Marc Gafni writes this introduction to my transcript of our dialogue:

What happens when two mortal enemies meet?

For several years Luke Ford, known to Gafni from the Internet as a former gossip columnist for the pornography industry and a tabloid blogger, attacked Marc Gafni on his blog. Ford has written what he referred to as a "long rambling essay" on Gafni in which he reprinted all manner of accusations against Gafni which were not true. Ford however did not view his job as verifying the accusations; at the time his policy was simply to write what people told him. Gafni and his circle viewed Ford's work as nothing short of vile and reprehensible. The thought that either of them would ever have a conversation was beyond imagination in the reality of this world. When Marc Gafni's new website appeared Ford send Gafni what seemed to be a perfunctory letter saying, I would love to interview you. Gafni, called Ford and invited him to come the very next day on a six thirty flight to Salt Lake City. Ford was on the plane the next morning. The following is a rought transcript of their interview. Although there are no new factual revelations beyond what appears on Gafni's website and the Catalyst article; the very fact that this meeting took place, at the Catalyst Office in Salt Lake, is nothing short of miraculous.
The day was tense, and filled with complexity and compelling human drama.
Over time, in a series of conversations with Ford, Gafni realized Ford was a far more complex and significant  person then he initially believed. Ford, after doing extensive research of private primary material and extensive interview also significantly shifted and evolved his understanding of Gafni

Like always a transcription of an oral dialogue does not read like an esay. It is missing the expressions, flavor and mood of the conversation. Moreover there are half sentences and unfinished thoughts.

Levi Ford and Rabbi Marc have sinced engaged in more dialogue and they  are planning several more to come over the course of this year God willing.

July 3, 2008:

Luke: "We're rolling."

Marc: "Welcome to Salt Lake City, Luke Ford."

Luke: "Thank you."

Marc: "It was nice hanging out for a couple of hours."

Luke: "Yes."

Marc: "Two guys with yarmulkes in Salt Lake City."

Luke: "Yes."

Marc: "What's wrong with this picture?

"So, maybe a couple of things before we start. We made a series of agreements before we started. I'm actually not going to repeat what those agreements are because we are doing it on trust. We're creating what I think we called a circle of integrity, which, by the way, is not in my book Soul Prints.

"We just have to establish one thing before we get started: I want to share with our listeners that Luke made a comment on his blog a couple of years ago that Soul Prints was worthless. But your girlfriend liked it?"

Luke: "My girlfriend said it was the best book on Judaism she'd ever read."

Marc: "Ohmigod, did you break up because of that?"

Luke: "No, this was after we broke up."

Marc: "Now we have the real source of Luke Ford going after Marc Gafni. His girlfriend liked Soul Prints. She thought it was the best book on Judaism she ever read and he didn't."

Luke: "Exactly."

Marc: "The reason I'm having this conversation with you, we decided we'd interview each other, is to really do what nobody ever does -- talk to the other side who you feel is totally discredited, totally unethical, the worst version of tabloid internet... Everything I don't believe in."

Luke: "Right."

Marc: "You emailed me, 'Could I interview you?' All the advice around me was, 'Why would you possibly do that?'"

Luke: "Did anyone tell you to do it?"

Marc: "Not a lot of people."

Luke: "Did anyone say, 'That's a good idea'?"

Marc: "There was no one who said, 'That's a good idea.' Sorry.

"I'm really trying to go with my heart here. And my heart was two things: A. Because you're the person online who's created a lot of the negative record, let's talk it through. B. Everyone says you'll distort everything I say. C. I have this belief that everybody, no matter how complex they are,  has a point of integrity we can talk to. And I believe that's true about me and I believe that's true about you. I'm talking now to Luke Ford the Angel. I'm talking to the Luke Ford of radical integrity. I'm talking to the Luke Ford who I can completely trust. That's what I'm doing here."

"Let's talk a little bit about what we talked about this morning. Who are you? Who is Luke Ford? Let me try to explain the question and I'll give it completely over to you. You're a little bit of a paradox and an enigma. We just had a nice breakfast in Salt Lake City. And we had a lovely waitress named Lindsay. Wholesome. Beautiful energy. She's sweet. And you just fell in love with her."

Luke: "Totally. I fell in love with Lindsay. I'm a fool for love."

Marc: "She's this wholesome... On the other hand, there's LukeFord.com, hardcore pornography. Right?"

Luke: "Is there a contradiction here?"

Marc: "Thank you for helping me with that question. What makes you run? On the one hand, there's this soft appreciation of a woman who's clearly a woman with integrity. Wholesome. You could feel her values, feel her goodness. She didn't have her sexuality protruding. She had her dignity. A feminine beauty in its most wondrous dignified form. You had this appreciation for that. I saw it on your face. I offered to perform the marriage. Did we agree on that?"

Luke: "Oh yeah. Shaking hands. Wish we had this on video."

Marc: "When Luke Ford gets married, Rabbi Gafni will marry you.

"At the same time, you're a gossip columnist or were, correct me if I'm wrong, for the pornography industry. At least in the way you're quoted online you say things like, true or not true, I'm going to put anything out there and see what sticks. Slander is obviously a big Jewish deal. Thirty nine times. That doesn't seem to stop you so quickly. You said something in the car that was helpful from some [TV show] that everyone has their own code."

Luke: "Omar in The Wire makes his living from holding up drug dealers. When the defense attorney in court gives him a hard time, he says, 'I never touch a citizen. The reason? Everyone has got to have a code.'"

Marc: "Meaning that you have your own complex code."

Luke: "Meaning that everybody has a code. Even Hitler had a code."

Marc: "What was the Hitler movie you mentioned?"

Luke: "[The Downfall] was a great movie on Hitler that came out [in 2004]. He was a protagonist. It was his last week of life in the bunker. And he was a sympathetic protagonist.

"My point is that everybody has a code. Everybody thinks certain things are right and certain things are wrong. Hitler thought that killing Jews was right."

Marc: "Right. So what's your code?

:"You understand why I would ask you about this contradiction."

Luke: "Hhhmm."

Marc: "Let me ask you this simple question. Angelina Jolie, I happened to read this in Vanity Fair. She has a different energy from Lindsay. Angelina Jolie says that 95% of what's written about Brad and I in the tabloids is absolutely false. I'd say that 95% of your long blurb on me -- I read it once two years ago -- is absolutely false. Let's put Gafni aside. You must know that a lot of what you say about people you haven't really checked. You don't have time to check. You don't have a resource fact-checking thing.

"You take Judaism seriously. You're sitting here in a yarmulke and tzitzit. You made a blessing over your food. With your permission, I can describe you?"

Luke: "Yeah."

Marc: "You're wearing a beard. I was surprised. You told me you read an article by Meir Soloveitchik in Commentary about the Jewish significance of the beard.

"Those are pretty strong positions there. And yet... You may be mis-cited, correct me, I don't want to say anything that's not right, but you're cited playing fast and loose with the truth about a lot of people online. People say about you online that the man just thrives for negative attention. So how do those two fit together? What's the code? What's the internal system?"

Luke: "First, when someone converts to anything, including Judaism, they bring everything that they are, all their baggage, to the mix. Let's say that Judaism is G-d's will for the Jewish people. Even someone who's dedicated to doing God's will for the Jewish people, if they are a deeply flawed person, both morally and psychologically, God's will is going to be poured through a very faulty vessel.

"So I believe that Judaism is God's will for the Jewish people, but my Judaism is still poured through my very flawed vessel. I am narcissistic. I do have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I had that before I became interested in Judaism and I have that now when I am interested in Judaism. My Judaism gets poured through my flawed vessel."

Marc: "That's a beautiful projection. Can I play with that?"

Luke: "Go ahead."

Marc: "I want to play with that idea. Whatever happens after this and whatever happened before, this space is sacred for me. I'm talking not to the person I've heard about, not to the person who's written online, I'm talking only to the person in front of me. I've enjoyed our conversations for the last two hours. I see you have a sense of ideas. I want to play with ideas here.

"One of my rules for this interview is that I'm going to slander no one. I'm going to attack no one. I'm going to try to go deep with you about ideas and what life's about. We can talk about me. We can talk about you. You can ask questions.

"You just talked about a gorgeous idea. You said everyone has flaws. You seem to have a very high level of contradiction, but whatever...

"You're saying that the will of God, or the light if you will, is refracted through the prism of the vessel. If the vessel is flawed, then the light is going to come out in a flawed way. I think that's a stunningly brilliant perception. One of the ways people call that these days is called states and stages. Let's say you have three stages of moral consciousness -- (1) egocentric (it's all about me), (2) ethnocentric (my people), and (3) worldcentric (everybody). Kohlberger's moral stages.

"Your state comes and goes. If I have a beautiful mystical state experience but I'm at an ethnocentric level of consciousness, that's my vessel, ethnocentric... Let's say I'm a shaman but I'm ethnocentric. It's just my people. So I'll say, 'Wow, I just had a beautiful mystic state experience, let's go slaughter the next tribe.' My stage of consciousness is ethnocentric. That's the vessel.

