbi of Boca Raton Synagogue
in Montoya Circle. Well, it wasn't long before scandal befell the community
and allegations of serious sexual improprieties as well as misappropriation
of funds shook the community. Changing his name to Gafni, Mordechai
fled to Israel, and his string of sexual abuse and lies continued--with
support from his enablers--until now, twenty years later—when we finally
heard his "confession."
In 2004, I spoke with another survivor of Mordechai's sexual abuse.
She had been quashed at every attempt to plea for someone to stop him,
but her pleas went unanswered. In The Jewish Week in September 2004,
Gary Rosenblatt quoted Mordechai's acknowledgement of a sexual relationship
with this then thirteen year old girl— (though he claimed it was consensual)
and he STILL succeeded in obtaining support from the enablers mentioned
above while this now young woman cried out that she had been sexually
assaulted by him repeatedly over so many months.…
In addition to Rabbi Kenneth Hain every single person who supported
Mordechai despite the numerous, substantial, and growing allegations--and
quashed victims' experiences --claiming that there had been investigations
that never took place--should be forced to realize the effects of their
actions and inaction.
...Because of these Jewish community leaders' blatant dishonor to the
rabbinate, negligence and inaction-- many women have become victims
of Gafni's sexual abuse. This is a true Chillul Hashem--that supposed
representatives of Judaism who should have cared about victims' claims
and pleas chose not only to shut their ears but to lend support, encouragement
, and financial assistance to the abuser--Gafni. These individuals must
be held accountable for enabling Mordechai to add more victims to his
list . These individuals need to issue public statements of apology
to the survivors whom they ignored and to society at large for endangering
all the people Mordechai Winiarz/Gafni encountered over the past twenty
Why Can't We Have An Open Discussion Of Sexuality?
Larry Yudelson writes:
It has been very interesting this week to see the inherent anti-sex
agenda of various bloggers begin to surface.
"Survivor" invents rumors of BDSM involving Gafni, seemingly out of
thin air. Presumably, the connection is that she doesn't like Gafni,
and she doesn't like BDSM. And Steven I Weiss, who foisted JWB and Luke
Ford on the blogging world, finally reveals why Protocols couldn't play
host to a grown-up conversation on sex and Judaism. He out-and-out conflates
a gay guy making a pass to child molestation and rape.
Here's the truth: Steven Weiss, like the JWB morality goons, are as
scared of sex as is Ismar Schorch. There's no sexual desire which motivates
them to say, hmmm, that's not my speed, but it's interesting; it's a
part of the human experience I'm not familiar with, but am willing to
learn about and discuss.
Ultimately, the literary character known as "Luke Ford" plays a similar
game, ogling the ladies but maintaining a strict pretense of "I'm saving
myself for marriage."
It's all a shame. The Jewish community very badly needs an open discussion
about the interface between halacha and sexuality; given the Conservative
Movement's staunch refusal to confront the topic, the blogosphere seemed
to offer an opportunity to begin thrashing it out. Instead, we have
the same tabloid trash, combining prudery and prurience in a very vile
My Loss Is The Predator's Gain
Over the past three months, I've developed tendonitis aka tennis elbow
on my right arm (I'm right-handed) and the pain shoots up and down my
arm and into the right-side of my back. I understand the only cure is
rest. So I'm learning to use my mouse with my left hand. It takes me forever.
I feel awkward.
So if I'm not much of a conversationalist on IM or via email, I'll trust
Ken Wilber, Mordecai Gafni - Birds of a Feather?
...[A] "Ph.D. minus thesis" is not a Ph.D. simply put, because doing
a doctoral thesis in this country at least, and having it approved (a
practice that goes back hundreds of years) is a verification that you
are able to do original research and have it peer-reviewed, and that
peers in the profession find it original and verify that it does indeed
illuminate something new. It may be where Wilber's life is, but in no
way should he be confused with a Jean Paul Sartre or Jacques Derrida.
Say what you want about their philosophy, but they were philosphers,
who wrote real theses and real research.
Lunch With Mensch
Magazine Publisher Matt Lipeles
I've been acquainted with Matt for about a decade but
only hung out with him at the Israeli Independence Day festival May 7.
We have lunch at a kosher restaurant May 21.