"Who you are is the prism through which the light is refracted. That's a beautiful idea by itself. You can be really great on the meditation mat but you may have a terrible shadow that you haven't integrated. If it is a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is an example you gave, that's going to come through. That's a powerful perception.

"It means that we need to do two different types of work in the world because we're all imperfect vessels for the light. One kind of work we have to do is our states. We have to get to deep understanding intellect spiritual states. We also have to work on ourselves spiritually, ethically and psychologically. You can be psychologically completely messed up even though you're having beautiful state experiences.

"That's a gorgeous perception. So I appreciate that.

"So basically there's a deep unresolved contradiction in you.

"The analogy to the movie, I don't mean to compare you to Hitler, there's no analogy between you and Hitler, no, it's not cool, but in other words, the idea is that a guy likes puppies on the one hand and on the other hand he's gassing Jews. You're talking about that level of deep and profound contradiction."

Luke: "And I like puppies."

Marc: "But you don't gas Jews."

Luke: "But I don't gas Jews."

Marc: "But you do bad s--- on the web."

Luke: "At least not on Thursdays. Thursday is a total gas-free day."

Marc: "That's good to hear.

"I just want to tell you Luke, that all this talk about me sexually harassing, I'm really just into barnyard animals. I'm also responsible for global warming. It's me. And I've got something to do with famine in Africa.

"But can you not disperse this tape too big? It's just kinda between us?"

Luke: "Your secret is safe with me."

Marc: "Secret safe with Luke Ford? People listening, how safe would that make you feel?

"Let's go to step two. The second thing we talked about today was the natural division we had talking in the car about when we were talking to Morgan..."

Luke: "When we were buying you your first digital tape recorder."

Marc: "Luke has pointed out that 99% of the world is ahead of me in high tech. And I'm a bad driver. But you're also a bad driver."

Luke: "Yes."

Marc: "So we're talking to Morgan and we had this conversation: Are people basically good or are people basically bad stuff? My basic position is that people often act out of narrow self-interest but at their deepest place, people are ultimately good. At their deepest place, people are gorgeous. Are beautiful."

I pick up Marc's Blackberry (so he doesn't run over it) and put it on a desk.

Luke: "I'm concerned you'll run over your phone with your chair."

Marc: "That's your goodness coming out. That was purely altruistic. You had no reason to tell me that. That was goodness. You were taking care of me in that moment. And I appreciate it. Yo!

"My basic feeling is that ultimately people at their core love other people. People at their core want to be good. People at their core are good. People at their core feel better when they're living meaningful lives. People at their core are what we call in Judaism homo imitatio dei (imitate God), well, that's Latin. Bzelem Elohim (in God's image). They're what Dante called babyfaced divines. People are beautiful, they're loving. People are devastated when they're betrayed because it is a violation of something essential and beautiful in the human being.  people feel most alive and most aligned with the universe, with the divinity, when they're actually expressing their basic good nature. That's the Gafni position."

Luke: "That's why I hated Soul Prints."

Marc laughs. "Now we're getting to it."

Luke: "That's why I hate some of your teachings."

Marc: "OK, good!"

Luke: "The first two statements you made that people are basically good and that when they are at their deepest place that  they're good and loving, they're not falsifiable assertions. It's a feeling that you have. It's like someone who says, 'I feel Jesus is Lord.'"

A woman brings in cold drinks.

Marc: "This is another example of natural goodness. Someone just brought us a beautiful drink. Did you do this for an ulterior motive or just to be good?"

Luke: "Mine's poisoned."

Woman: "I'm a natural hostess."

Marc: "So give me your position. Now we're finally understanding why you didn't like Soul Prints. But why didn't you like the girlfriend?"

Luke: "Because she was into this kabbalistic nonsense."

Marc: "Now we're getting to the core."

"Can we just drink to whatever is good in her?"

We do.

Luke: "I'm more of an empiricist. I would argue that human beings tend towards moral depravity unless there's something special going on in their life to point them towards the transcendent. The empirical basis for my belief is human history, say the twentieth century, when tens of millions of innocent people were murdered.

"Every army in the world when it can, rapes on mass, except Israel and maybe America. I'd argue to you that all men, unless they're extremely good or timid, are rapists and they only reason they don't is not because in a deep place they're good, but because they're afraid of being caught."

Marc: "That sounds like Dennis Prager to me."

I agree.

Marc: "Let me try to unpack that and try to get to a deeper place here.

"When I say that all people in their deepest place are good, I'm not saying that all people are naturally good. I'm not saying that a person's default position is goodness. A person's default position is not goodness. That's clear. That would be idiocy to suggest otherwise. The default position of a person is, as the Torah says, 'evil from his youth.'

"However, there's a second level when they're basically acting out of narrow self-interest, but society constrains them.

"Then there's a third level when they've done work, they've done spiritual practice. They're trained and refined their deepest self, for what Rav Kook calls their essential self. That third level is what I'm talking about.

"I'm not sure we disagree. At the surface level, I agree with you. One hundred million people killed. I'm not suggesting a naive position. If you can speak to a person's deepest self... We now have records of how the Nazi guards felt in the camps, they were devastated."

Luke: "They weren't happy?"

Marc: "Dennis Prager likes to cite the movie from Woody Allen, [Crimes and Misdemeanors]."

Luke: "God has eyes."

Marc: "The good brother, the rabbi, goes blind, and the bad brother who's having an affair gets away with murder. Dennis cites that as an example that people are fine doing evil. I think that's profoundly not right. People feel profoundly devastated when they do evil, people don't sleep well when they do evil, unless the person is a sociopath or a psychopath, which I think we'd agree that most of the world is not. People are devastated when they violate their integrity.

"Yes, a person's weakness will create a default position, which you described. The default evil human being. Level one.

"Level two, the person constrained by the laws of society. But level three, ohmigod, people are beautiful, Luke.

"At their deepest, people are beautiful, are gorgeous.

"There's a great statement by Rabbi Kook when he says...that the essence of who I am is revealed at my moment of greatness.

"Here's how I would say it to you: You Luke look for a person at their moment of flaw. You look for a person when they've messed up and you want to freeze-frame on the flaw. And you're always going to find that because everyone's flawed.

"I freeze-frame on a person's moment of beauty. Not because I'm naive. It's not because I ignore the flaw but because I think the essence of a person is their gorgeousness. The essence of Luke Ford I believe is you at that moment looking at Lindsay. You weren't looking at her as an object. You weren't looking at her as someone to conquer. You weren't looking at her with pornographic eyes. You were seeing her beauty. I literally saw it. I wish we were on film then. Your whole face got softer. You could feel your heart opening. You were perceiving her beautiful divinity. Ohmigod.

"What were you gaining from that? Nothing. Nothing. You were just in Godspace. If you were to ask me who Luke Ford really is, it's Luke Ford at that moment. All that other stuff you do, work it out! Work it out!

"Respond. Tell me where I'm off. Have I created some resolution here?"

Luke: "You gave your position. I gave mine."

Marc: "Next question here. I gave you this morning my psychologization of Luke Ford. Do I have your permission to repeat it? One of our rules is no surprises."

Luke: "Go for it."

Marc: "To reduce a person to somebody else's analysis is not fair. I'm sure your infinitely more complex than this. But this is just a moment. So, with your permission..."

Luke: "Go for it."

Marc: "When I say with your permission, it's a real question. Anything you tell me you don't want to talk about, I'll stay away from.

"So what I said to Luke this morning as we were having breakfast at this great restaurant, the Oasis restaurant, where I left my credit card, in Salt Lake City.

"My sense was that Luke that somebody in your life disappointed you big time. And that this person was an authority figure, it was a mum, it was a dad, it was an uncle or a minister, I don't know your life, big time, that this person was somehow an Elmer Gantry figure, and you realized that the person was not only flawed but profoundly hypocritical, profoundly fake, and you can almost feel your rage at this person, and you have this life mission to show that all these people who seem so elegant and beautiful that underneath they have clay feet. Part of your moral code, if you will, you have a moral mission to expose those clay feet. Is that accurate?"

Luke: "Yeah. I think there's a lot of accuracy to that."

Marc: "I want to throw a question at that. I agree... I just remembered. I haven't thought about this in a long time. There's a verse by King Solomon that there's no righteous person who does good and doesn't sin. I completely agree with you that there's no person in the world that doesn't have some clay feet. That include you and me and every person listening to this dialogue. People have clay feet. That's human complexity. The question is, what does that mean about people? Does that mean people are basically bad or that they are basically complex? Does that make me hate people or does that make me love people in their complexity?

"In other words, to a certain sense, you've established an empirical data. You're an empiricist you said this morning if I'm quoting you correctly and your empirical data is right -- in other words, everyone in the world is complex. I think I cited this morning, Rabbi Aryeh Levine, who's this great righteous figure, who says  in his ethical will on his deathbed that the only thing  that he has to atone for  is the sin  of semen emission. Even this righteous person had a part of his life that I don't want to call sinful, that's not my point, but that's not in control. The idea of the righteous rabbi, a righteous figure who claims I am righteous, I am perfected, I am enlightened, I am there, is bullsit. It's just not true. Everybody is complex. Everybody is flawed.

"I have with me Soul Prints."

Luke: "My favorite book."

Marc: "Your favorite book. I'm thinking of inscribing it to you and giving you a copy.

"It's a shame we don't have a video, right?

"I write in the beginning of Soul Prints  in my own  self-description  I write,  I don't know if you've ever read this or not read it, but I write in it some place  that in his own self-description Gafni calls himself a flawed human being  who's forever striving. So, that's my self-description. That I'm a flawed human being, for sure, who's forever striving.

"I can't resist a parenthesis here with your permission. I don't know if it's you or someone else, someone keeps writing online it comes up when my name comes, that he's changed his name from Winiarz to Gafni and he's hiding.

"Of course it's the most ridiculous thing in the world. In all of my books, it says 'Born Marc Winiarz.' I'm reading from Soul Prints from page 318: 'Born Marc Winiarz, he adopted the Hebrew name Gafni upon taking up residence in Israel 12 years ago as a symbol of identification with the spirit of, etc etc...'

:"So actually my name was Winiarz. All my books establish that as my name.

"Nothing hidden here.

"I think that for a little time in my twenties my secretary spelled my name Winyiarz. It's easier to pronounce. But actually, nothing hidden, nothing nefarious. Just when people go to Israel, they obviously Hebraize their name. Many people did as I did. It's published in all my books, all my lectures.

"I couldn't resist that little parenthesis.

"We're getting a little smile here from Luke. Too bad it's not on video."

Luke: "We should have this on video."

Marc: "We'll get the next one on video."

"So back to our thing here. OK, let me throw it over to you. That's what we're talking about here."

Luke: "Right. I don't have any response. I wasn't sure if there was a question?"

Marc: "I didn't sleep well last night. Are you tired? You got up really early."

Luke: "I didn't sleep last night."

We wander in our conversation and resume focus on my propensity to write about what is flawed in people.

Luke: "It's a symptom of the craft. One thousand airplanes landing safely in Salt Lake City today is not news. One plane that crashes in Bangladesh killing 85 people is news. If I had a choice between writing about 10,000 airplanes that landed safely and the one airplane that crashed, I'd prefer to write about the one airplane that crashed."

Marc: "To translate that, if I had a choice between writing about the 98% that may be good in a person or the 2% that's flawed, the news is the bit that is flawed. The 98% that they did well, that's not news?"

Luke: "That's not news."

Marc: "Let me go with that for a second. So let's take Bill Clinton. So Bill Clinton has been on the campaign trail with Hillary. One of the things that I thought was so unfair to him... He must have done hundreds, thousand of stump speeches. He's done each one flawlessly. He's working day and night. He's had quadruple bypass surgery. He's helped his wife. Someone sticks a camera in his face at some point..."

Luke: "And he loses his temper."

Marc: "It's on YouTube and all of a sudden the entire campaign is about this one mistake Bill Clinton made. All the good he did on the campaign trail, all the decency and the caring, was wiped out in a moment of YouTube. To me that's a violation. To me that's a distortion of reality. To me that's a violation of, to use your term, of empiricism, of what is empirically true. What's actually true is that Bill Clinton was decent, caring, compassionate, he was out there on the campaign trail doing a great job, holding a really level head, exhausted, and once he slipped.

"Here's a question for you: Could I take one Luke Ford sexual mistake which you can tell me about today, but no, we're not asking personal questions, sorry, sorry, sorry, right, and blow it out and say that is who Luke Ford is. Of course I could?"

Luke: "I have found as a journalist that politicians are about the most vapid group of people. I have not been following Bill Clinton on the campaign trail. I've seen the same news but I've not been following it carefully. I have not been thinking about it, but it is entirely possible to me that that angry three minute rant may be the most significant three minutes of his time on the campaign trail. Everything Bill Clinton has said that I've seen has been vapid."

Marc: "I accept the emendation. I don't know politicians. I don't even have an opinion."

Part Two

Marc: "Luke, you made this emendation about politicians, which I said I have no knowledge about.

"Let me move away from the particular political issue, and talk about the person.

"Let me repeat what you said as active listening.

"You said a thousand planes landing safely is not news. The plane that crashes is news.

"The thousand planes that land safely depend on thousands of people to do their job with integrity. That is news. It's only when news is driven by ratings, when news ceases to become news, as Dennis Prager pointed out, it's not about what's new, it's about selling ads and appealing to people's lowest instincts. For example, a famine in Biafra gets lower ratings than O.J. Simpson being chased by police because news is driven by what you called the lowest common denominator of humanity.

"You're not acting in describing reality. You're letting yourself be driven by the lowest common denominator in humanity. Remember the coliseum in Rome where people are fed to the lions?

"Does that give you an image? Maybe the blogosphere is where people are fed to the lions? We try to find what's flawed in a person. Sure, not true. Doesn't really matter. As long as we can hook it on something. Then we kinda create a tabloid Roman coliseum run by the lowest human instincts?

"Why would you Luke Ford, an intelligent refined man who can fall in love with the waitress, let yourself be determined and controlled by this lowest human instinct?"

Luke: "Let me respond."

Marc: "Please. I see you writing there. I get nervous."

Luke: "I never said anything about the lowest common denominator."

Marc: "Correct me. That was my phrase."

Luke: "When you condemn news driven by ratings, lets unpack that, to use a Gafniism."

Marc: "Nice phrase. You've been reading Soul Prints."

Luke: "Another word for ratings is reality. When we say high ratings, we mean news that people want to read or watch on TV. Even more than that, it's news that advertisers will pay to advertise on because there will be enough readers or viewers to reward them.

"In other words, we are talking about news that sustains itself. We're talking about news that people are willing to pay for with either their time or attention.

"Saying that a newscast or newspaper or blog has high ratings, that's the same as saying that that business is profitable.

"Now, a lot of people want to buy pornography and drugs and buy bad things, but a lot of people also want to buy good things. So the fact that a lot of people want something is not necessarily indicative that we're dealing with the lowest common denominator.

"We have so little spare time, I see nothing wrong with someone wanting to spend 30 seconds on the plane that crashed rather than 30 seconds on the people who insure that planes don't crash."

We talk about human nature.

Luke: "The natural man is a rapist."

Marc: "The natural viewer wants to be titillated. The natural viewer wants to be entertained by drugs and violence. Dennis Prager -- who you've talked about as someone you believe in a lot in terms of his teaching -- wrote that he quit his TV show because the highest rating show..."

Luke: "Was the lingerie show."

Marc: "Here he is doing all these deep complex issues and here he had five people in lingerie and that got the highest ratings, and he was so disgusted by it, he quit national TV."

[LF: Dennis Prager did not quit his national TV show. His show was canceled for low ratings.]

"It is easier to look at five beautiful women in lingerie than to talk about the 50 million people who don't have health insurance."

Luke: "I'd rather look at five women in lingerie than..."

Marc: "But what I'd rather do, and I think you would also, that's what I'm challenging you on and you can push back as I'm sure you will, you're not known to be shy, but I say that talking about the 50 million people who are suffering because they don't have health insurance and trying to come up with a solution so there will be more compassion and more goodness in the world is on a deeper level more satisfying than looking at the five women in lingerie.

"Now they are different satisfactions. They both have validity. Aesthetic beauty is beautiful, but ultimately, I apologize to referring to that book 'Soul Prints' again."

Luke: "I hated that book."

Marc: "There's an idea that we talked about there called 'aftertaste.' Aftertaste means,  exactly what it means. I eat junk food, great experience, bad aftertaste. I eat great food, really good aftertaste. Bad sex may be good during sex, bad aftertaste. Beautiful loving sex, or beautiful erotic wild sex but with the right container, great aftertaste.

"So the question is: Five women in lingerie on Prager's TV show, whatever, nice moment. But if you actually spend an hour developing creative solutions to get 50 million people to be covered under health insurance, children to get treatment for leukemia, parents who aren't going to die and have their kids become orphans, if you work on that, you're aftertaste is fabulous. My God, I've done this incredibly valuable thing.

"I guess I'm asking you a rabbi question. But not asking you as a rabbi. I've given up on a being a formal artist. I'm more of a spiritual artist and a friend for these three hours. Wouldn't you rather spend your life doing something that will give you a great aftertaste? Isn't that a fair question?"

Luke: "There are things that are more important to me than aftertaste.

"I'll give you an empirical example. I was immersed in the bowels of the pornography industry for about 12 years. The pornography industry is what people who know nothing about the pornography industry think it is. It is a low scummy place.

"I broke a story about a guy who had HIV and who was transmitting HIV to a lot of other people.

"This was a very dirty story. This was about deviant forms of sex and deception and prostitution. Everything about this story was yucky. I can't reveal tell the story in polite company because the details are revolting.

"By publishing that story, I saved a lot of people's lives. This guy was outed as HIV positive. He was stopped from performing. There were girls who were saved from performing with him because of what I wrote.

"Once you have the rush of saving lives, worries about aftertaste are secondary.

"It was a filthy world and it was a filthy story, but it was an important story. The importance of a story is more important to me than how I feel about myself during and after."