As I set up to wait for him, reading through my Steve Stern book Lazar:
Malkin Enters Heaven, I realize I left my tape recorder at home.
I charge out of the Magic Carpet and up the street where I see a bearded
Matt drive up. After I abuse him ("I told the waiter that if he sees
a hairy ape man walk to tell you to sit down because I'll be right back"),
he gives me a ride home so I can get my recorder.
"How come Emilio Estevez is a nobody when Charlie Sheen is a superstar?"
asks Matt as he parks near Pico Blvd.
"It makes you question the existence of an all-powerful and all-good
God," I reply.
As we sit down, Matt's yakking on his cell phone, wielding his power
in the community.
"You're like Tony Soprano," I say.
Matt admits that he sometimes fantasizes he's Tony Soprano. "I just
wish I could whack people," he muses.
Playa, you can't get in the game unless you're willing to swing the bat.
"Rob Eshman would
be swimming with the fishes," I realize.
We both order the Sephardic choulent.
I have two urgent concerns uppermost on my mind -- the
attributes of fitness model and journalist Neka Hite. This girl is smoking
Ever since I got her business card last Thursday night, I've not been
my high-minded self.
I seek spiritual counsel from Matt. After all, he's the publisher of
Mentsch magazine. And this girl's not even Jewish. I must put her behind
me and Torah before me.
I lay out her business card before Matt and ask for his views. He's astounded.
I assure him that it is OK to be a man and to want manly things. Only
he must control his behavior for the greater good of the Jewish community.
"I don't know how to respond to this business card," I whine.
"I know I'm responding to this the wrong way and I know it is not
what God intended for my life."
Why can't I just respect her as a journalist and not want to look upon
her with my objectifying male gaze?
"Matt, would you hire this girl as an intern for Mentsch? Ever since
I got her business card, I've been thinking about her."
Matt: "The easiest thing to do would be to tear up her business
"This is like the business card for a hooker.
"I don't know if you want to put that comment online."
Luke: "It's out of your mouth."
Matt: "What was going on in her head?
"I don't have interns. Now that I'm publishing this magazine, I
have to particularly watch my behavior and stay away from any scandal."
As I walk Matt back to his car after lunch, he tells me a frustrating
dating story. "I met this Persian girl on Frumster.com. She's traditional.
We met for our first date and we had a terrific time.
"I wasn't sure I could eat anything at her house. I thought I'd
take her miniature golf. It's the single best date especially..."
Matt won't say this but I will: Miniature golfing is a good excuse for
getting your hands on a woman while you show how her to putt.
Matt: "I looked up on Google what was the best miniature golf place
in the city. She liked a certain kind of literature. I bought her a classic
in that genre. I washed my car.
"Having said this, she was not a large-breasted woman. Normally,
that's a deal-breaker for me. If a woman is deficient in that area...but
I really liked her. I decided I would let that go.
"She had wanted to meet some place. I said, 'Don't be ridiculous.
It's far from here. I'll pick you up.'
"I go to pick her up on our second date. Her mom was there. I get
the typical Sephardic interview. I knew I would have to do it anyway.
"Her mom says, 'It's soon for her to be driving in your car.' The
girl was 28.
"I had gone out with Persian girls before. I had never experienced
"The mom said, 'This place you're taking her is too far. It's got
to be right here in Beverly Hills.
"I'm sitting there in her house thinking, 'Is this the way it's
going to be for the rest of my life with your small-breasted daughter
and her mother tells me what to do for the rest of my life? I'm an observant
guy. I probably can't eat your food yet you're telling me I can't take
your daughter in my car? I'm wearing a yarmulke on my head. I'm going
to rape your daughter?'
"That was it.
"I was just in shock.
"It was a Sunday afternoon. We did go to a museum but I was livid
the whole time.
"I had to think about it for a week and then sent her an email saying,
'Sorry, this will not work. It's not you. There's no way I can be in this
Mordecai Gafni's BDSM
Angle - It Was Practiced Against Him
In his latest escapades, Rabbi Gafni was the one who wanted to be tied
up, punished and told he was a bad boy.
Larry Yudelson writes me:
It's odd that your "report" of Gafni BDSM involvement, without actually
quoting anyone. How unlike your usual meticulous self. Are you just
parroting made-up stuff the "JewishSurvivors" blog, designed to turn
the Gafni affair into an opportunity to go after Vicki and Nancy's object
of obsession, Yori ? Or do you have any real source (preferably one
who does not have a track record of delusions)?