Marc: "Here you are saying something about aftertaste. 'Aftertaste' is not a narcissistic and self-indulgent category. Aftertaste is a litmus test for the value of what you're doing. What you're describing is the rush, the rush in its most positive sense, this was not the rush of cocaine or degraded pornography, this was the rush of having saved lives. That's an incredible rush. That's a gorgeous thing. That comes from your natural goodness. That's my point. You got this incredible thing. You were in the bowels of the pornography industry for twelve years and you got a rush from when you did something unbelievably good. Luke Ford gets turned on by doing good. That's your natural goodness. That's not Luke Ford the schmuck. That's Luke Ford who says, ohmigod, I saved lives. There were actresses who were going to act with this guy and I saved lives. I would imagine there are a lot of pseudo-rushes in the bowels of the pornography industry. You're saying that this was a bigger rush than anything else that happened there.

"That validates what I'm trying to say. That Luke Ford in all his complex contradictions is turned on by doing good. Just like getting the story right creates good in the world, when you're just throwing spaghetti at the wall and getting things wrong creates bad in the world."

Luke: "A professor of a recent book on happiness said you can either be in the problem-solving mindset or you can be in the victim-mindset, but you can't be in both simultaneously. Being in one state precludes the other. If you feel like you are in charge of your life and you are taking steps to improve your life, you can not simultaneous feel sorry for yourself. And if you feel sorry for yourself, you can't take steps to improve your life."

Marc: "A person can either be a victim or a player. A victim is acted upon. Somebody is doing it to me all the time. The player always places himself as at the center of the action and he always acts. You choose in life to be either a victim or a player. You're either part of the problem or you're part of the solution.

"A person who's a victim says they did it to me, I'm powerless. A person who's a player says I'm powerful and I can shape my future because I take responsibility for my present. Responsibility means respondability, the ability to respond. If I have no ability to respond, then I can't shape my future.

"If a person in a company says, they did it, they cover themselves, but they're not that helpful to the company. Whenever something happens, it's someone else's fault. Because they are not part of the solution, they are part of the problem.

"Let me take myself as an example. I've gone through a hard two years. The question is, how am I going to tell the story of these two years? There are a couple of different ways I can tell it. I'm working on a book now called 'Spiritually Incorrect', which is about these two years. I'm sure I'm going to get a blurb from you.

:"Luke's nodding and smiling.

"What I do with 'Spiritually Incorrect', is I try and tell the story of what happened without mentioning any person directly or indirectly, without slandering anyone, what are the big ideas? What was the email you sent me last night?"

Luke: "Rashamon. Telling the same story from different perspectives."

Marc: "I don't tell it from the perspectives of people, I use the prism of ideas.

"One way of telling the story is 'They did it to me!' The story of betrayal. Maybe I betrayed someone by not sharing that I was going out with people who were in my circle? Maybe I should've shared that with my partner in running the organization? That was my mistake. Because that's my private relationship with that person, that's not for here. Maybe people betrayed me, which I'm not going to talk about in this context.

"But that's only one lens. That lens, as valuable as it may be, is a victim lens. If I stay in that lens, and that's the only lens, I'm a victim. Even if that lens were 90% true, I have no power over that lens. I'm completely powerless. It's no fun to be powerless. It's not holy. It's not aesthetic.

"The question is, what is my 5% or 10% or 20%? What is my percent in any story that happens to me? I've got to identify what my part in that story is and what did I do to create the conditions for what happened to me. That's where my power is.

"The price of innocence is impotence. I'm only innocent when I'm impotent. I may be innocent of complaints people made about me, but if I just focus on that, I don't get anywhere. I've got to see what I can learn from this. What's my part?

"I want to introduce a new phrase, a contribution system. Not a blame frame but a contribution system. We have to move in life from a blame frame to a contribution system. What's my part in a contribution system that created events?

"That's very different from New Age thinking that says you create your whole reality. That's nonsense. The Rwandan woman who sees a baby ripped apart in front of her? She created it? That's utter nonsense. That's Boulder upper-middle-class, no real problems to speak of, self-indulgent narcissistic nonsense. We don't create our own reality. A lot of things go into creating our reality. And that notion you hear in New Age circles, if it happened to you, you created it. That's not true. That can only be said by people leading a comfortable life.

"A lot of horrible things happen in the world which we don't create. I don't blame the Rwandan mother who sees her family massacred in front of her.

"There's one position that says we create our own reality. That's position A.

"Position B says we create none of our own reality. We're victims.

"Those are the two extreme positions.

"The more intelligent and more true, the deeper position says no, I don't create my own reality and I'm not a victim. There's a contribution system. In a contribution system, I participate in creating a dimension of my reality for which I need to take response-ability and as the Talmud says, shit happens. Right? And you need to deal with that? And sometimes I am victimized. I need to hold that balance together.

"That's a position that seems to me to be very powerful.

"We're saying the same thing."

Luke: "Exactly."

Marc: "That creates a pretty powerful frame. Both men and women need to own their power.

"Men need to own their power in the sense that, 'She said no but I got carried way.' Because if she said no and you got carried away, that's rape.

"Because a man is often more physically powerful than a woman, we have a whole set of laws against rape. No is actually no.

"There's a whole complex other question which I've never been involved with in my life per se -- what if a woman is saying no but acting yes."

Luke: "Women are always saying no and acting yes. 'Don't. Stop. Don't stop.'"

Marc: "Right, kiss me, kiss me, kiss me.

"That's a complex question. Let's put that aside. Let's talk about a straight no."

Luke: "Slap!"

Marc: "That's a straight no. So when a man overpowers that no, that's a violation of male power. That's a violation of the vulnerable, of the helpless and deserves societal restraint and censure.

"Women also have power. They have all sorts of power. They have intellectual power. They have feminine radiant power. They have sexual power. They have verbal power.

"Men and women both have power.

"The image of the powerless woman and the powerful man, that is something that I hope feminism did away with. What feminism tried to say was that women are autonomous and powerful.

"What's happening now is paradoxical and tragic. Even though that's what first-wave feminism came to say, what then happened was, a particular dimension of feminism which is called by a number of people, Naomi Wolfe, Daphne Patai, Cathy Young, Laura Kipnis, a whole series of very serious feminist theorists, I believe a thinker you've quoted talks about it, Dennis Prager, Warren Farrell, they call this victim feminism.

"As opposed to power feminism, victim feminism says women are basically victims. He did it to me.

"We're not talking about rape. The he-did-it-to-me with rape is a real thing.

"We're talking about, there's a relationship, the relationship is fully mutual, fully consensual. Mutual is a better word than consensual. Consensual is a technical legal word. Mutual means there's real mutuality. Consensual can mean the boss says you'll get a raise if you come with me for the weekend. And she comes for the weekend and has consensual sex, that's consensual but it's sexual harassment. Mutual is a better word.

"They have a relationship that is completely mutual where both man and women engage, initiate, etc, and that doesn't work, and then she goes back and rereads the story, re-members, reworks the story, and it becomes a harassment story, that's a violation of female power. That's not OK. That's a violation of male vulnerability just like the man using his power after the woman says no is a violation of feminine power.

"Men are powerful and women are powerful. Men are vulnerable and women are vulnerable. Men lie and women lie. There's masculine shadow and feminine shadow.

"I wanted to move out of theoretical victim structure you set up and I expanded on to bring it into the realm of relationships between masculine and feminine.

"It's all yours."

Luke: "The following analogy is not fully true but it is true enough to be interesting and relevant to what you said.

"With every lover, a man grows bigger and stronger and with every lover, a woman is like a rose that loses a petal."

Marc: "I want to fully inhabit the idea without blabbing about it.

"That means that there's a part of masculinity in this aphorism which is expansive and polyamorous and is not monogamous by nature. There's a male expansion that happens from being with many women."

Luke: "Populating a village. A male biological imperative."

Marc: "At the same time, there's the Greek goddess Hera... It's about hearth. There's a feminist hearth quality that her full blossom is achieved with her relationship with the one man and with every lover, she loses a petal.

"You understand the feminists would kill you on this. So you better hope that they are not listening and that they don't have your address.

"The idea that you're putting out is that there's a difference between feminine and masculine nature."

Luke: "And that's it is not OK to have mutual affairs with women."

Marc: "Meaning? What do you mean by mutual affairs?"

Luke: "Well, you're talking about mutuality rather than consenting, and if there's mutuality in a relationship it is between equals. I'm saying that unless a relationship lasts a lifetime, there's a power exchange to the man's benefit and to the woman's detriment."

Marc: "Even though in secular western ethics, mutuality means something perfectly legal and ethical, nonetheless, there's something essential about the difference between the masculine and the feminine, and that the man's masculine nature by itself is a violation of the feminine."

Luke: "Unless the relationship lasts a lifetime."

Marc: "That's a powerful statement. My good friend Dalit would completely agree with you. You are expressing the classical Orthodox Jewish position on relationships. There's a huge part of me that fully agrees with you. I did not live all of my life that way. I've had a deep complex tug and pull between different positions on this.

"My friend Dalit completely believes in that position. She views as her life goal an entire set of women's blogs to teach that position.

"She's the person I was announced to be marrying. Not true. Your friend seems to announce marriages that have no relationship to reality, but what can you do?

"A good feminist can disagree with that position. That's a chauvinistic, patriarchal, outmoded view of feminine sexuality which devalues feminine autonomy and all the gains of feminism. I don't think that bothers you per se.

"I think you meant that [position] in a personal way so let me respond in a personal way.

"One of my greatest life desires, in the same way I tried to talk about where your rage comes from, is for a monogamous great love. It's been a huge part of my life. I've made significant decisions in my life that contradicted power, career, fame and all those external western values, and which didn't serve my ability to teach, based on that desire.

"When I was 31, much like the same experience you had with our waitress, only deeper... This is an example of one of the stories out there. 'He had an affair.' No, I didn't have an affair, but I had a deep love involvement with this woman who was a singer in central Israel. It turned out that she was more in love with love. I thought I was in love with her but I was also in love with love.

"I was willing to give up my rabbinic reputation at that time, everything almost, for that great love. I don't think we even kissed. We just hugged.

"Her father plugged into PAG -- Parents Against Gafni. He was the head of the local PAG chapter. He did everything he could, successfully, to break up that relationship.

"I remember that I thought that that relationship was more important than everything else in the world. And that it was for its own sake. What was so seductive about it was that it didn't gain me anything in the world. I had to give up everything for this love, rabbinic position, the ability to write books.

"It didn't work too well for me. I gave up everything for it and then she didn't appear. I was completely devastated.

"I only once in my life worked out intensely. I had four months when I went, they were after this thing fell apart.

"I was living in Kiryat Ona near Bar Ilan University.

"I would go five times a week. I was the littlest guy in the gym. I was pumping up and down. It was the only way I could survive.

"About six or seven weeks later, she got engaged to someone else. The last thing she said to me was, 'I will always love you.'

"I remember the day she got married. I was just streaming tears. Little Gafni trying to pump iron in the gym.

"The great love has always been important to me and it's always been numinous. I've not succeeded in accomplishing that.

"That great desire... Remember Herman Hesse's book Narcissus and Goldmund? It was more about sexuality, but that kind of split in me, that deep desire to have this great love and that somehow this was the most holy thing in the world, and this drove a lot of my life.

"We can psychologize it. I don't like to reduce things to psychology, not you or me.

"There's a second belief I've had parallel to this my whole life. Osha talks about this. He's a complex Eastern philosopher.

"This is a very masculine perspective. That every meeting by itself is beautiful. Sexuality when mutual, whatever form it is, when it is mutual love and play, is so beautiful, so gorgeous, so sacred, and every sexual encounter by itself is an invitation to integrity... It's not just light that fills the vessel, it's its own light. Every sexual encounter invites us to loyalty and respect and dignity.

"You asked about my book Mystery of Love. Mystery of Love is about this. You'll like my book Mystery of Love less than Soul Prints. I promise."

Luke: "That's not possible."

Marc: "It talks about, what does it mean to be a great lover? To be a great lover, you must be a great giver and a great receiver. In sexuality, giving and receiving are one. Sexuality requires not being in control but giving up control. Sexuality is a place where I allow the fantasy of imagination to run gorgeously wild. The word 'Adam' in Hebrew means imagination.

"Time shifts. We have an enormous desire to give and not merely to take. Sexuality itself is a gorgeous container and if men and women can meet in that gorgeousness, it itself can be a strong enough vessel if we listen to the sexual and let it teach us its wisdom. For all its potential degradation, there's also potential light.

"I always had a romantic vision of the light. And, for a period of my life, particularly the period before Bayit Chadash closed, I had a number of relationships which were all fully mutual, no false promises of exclusivity, no false promises of marriage, but also work as you describe relationships. So they had the potential for hurt as you describe them, which is real.

"I was trying to see what's possible.

"By the way, it didn't work.

"I take responsibility for anyone who was emotionally hurt in that process.

"Bono thinks we hurt each other and do it again.

"I want to offer you something that takes us to a different place."

Luke: "My first girlfriend told me, 'You play with a girl's feelings and then say, 'You need to act in your own self-interest.'

"She was saying, once you're having sex with me, you can't expect me to act rationally."

Marc: "That's beautiful. That's not a legal category, it's not even an ethical category, it's about spirit.

"I think there's a profound truth to that.

"Classical feminist issue will take complete issue with what you said. You are moving it back to pre-feminism. You're saying that once a woman is sexually involved, she can no longer be autonomous and powerful.

"Feminism teaches that women can be autonomous and powerful. Women can be sexually autonomous and powerful. Women can make sexual choices. Women can choose to have sexual relationships for pleasure, for friendship and intimacy.

"I thought that was possible. I believed the feminist position. And it's possible that part of the reason I believed it was that as a man, I wanted to believe it. For me, it was a very beautiful experience. I thought each one of these relationships was unique and based on affection. I was not understanding that this feminist position was not correct, and that I needed to understand that once we're sexually involved, it's harder to act with autonomy.

"I have two groups of women friends on this issue. One group of woman friends say that what you're saying is utter nonsense. That they in their lives are able to act with complete autonomy. They say that this position that you're expressing is condescending to women, degrading to women and demeaning to women.

"One group of woman friends, which I'll call the Dalit position, says you are absolutely right. That this feminist notion of feminine autonomy is complete nonsense and that once a woman is sexually involved, she loses her ability to be fully discerning, so therefore the only sacred possibility is a long-term for life monogamous relationship between a man and a woman.

"There's a huge part of me that's holding that today as the highest possibility.

"Let me ask you a question: So what do we do with that today in a society in which that does not seem like an easy possibility? You're not married? I assume you've been involved with women?"

Luke: "I've slept with about 40 women in my life. Some of them were porn stars and they were able to have sex without emotional commitment."

Marc: "OK. OK. OK. So what do we do today? Our whole society is built in a way that men and women go out."

Luke: "It's a sex society. Women are dressed immodestly. TV, billboards. Everything is conspiring against that ideal. You'd have to battle all of society not to mention our own nature."

Marc: "How do we navigate, Rabbi Luke Ford? How do we navigate society?"

Luke: "If you're going to fulfill this ideal, you're going to have to ghettoize yourself. You shouldn't own a TV. You shouldn't go to movies. Maybe you shouldn't even look at the daily newspaper because there are bra ads. You shouldn't be alone in a room with a member of the opposite sex. You should fulfill Orthodox Judaism. Most people will need to become religiously orthodox to fulfill this ideal. Most people will need that kind of religious rigor to live this."

Marc: "I think you're right. Orthodox Judaism is powerful in this area. It prescribes all physical contact before marriage. Physical contact as  is always a slippery slope. Being alone with a member of the opposite sex is by itself a sexual event, it's called yichud, and therefore it is proscribed.

"It allows for sexuality only within the context of either marriage or a committed exclusive relationship called pelegesh. Ultimately that would make society a healthier place.

"There's a large part of me that agrees with that. Three years ago, there wasn't. Three years ago, I was more trying to see what was possible. There's a large Orthodox voice inside of me which feels that that is very powerful and true and compelling and that is the great gift of Orthodoxy.

"I have another voice and I want to own that voice as well. The other voice is more anarchic, more boundary-breaking. I haven't finished my own clarification. I'm coming to the end of it. I'm just about to make a decision between these voices. I've spent the last years thinking about this and writing about it. The second book I'm writing is about this topic.

"Here's the second voice: Sexuality is beautiful and gorgeous and that both men and women have the ability to be loving and sexual with each other with clear honest and full intention and that there are different stages of life. The stages are the key to this hermeneutic.

"There's a stage where I'm with different people."

Luke: "Sowing the wild oats."

Marc: "Playing the field. But in a sacred way. In a way that's not demeaning, disclosing of full intention. The woman may be going out with different people. That's a certain stage of life. At the end of that stage of life, I make a decision who I'm going to settle down with.

"I have a teacher who married a woman from Paris. He says they never talk about before they were married. That's a Parisian thing. It's not gentlemanly to ask, 'What were you doing before we were married?'

"That may be a model that holds the possibility of having different partners and loving people fully and transitioning to a place of radical monogamy at a different stage of life.

"I honestly don't know which one is correct. I have deep inner conflict about each one. I don't feel that I have purified myself sufficiently to be able to look at that in the most honest way.

"It seems that every redemptive messianic movement tried to rethink the sexual issue because everyone was stuck on this.

"The stuck problem is that monogamy doesn't work so well either. I've done marriage counseling for 25 years. Ninety five percent of the married monogamous couples I've met are miserable. They're stuck. They're devastated. Their spirits are closed. They're not open, they're not flowing to God. There's something that's not working in this monogamy thing. If it was working, then we're done.

"I found so many times that people married the wrong person for this or that psychological reason. They're stuck in their marriage. They're embarrassed to get out of it. Their spirit begins to shrivel. Their children's spirit begins to shrivel. And then they begin to act out unethically in all areas of their lives because there's something rotten at their core.

"The monogamy idea, for all the idyllic beauty that we've ascribed to it, isn't working.