I first reported, not Jewish Survivors, that the women who filed reports
on Gafni a couple of weeks ago said that their sex was on the BDSM continuum.
I have a source who's read the depositions.
Then I got and published the clarification about the direction their
power exchange played out, which appears to be on the opposite end of
Rabbi Hershy Worch and
his women. I am not claiming any end of the BDSM spectrum is better or
worse, nor am I claiming that there is anything bad about BDSM, nor am
I linking Worch to Gafni or making any moral comparison between them.
I remember a big practicioner of BDSM, Ira Levine (husband of Nina Hartley),
was getting pushed into Judaism by a major Chabad rabbi in Denver. Ira
was not interested. He tried to blow the rabbi off by saying he was into
BDSM. The rabbi stroked his beard, thought about the matter, and finally
remarked, "BDSM [between a married couple] is not prohibited."
I got emails after my publishing on the BDSM angle of Gafni's latest
fiasco wondering if there was a nefarious link between Gafni and Worch.
There is none that I know of aside from them teaching Torah together a
few weeks ago.
A reliable source writes:
I think you had and have the Gafni story correct from the beginning,
so it’s a shame that detractors might be able to pull one line out of
context against you -- you state that “any woman who could get involved
with Gafni has no one to blame” (not an exact quote, but it's late).
Seducers such as Gafni have a hypnotic power over people that makes
them somewhat not responsible for their actions, and it is unfair to
blame his victims in this way, who he certainly targeted and seduced
with all his strengths. This line makes you seem callous and not understanding
of sexual offenders; it would be in your benefit to strike it and thus
keep your focus on the true criminal, not the victims. And one accusation
was of rape, which is generally non-consensual…
There are people who have been keeping files on Gafni/Winiarcz since
the early 80s; for example, the Orthodox Union did a cover story on
him for one of their newsletters, and it had this great quote attributed
to him about there not being any non-Orthodox Jews, only not-yet Orthodox
Jews, which whether or not one cares for the sentiment, was a direct
(and well known) act of plagiarism from Rabbi Riskin, which was who
he used to steal from before becoming a New Age Carlebach/Schachter-Shelomi
rip off. People have collections of these kinds of things, which were
pretty frequent and at the time amusing for being pathetic.
Incidentally, Ken Wilber mentions a "PhD thesis", though Gafni's only
formal degree is from Thomas Edison College, a diploma-for-cash mail-in
racket. [Luke: I've confirmed that Gafni received an MA from Bar Ilan
We all have a betting pool on how he will reinvent himself now. Born
again Fundamentalist Christian? Hindu/Buddhist meditation yogi? Lubavitch?
Satmar Chassid? He's fun to watch (unless you are one of his victims).
People were called in to try to dissuade his poor third wife from
marrying him. She too was quite the victim, only 23 at the time (while
he was publically giving a younger age for himself; he is 45-46 now),
he took a ride on her attempted English degree at Oxford and turned
it into his own "graduate studies," while ultimately she was unable
to finish and had to sneak her stuff out of Israel to not create a scandal
for him at the time of their divorce (which was prior to the 2004 Maariv
article, so he was lying about their non-separation at the time).
The guy has been a snake oil salesman since high school, but the rabbinical
types seemed to love a "young, dynamic mover" and the New Agers loved
this "deep thinker".
There's not an original line in his book Soul Prints.
But how come you have nothing on the worst offender of all time, Rabbi
Zion Sobel, who convinced Itri Yeshiva to open a yeshiva for wayward
American students for him in Neve Yehoshua, which he famously used to
serially sodomize perhaps 30 or more victims? Then it turned out he
had done it before in Baltimore as well, but since he was a "rosh yeshiva"
they couldn't just leave him without a job, so they gave him a cushy
position at Feldheim Publications where he still works, apparently,
while many of his victims, who were not gay (shows you the power of
seduction) had to be institutionalized when the story broke. The yeshiva
did renounce him and reopen as Neve Zion in Jerusalem.
The guy they found him cuddling with was his driver.