"On the other hand, there's the sharp critique that you've made correctly of the broad open free more flowing position.

"So where do we go?"

Luke: "I agree with that."

"I basically came here to ask one simple question."

Part Three

Luke: "Marc, I came here to Salt Lake City with one simple question. Tell me about your life that Gary Rosenblatt communicated to you that he wanted to talk about your past sex life."

Marc: "Always a good phone call to get from Gary. Blessings to Gary.

"I don't follow the blogs, but a particular rabbi, may he blessed, who's been very much my nemesis for almost 30 years, someone who I barely know but someone I represent something to, is very good friends with Gary Rosenblatt. I think it was on your blog.

"It's one of the complex things of Jewish journalism. You'd expect that you'd have objective journalism, but as people say openly, nobody is even embarrassed about it, this old boy system, this rabbi says I'm good friends with Gary Rosenblatt, clearly there's no objectivity here. When an old close friend of yours calls and tells you something, clearly you look at it in a particular way.

"What's so funny about the Jewish community, with blessings to all, is that nobody tries to hide it. In an open conversation with you, he says that this guy is an old friend of mine, I have influence there, meaning, there is no objective journalism. I don't mean that, Gary, I'm sure you're listening to this somewhere, I don't mean this as a vicious critique. I just mean it as that is the way it is.

"There is a group of people who know each other and went to YU together {or did not go to YU but are close old friends as this rabbi says he is with Gary, and as a number of other key rabbis and leaders that Gary has left off the hook on sexual issues also are} . I'm not part of that group.

"If I can share something that Luke said when the tape recorder is off, which I thought was nice, citing a feminist masculinist theorist, in this case Dennis Prager, that when you ask a guy a question, he'll give you all the theory and when you ask a girl, she'll give you details. Luke wants the details.

"Luke and I have agreed that we're not going to talk about this or that sexual detail. It's not about Luke's sex life and not about Gary Rosenblatt's sex life, we're not going to slander anyone, but we're going to talk about the the story and not just theories."

Luke: "What were you feeling?"

Marc: "The first feeling was how much I'm not in the old boys network. I'm so unprotected. I grew up in Columbus, Ohio. I send blessings to my parents. I left home when I was 13 years old to go to a yeshiva high school. It was a complex home.

"I never became part of the system. I never had an uncle to help out. I never had my rabbi. I was always very much a maverick in the system and was never part of that network that protects and takes care of. I don't say 'protects' in a negative way. I'm talking about a positive sense of home, and not a sense of radical vulnerability.

"When Gary called me... Gary's an old insider. I knew before it was written on your blog that he was close friends with this particular rabbi who doesn't seem particularly bent on my positive unfolding in life. My heart dropped."

Luke: "What date was it when Gary first approached you?"

Marc: "It was even before that. I remember where I was. I was teaching at a retreat center and someone handed me a copy of The Jewish Week, Gary's newspaper, and it said there: 'And people urged me to look into a philandering rabbi who changed his name and moved to Israel.'

"It was clear to me that I was in their sights. These guys want to take me down.

"I'm not going to talk about any particular person. I'm not going to share anyone's private sexuality. But I know people within Gary's own circle of friends who all have complex sexuality on a number of levels, none of them I'll detail here, some of it far more dramatic than my post-conventional forays in the world.

"Who people pick in journalism to go after have a lot to do with the old boys network, has a lot to do with the old boys network, has a lot to do with other things other than the things that should motivate a story.

"If Gary wants to call and correct me on this, I'm happy to have a private conversation with him and go through what's going on out there and why you pick a particular thing.

"I read two things on your blog. I read your long rambling essay on me a couple of years ago. It wasn't a good essay, Luke. {that would be to major in understatement- it was filled with total lies and distortions that people had told you} at  And I read once the interview you did with this rabbi and I was shocked at the unabashedness in which he said that Gary is his old close friend.

"My first sense was vulnerability. I remember where I was. I was standing by the pay phone. I just got it. Luke you just made this image of rifle sights. I just got it. Yes your intuition on his is accurate. I'm in these guys rifle sights. They want to bring me down. They want to demonize it. And I know it's not paranoia.

"I went to talk to someone and they said, 'No, what are you talking about?' But in my body, it said, this is real. It's nasty. It's not going to be pleasant. I may go down. I said to myself, 'I'll get back up with God's help.'

"I just had this feeling. I had a very bad feeling.

"I don't do anything about it. What is there to do?

"That's where the changed-name story began. As I read to you from Soul Prints, everything I've written, {in many} lectures  I've given, I always talk about {my name evoution..similar to Barry to Barack} Winiarz and Gafni, and Hebraicizing it.

It was the first planting of false the idea that I had somehow secretly changed my name to not be Winiarz and be Gafni.

"My second feeling was helplessness. As I read to you from Soul Prints, which was already published then, both of my names are there, it's very clear that there was no false name change. But that didn't matter to anyone.

"Did you read Kafka's Trial? The facts don't matter so much. You begin to feel helpless - that what should be isn't. It was devastating. I can literally call it up in my body now. They talk about your heart falling to your stomach. That's what it felt like, worse than when those people left you in that bad neighborhood in LA."

[LF: Mike Albo dropped me off in Boyle Heights in 1999 and drove off.]

Marc: "I've been left in bad neighborhoods for a decade.

"I was teaching at Rabbi Michael Lerner... The editor of Tikkun. I was teaching a Shabbat there. The sister of someone I knew from a long time ago wrote Michael an email that we're going to break this big story on Gafni. It was a story from 30 years ago. The way that the lady Vicki Polin tells the story {in some of her old blog postings and letters}, {you get the impression that} Gafni at 45 was sleeping with a 14-year old girl, that's the impression you get when you read it, this is obviously a complete lie; in fact I {was 19 years old just out of high school- in a mutual love relationship} and never slept with the 14-year old girl or anything vaguely close.  I've polygraphed that. I never had any engagement with the woman below {her} waist, if I can be very direct about it. That's also polygraphed with the best polygraph person in the world. {So all this nonsense on the hate blogs about Gafni committing statutory rape with a 14 year old girl is simply a form of name rape.}

"The way the story is told, 45-year old Gafni is sleeping with a 14-year old girl, when in fact Gafni was just out of high school. {and not sleeping with anyone} She was in the first year of high school. I went with her to her high school classes. It was what you'd call a petting relationship. It was a love relationship. It's not that I'm now retrojecting it as a love relationship.  That's another thing I took a polygraph on.

"The woman, who I wish only good to, and I would meet with, Luke, at any time. If you wind up being the facilitator of it, I will meet with her at any time at any place, in a facilitated context to bring healing to this.

"She wrote me a letter after the relationship was over describing it as the most beautiful relationship, describing me .. her to me and me to her..{ from both of our perspectives} as true love, completely the opposite of the description {she told you which you published on the web}, this is all polygraphed, and {yet the way it is told on your website it seems that it is}  is re-remembered {by her} as this coercive horrible story.

"I read once your story, this woman's as-it-were story on the web, and I literally threw up. You want to know how I felt? I went to the bathroom and threw up. I was so completely disgusted by the story. And I was also filled with rage. Rage because it felt like, if I can borrow Dennis Prager's term, it felt like name rape.

"At the time, I was too naive to think... What can I do about this? I got sick to my stomach. It was 25 years ago. I didn't remember then...

"I only remembered a year and a half ago, two years ago, that she wrote me a letter afterwards. The way a polygraph works, you can't polygraph on something that is subjective. You have to polygraph on a fact. Thank God I could remember this fact. It was a letter with specific content and which was very polygraphable. The polygraph of course completely supports the truth of what I was saying.

"It was a devastating experience.

"This woman's sister had written Michael that there's a story on Gafni that's about to break. I'm like, what? I'm like in the middle of my life. This is something that happened 30 years ago. It was edgy, maybe inappropriate, but nothing pathological about it. Nothing abusive about it. I know dozens and dozens of people who were in relationships like that. We were both deeply in love with each other {at the time}. The letter validates that. It was her experience at the time as well as mine.

{I am fully aware that she mocks this assertion and has recast the whole story with the help of many people in the victim feminist abuse jargon of grooming etc. Sad as that is to me; it does not excuse 25 years of Name Rape. That is actually not okay. Moreover once a certain prism of interpretation is laid over an individual it is easy to get a group of people to be willing to interpret their experiences with that person, in light of that prism. Just ask the black community in the south whose sons were lynched because of false accusations by groups of white women or read Daphne Pattai's Heterophobia for story after story of groups of women who distort everything through the lens of a hermeneutic prism of harassment which is created by many factor all of them having nothing to do with the quality and ethics of the sexual engagement itself.  The distortions  filtered through hermenutics of harrassment often are in gross violation of the facts of the story, what anyone who truly believes and does not just talk about holding a moral context – would be outraged by. It is called Bearing false witness.

 In sexuality there are so many different ways of being sexual, so many different flavors and states of experience; how they are interpreted is dependent on the ethical, spiritual level of evolution of the people having the experience. It is very easy to cast a man as the predator if people are willing to lie, distort facts and now own the truth of their experience or the truth of their power. 

And since in sexuality as in the rest of our lives we have many voices inside of us – this was the great work done in Part Theory in Gestalt Therapy later developed as voice dialogue and then in spirituality as the Big Mind process – it is easy for a person who is lost in projection, pain, anger and immaturity, to focus on voice, and use it to override all the other voices in the original experience and retroactively claim some form of abuse

{on of the most overused words in the lexicon today which has virtually been emptied of meaning} and convince even themselves that they are telling the truth. Moreover when a person receive social rewards and support for the original lie and when the original lie causes great destruction, then it is well nigh impossible for the person making the original false accusation to back down. That would take a true humility and depth of spiritual and psychological maturity which if the person possessed they never would have made the false claims to begin with...

at the same time people who are transparent to god can and do evolve and miracles of love and healing do happen...let it already be so}

"Do I regret it now? I actually do. One of the things I understand now that I didn't understand then as a kid was that a young woman may actually be engaging because she wants to make the man happy and she may be having a negative internal experience. Sally Kempton spend a long time walking through this possibility and when I truly understood that this was a possibility my heart broke open.  I didn't understand that split then. She, {the woman involved} didn't give me any indication of that split, not one word.

"Would I do it again? Of course not. Would I teach young men to behave differently in that situation? Of course I would. But between that and re-raising it and trying to wreck someone's life with it is a long long distance.

"What I did then was call Gary Rosenblatt. I went to meet him. We had a several hour meeting which I'm sure he recorded. Gary, if you're listening, I'm sure you recorded. In that meeting, I didn't know Gary. I certainly didn't feel safe talking to Gary. I think that would be a major understatement. He certainly didn't seem to be holding my interests at heart or healing. He seemed to be kinda looking for a sexy story.

"He asked me at the time, I remember, something like, 'Have you had affairs?' I said no, which wasn't true. I have had a bohemian lifestyle. That didn't seem to be appropriate to share with Gary. Why would I do that?

"I told him completely the truth of this early story {which we discussed above}. I don't think that he believed me.

{he, at the time told me that she has said to him that I slept with her; Dr. Daniel Tropper in Jerusalem told me that this is what he was told as well. this was not even vaguely close to true as is validated by polygraph and her statement herself to an Israeli paper; but the fact that she lied about this seemed not to matter to those who preferred me dead; neither to the victim feminist crowd nor to the for male shadow, "kill the competition, protect yourself from attack, and pretend even to yourself that is was for noble motives" crowd; it is very hard for people to own malice so as Milan Kundera writes we dress it up and call it by a thousand more noble names}

"Now I have a polygraph to support it. I didn't then.

"There was a second story. That story as well is on you wrote years back on your web blog. I think you haven't done the world a service by doing that but I'll get back to that in a second. That story as well I've polygraphed because I was able to remember a very specific clear fact which is the woman in question very much actively engaged me and asked me to fully sleep with her {to have full sexual relations with her} and I said no. If that would be true, that would be completely opposite of the story's description {by the woman} That's also validated by polygraph.

"The second story on the web as well is completely distorted in tone and substance. That's also validated by polygraph.

{And}, I wasn't fully transparent with Gary about what did transpire and how it played. That was a mistake.

"The reason that happened was simple. When it first took place, immediately, her advisor brought her to this particular rabbi who held less than my ennobled self-interest in mind, and I called a very close friend, no names, who was a significant figure in the community {at the time as well as now}, {and said} this is what actually happened, very very limited, it's been blown up in two days through the prism of this rabbi, it's become this huge archetypal original sin story, which is not what it was. The woman was strongly encouraged to - I was in my youth then, she was 16 - she was strongly encouraged to kinda blow this story up."

"I feel the story was a mistake, that any encounter with her at all was a mistake. I take responsibility for that mistake. I didn't know how to do that when I was 24 because I was massively attacked and it was blown so out of proportion it seemed like there was no one to talk to who wanted to actually {create healing}, oh, you made a mistake, let's heal this. It was a one-time mistake for several minutes. Pathology would mean, 'Let's do it for a year. Let's get ten other people.' It was a very very limited mistake but it clearly was a mistake and I own the mistake.

"The advice that I received at the time, again, I'm not passing off my responsibility for the advice, but the advice I received very strongly from a very strong older sister person was, she called the rabbi in question who was moving the story forward, and she called me back and said, listen, this man does not have your self-interest {or any sense of decency healing or fair play} in mind. At all. He's not interested in healing. Right? He and his partner feel very negatively about you. { my friend said to me "His wife hates you because you represent a man that she had two major collapses while she worked for him and you evoke this man in her- it is not rational- later someone very close to this couple told me the same thing and said to me twenty years later that their "dogged pursuit of your can only be compared to the police inspector in LeMisrables"}  This is more of a pretext issue. The only thing you can do is just move on, don't engage this. Just move on, which is what I did consistently for 25 years.

"So when a group of people went to support me in a public letter, right?, what I said to them, which was fully accurate, (they haven't been in touch with me for a couple of years and my guess is that we won't be in touch for the next several decades,) what I said to them was fully accurate, that the ancient stories about me which this rabbi and later, encouraged by this rabbi, Vicki Polin; {this rabbi chaired Vicki Polin's board and encouraged her to attack me } kept circulating were not true, one was completely not true, , and the second story was fundamentally not true, but I didn't own that there was any encounter at all, which I should've. {Although I was following the best advice I had available both at the time and more recently – it was ultimately my mistake and I regret that.}

"I again. Everything I say to you, I'm subject to complete polygraph support. Every single word. There's no. Some of this... The key facts here have all been polygraphed already by the best international person in polygraph, but if there's any fact that anyone would want to polygraph with any recognizable expert, I'll do it in one second. This is all absolutely 1000% true and supportable.

"As the years went on, , when I founded my organization in Israel, there were two female board members who I again consulted with about this issue. It was re-raised. They advised me that I had done the only sensible thing I could do given the fact that these women had now affiliated themselves with Vicki Polin and Vicki Polin claimed to be their therapist.

"With great respect for everyone, but Vicki Polin, who says she sacrificed and murdered babies on an Oprah in 1989, right?, and has made up this large series of things {about me for sure} which seem to be more than utterly fantastic, this large Jewish Satanic cult in the country, etc, etc,  is now saying she is the therapist to these people. {the latest Vicki Polin outrage – all of which has at this point become laughable is send around an email a few weeks back saying new rumor around Gafni is attracted to pre-pubescent boys.....this is really not much different then Goebbels Nazi lies about the Jews in Der Strummer, the Nazi Newspaper. Sadly it is precisely such neo nazi sites that link to Polin's website. She is of course carefully to attribute it to a rumor – because then one cannot prove malice. For a public figure to effectively file suit, one must not merely prove that an accusation is not true but that the maker of the accusation is rooted in malice which legally is defined as – the person knows that it is not true- the way around the law is simply to make up a lie and attribute it to a rumour –that way you can say that you thought it was true and avoid a malice suit. However there is another legal route available which is far more effective which I cannot discuss at this time. At this point however the internet attacks on my by Polin and affiliated websites is actually helpful to me; the information is so clearly slanderous and outrageous ....
I am now working on a book and a movie project about the press and particularly the Internet in relation to my experiences and to other people who have had similar experiences – if Vicki and company would god forbid take down their attacks on me – it would kill my book and movie project ? so please attack away.....  My core decision in life is not to run from this but to embrace it fully. }

Back to the story. So Hearing that Vicki had claimed to be their therapist ...."To say the least, that didn't make us feel there was an open field for conversation. It made us feel, ohmigod, there's no one to talk to. There's no possibility of healing. No one's interested in actually actually doing a deep healing and moving forward. I tried to actually make contact with one of the people to create a healing but it was rejected.

"And, and so, and so both of these people advised me  very very strongly, , that I was doing the only appropriate thing that could possibly be done, right?, which is what I did.

"In retrospect, , , I should've been, more transparent on that one issue. It wasn't something that seemed possible then. The best advice I got said not to do it. And ultimately, , the people who give us advice aren't responsible for what we do. We are.  So I take responsibility for that.

"What I fully and utterly reject is the pathologizing that some people – all with less then wholesome agenda and motives- have done on the hate blogs of the internet and other forums. There's no pathology here.  I've worked in the last years with four great people, {psychologists} in this field.  Each one with  with super credibility and grandchildren. I've tried to work through this again, {to take one last pass of deep introspection which felt necessary after the level of attack and trauma which I experienced,} And  it's very very clear, {as each of these four people write in their professional evaluations posted on my website} there's no pathological issue here. There's no  demonization here that's appropriate.  this should've been healed 25 and 30 years ago.  there's no pattern of sexual abuse.  Child molestation is a word  that Vicki Polin uses that is absurd. Child molestation has a very particular definition. It has nothing to do with this whatsoever. it's kind of a {vicious} slanderous use of loaded psychological jargon , which is just so completely {malicious}. {It is in this sense again that the hate blogs on the web today which attack me and hundreds of other people are all to similar to the hate blogs of history leveled by intellectuals of europe against the jews. On how this hatred works it worth reading the work of feminist Phyllis chesler in her recent book The Death of Feminism }

" it's kind of like, if I can use an analogy, it's kind of like McCarthyism. This is a term that the colleague you mentioned [Dennis Prager] also uses, sexual McCarthyism.