That's all he got on your pages? He's done far more damage than Gafni,
and was more protected by the system. If he indeed is working in a boy's
yeshiva among underpriviledged youth, well, that's like the move Chinatown
or Gary Glitter's removing himself from the music scene to move to Southeast
[Before Rabbi Baruch Lanner got busted] NCSY [had] the operative standard
"make the girls fall in love with you so that they'll become religious."
I stay far away from these charismatic types. It's sad to see how
easily people set themselves up for victimization.
first published about Ben Zion Sobel on October 24, 2004 on Protocols:
Here's another shady rabbi from Ner Israel in Baltimore -- Ben Zion
Sobel. He ran a yeshiva Neve Zion in Israel. He quietly and quickly
left in 1987 after a scandal between him and some of his male students.
I've heard of at least one suicide following this and other yeshiva
bochers giving up on Judaism.
There's a link between Sobel and Matis Weinberg that goes back 30 years.
Sobel is charismatic and strong-willed. He's convinced people over the
years that he's a big Torah scholar and beyond reproach.
I believe that Sobel is working in book editing. One of the big book
publishers [Feldheim Publications] hired him.
He's tried to get out of the book business and to get back into teaching
boys. He says he's rehabilitated.
can sign up for parsha lessons from R. Ben Zion Sobel.
Un-Orthodox Jew writes:
Telz-Stone was his first stop in Israel. When the allegations started
over again...he started another yeshiva elsewhere. Finally, Rav Shach
and R' Elya Svei got a hold of him and threatened him with police involvement
unless he left chinuch. He is now working in a bookstore.
got an email forwarded to me about Sobel in early 2006:
There is a piece [Luke's piece on Protocols] about Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel
which has very little truth to it. I happen to know the man personally.
He has absolutely no links to Mattis Weinberg, whatsoever, and never
did. He does not even come from Baltimore. No one committed suicide
because of him. He never claimed to be beyond reproach, although he
is a big Torah scholar who has given sacrificially to help hundreds
- perhaps thousands - of students around the world.
It is to his credit that he left quietly and quickly in 1985 because
of his unfortunate problem. He immediately went into intense therapy
and spent thousands of dollars for treatments.
After about half a year, his doctor signed a document for the Bidatz,
saying that he was cured. He then underwent a very intense teshuvah
process, asigned to him by the greatest Rabbis and Mekubalim of the
generation (I think he's still involved in teshuvah things like fasting
and the like).
It has been 20 years since then and I know that he is being watched
very carefully. If he had done anything wrong since then, we would surely
know about it. Although he has been given written permission from the
Bidatz and other great Rabbis to return to teaching, he has not yet
done so. He wants to be 1000% sure that he is not a hazard for anyone.
I don't think it is fair to him or his family to publicize now, 20
years after the scandal, what happened then - especially using wrong
information. He poses no threat to anyone and he and they have suffered
enough for his mistakes.
The Torah commands us to accept the ba'al teshuvah (see Rambam, Hilchos
Talmud Torah 4,1) and without teshuvah we all are lost. I believe that
that when a Jew has a problem, it is very easy to just kill him and
rid the world of the problem. But the Torah wants us to help that person
overcome his problem and continue to live and benefit the world with
his good qualities.
Sometimes publicity is beneficial, but in this case, at this point,
I think it is wrong. Whenever people search for his name on Google (he
writes very inspiring Torah on the Net and many people are benefiting
from him in this, safe way), some degrading lines from Protocols pop
up and stare them in the face.
I call another source who believes that Rabbi Sobel has done teshuva
(repentence). "What do you do with a guy who's smart, talented and
believes he should not be near kids? Feldheim is a private publisher.
They stuck him in a room and made him an editor. Does Rabbi Sobel have
a right to support his family? Would it be better for him to be a cab
driver picking people up at random?
"Years ago, Aish HaTorah hired him to do research. He wasn't teaching
Israel's 'Disco Rabbi' brings meals, hope to children
Charity work helps some 6,000 immigrants and orphans find a life outside
crime, drugs, and alcohol.
Thomas writes for the Christian Science Monitor Nov 23, 2005:
...It's not all smooth sailing for Migdal Ohr. Recent budget cuts have
led to a cut in government financing of the charity to the tune of $4
million per year.
"We receive financing from a number of government departments," explains
Rabbi Ben-Zion Sobel, executive director of Rabbi Grossman's Jerusalem
office, "from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Welfare, and
others. So we were on everyone's list when the budget cuts came through.
We were afraid to answer the phone, and every letter began 'We regret
to inform you.'"
The result is that Migdal Ohr, whose annual operating costs are roughly
$25 million, is relying more heavily than ever on its supporters around
"But because of the crisis in the Israeli economy, more and more families
are sinking below the poverty line, and are turning to Migdal Ohr for
help. And 'no' isn't a word in Rabbi Grossman's vocabulary," says Rabbi
Sobel. "He told me 'If I don't take these kids, they'll end up on the
streets.' So on one hand, our financing's been cut, and on the other,
we've just taken in 700 more needy kids."
Grossman is, as ever, undaunted. "As soon as I finish one project,
God gives me another one," he laughs. "The problems never stop, so the
answers never stop.... But this is my raison d'être - to keep children
from the streets."
Rabbi Grossman and Rabbi Sobel used bad judgment in having Rabbi Sobel
speak to the press. If Rabbi Sobel is living an honorable life, that's
great, but he should not be speaking to the media (unless he's OK with
getting heat for his previous bad behavior), and he particularly should
not be speaking publicly on behalf of an organization for children. He
just makes himself, his superiors, and his organization look bad.
Rabbi Grossman saw Rabbi Sobel davening at a shul with incredible fervor,
tears streaming down his face. Rabbi G. walked over and introduced himself
at the conclusion of the prayers and asked Rabbi S., "Why are you
praying like this?" Rabbi Sobel then told him the whole story and
that he's trying to do teshuva.
Rabbi G. took him to various places for rehabilitation and gave him a
job away from kids.
A reliable source says: "Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel is not the all-time
worst rabbi-predator. It's Rabbi
"He called himself a rabbi and a psychologist. He'd speak at highschools.
He was a cool hip outgoing rabbi before kiruv (outreach) became a household
name. This guy was going out there in the trenches and working with kids
no one else was working with. Apparently he was working them to his own
"He told this yeshiva high school that Judaism said masturbation
was absolutely fine, which is weird as almost no Orthodox rabbi will say
that and the Torah has traditionally been interpreted as condemning masturbation.
"When Rabbi Mondrowitz worked a room, he knew right away which kids
he should go after -- the kids who were lonely, he befriended them.
"Rabbi Mondrowitz worked with the orphanage Ohel in Brooklyn. He
was counseling for them. Eventually there were charges brought against
him and about 20 years he ran away from America to Israel. When he got
to Israel, signs went up all over the place warning people against him.
There were counter-protests that the charges were not true. That you should
not spread gossip. And Rabbi Mondrowitz settled down to a nice life in
Israel. He can't go back to America without facing arrest.
"When Rabbi Ben Zion Sobel left Neve Yehoshua, the case was brought
to Rabbi Shach. The official announcement was that Rabbi Sobel embezzled
money, because that was a respectable Jewish sin.
"Rabbi Sobel at Neve Yehoshua had an office door that locked. If
a kid walked in, the door automatically locked behind him. Rabbi Sobel
would tell the kid to lie down on his couch and close his eyes. Rabbi
Sobel would say to him, 'I know it is very hard to be a yeshiva bochur
[student]. It's hard to grow. What difficulties are you having?'
"The kids would often say, 'Being away from girls is very hard.'
Rabbi Sobel would say, 'I'll give you strength to deal with it,' and put
his hands on the kid's crotch and help him.
"Rabbi Sobel would get them in a vulnerable state and do what he
Rabbi Sobel apparently still teaches classes (at least as of 2001):
Date: Sun Mar 11, 2001 10:40 pm
Subject: Parsha Shavuah Shiur with HaRav Ben Zion Sobel
Pnei Shmuel is pleased to announce the popular, topical Shiur by HaRav
Ben Zion Sobel, Shlitah Tonight, Monday night at 8:15 pm. At Pnei Shmuel
Nachal Refaim 21/1, Ramat Beit Shemesh. The Rav comes to Ramat Beit
Shemesh especially from Ramot, Yerushalayim to enlighten us with deeper
insights and understanding of the Parsha Shavuah, including aspects
of Hashkofa and Mussar. For details, contact Yechiel Lewis at 9994938