"Meaning, McCarthy was against communism. Communism did really bad things. Communism actually killed tens of millions of people.  McCarthy takes communism and the  fear and loathing people have of communism, the evil of communism, and uses it to attack people for a thousand reasons which have nothing to do with communism. That's McCarthyism.

"Sexual McCarthyism, and the term was actually coined by Alan Dershowitz, I thought I coined it two years ago and then I looked it up online and I was so disappointed, right?, to see Alan Dershowitz had written a book by that name... But Sexual McCarthyism means you take the correct loathing that we have of sexual abuse but then you use it, you actually abuse sexual abuse, you use it for a series of other far more complex and dark agendas which you actually can't own, and you cloak yourself in a respectable battle... That's essentially what McCarthy did and that's what Alan Dershowitz calls Sexual McCarthyism.

"So to take a sexual mistake, anyone's, whether it's yours or mine or the rabbi's or the editor's, and then transform it into this larger-than-life archetypal original sin motivated and driven by a kind of sexual hysteria is deeply problematic from an ethical perspective.

"I feel again, to borrow Dennis Prager's and Warren Farrel's phrase, my personal experience is that I feel like I've been name raped. {What I have been subjected to is a terrible form of sexual abuse!! }

"When I say name raped, I don't in any way, in any way, minimize the experience of rape. However, major feminists have pointed out, and I've spent two years reading the literature, that actually rape isn't only a physical event. From Susan Brownmiller to  Robin Morgan, have really pointed out that rape is a broader event that involves a violation of a person's ethics.

"So while violent rape is in a class by itself, Prager points out that when he talks about name rape, people would call him and say, 'How can you say that? It's offensive to women.' And he would say  on his show, what would you feel if this happened to your son?

"To have  your kind of  your sexuality distorted and demonized for 25 years, , and then put on the web in a distorted and demonized way, and until I took these polygraphs, I knew of no way of responding to it. What could I do?

"It wasn't until  I hired a fantastic group of lawyers here in Salt Lake City who said polygraph it. And they said we actually know the best person to polygraph it in America who's cited in all the cases, who specializes in sexual issues. And we went and we were able to identify how to polygraph it and we did a full set of questions and we were able to dismiss for the first time, that these stories as told are not true. They're distortions of a very dramatic time.

"Now as you said in the car, everyone has a perspective. But not all perspectives are equal. You can't distort a past story. For example, you can't say, 'I'm Vicki Polin. I didn't like my parents. I had a really hard childhood. So therefore, there was a Jewish satanic cult that murdered babies.'

"No. That's not OK. There's actually not a Jewish satanic cult around America that murders babies. That's not true.

"That's not a perspective problem. That's an empirical problem, if I can borrow your phrase.

" I would be willing to sit with anyone, certainly with these two 25 and 30-year old stories, in a facilitated context and create closure. Let's create healing. Let's all own our part in the contribution system. . I'll own and say as I said clearly  five years ago,  I was 19. The woman was 14. .  a ninth-grader in high school. {I walked her a couple of times} to her ninth grade classes.

"Every time I hear about it on the web, she keeps getting younger. . I'd be 23 and she becomes 12.

"I went with her to her ninth grade classes at Ramaz High School. I'll never never mention her name. It's inappropriate.

"I loved this woman with all my soul. Right? I know she mocks that. I'm completely aware of that. But actually she wrote me a letter afterwards fully validating that she had the same experience. Right?

"So can I go back and own my part in that story? Of course I can. . . Did I not understand certain things then? Right?  of course I didn't. . But to move from there to some kind of demonization will actually demonize every man and woman in America.

"Every man and woman in America who has a healthy sexuality has  a complex story someplace somewhere which can be distorted and demonized."

Luke: "Enough theory. Did you have any idea when the Gary Rosenblatt story came out that this was just the beginning of your nightmare, that this was just the blood in the water?"

Marc: "I didn't. Although, I'll just share with you a moment. I was in Boulder, Colorado. There was a newspaper article in Ha'aretz [before Gary Rosenblatt's article came out]. They'd run a large positive story on me in 2004. Somehow when that story came out and I saw it, , I knew it would just arouse such primal malice in that group of people that somehow it was going to get crazy. I knew it in my body.

"To fast forward, at a particular time, , I got divorced from my third wife...

"If I can give people the scene here..."

Luke: "I'm sniffing a rose while Marc is crying...in his soul." {Luke is not being vicious here but is being empathetic in his own limited way?}

Marc: "Luke, we're not going to debate this, this is where your blog did a profound disservice, the whole negative blog thing created a kind of crazy environment. We functioned. We were effective. We thought about you once every month for a second. But ultimately, it creates a kind of vulnerability. Now I know how to deal with that vulnerability effectively, but then I didn't.

"It was strange. You're living your life. Your reality is your reality and then virtual reality enters your life. There's this new phenomenon called Google. All of a sudden, when someone Googles your name..."

Luke: "My site is the first one that comes up. I own you." {Luke says jokingly}

Marc: "You don't anymore, and hopefully you'll move beyond that too. {laughing}

"That's a problem. Tom Tugend wrote a thousand articles in his life. I was interested in an article he wrote. I Googled him. And the first thing that came up was Luke and Tom.

"What do you do to optimize?"

Luke: "Nothing."

Marc: "How does it happen?"

Luke: "It's simply because it is the best work as reflected by other people's links to it. I do nothing to optimize. I just try to put out the best story. Other people link to me."

Marc: "If you give people tabloid, how many people have you seen stop to read the National Enquirer? The equivalent of that online is people like Luke Ford.

"That drives Luke Ford to the top of Tom Tugend, who's written a thousand other great articles, but Luke Ford's Tom Tugend interview becomes first. That's the power of the National Enquirer and that's the tabloid coliseum playing in the blogosphere. You should not be proud of that, my friend.

"I'm interested in how that works.

"Luke, I want to say this to you directly: If you want to come up second and third on a person, fourth, fifth, say what you say, I think it's radically irresponsible in a thousand ways but you do what you do, but I think there's something wrong in a virtual world to take Tom Tugend's first place. He's got a life's work. He's got a world. He's not someone I know. I don't have an investment, but there's something off on that. That may be kind of funny to you. Blessings."

Luke: "I think that's great."

Marc: "We can link that back to the beginning of our interview about Luke's view of the world.

"I'm doing a movie this year on the shadow of the Internet You'll be a guest.

"I'm here to talk to your best and most beautiful side. And I'm here to talk to the person who got a huge rush when you saved lives. I don't buy into the Luke Ford monster view. I just don't buy it. I'm talking to the evolved Luke Ford that I write about in Soul Prints that you hate. So let's go back to our story."

Part Four

Luke: "So Gary Rosenblatt's story comes out. But then, I get all this information that portrays you as the biggest creep from people who go back 25 years on you. Tell me, Gary's story comes out, then I pile on, how was that for you?"

Marc: "I'll just say it this way, Luke. Angelina Jolie says this about the tabloids, 95% of what you write is just crap. It is distorted. I could take you through it line by line. Stories about me...

"I mean, come sit in my basement where my books are. Whatever we get from God is a gift. I was gifted with a good mind. It's gift like having blue eyes. It's morally neutral. I was also gifted with an open heart. I've written to date about ten books. Five published. Three more are in publication stage. A fourth is just about in publication stage. There are five or six more that are amid... You talk about plagiarizing. It's just nonsense.

"I could probably trace each line that you write to who said it from what situation. You collected a bunch of half-baked things and gave them a creep spin, we'll call it the Luke creep spin, and there it went. It was so inaccurate. It was so distorted. It's not even possible to respond to.

"I told you I read your thing once a couple of years ago. I'm sure it's changed but probably the same core is there.

"I was so offended by it. I sat down and started writing a line by line rebuttal. Then I said, 'Forget this. What am I going to do? It's part of being a public figure. You've got to deal with not the beautiful side of Luke Ford who I'm talking to today, but you've got to deal with the shadow side where he's not going to call, he's not going to check, he's not doing an investigative story, he's just doing the creep spin.

"Part of the reason you do the creep spin is that that's your basic view of life. Right?

"You're nodding."

Luke: "Yes."

Marc: "Thank you. That's important. Your basic view of life is that people are creeps."

Luke: "Yep."

Marc: "You've got to validate that.

"My basic view of life is that Luke Ford is beautiful. That doesn't mean that Luke Ford doesn't do really creepy stuff, but I believe in that higher person. And that's where we part ways.

"Let me pick up what happened.

"That's our sacred contract today. We agree it's beyond past and future. It's in the present.

"Gary does his thing. There's an article that appears in Israel in Ma'ariv around the same time. That article is instigated by me. I'll tell you exactly what happened. There were a couple of people who wanted me to run for parliament in Israel. No names. It's not important. We had a particular interest, the ministry of Education. We thought we could effect the values curriculum. Not sexy but it is exactly what we were interested in.

"I said to this particular person who talked to me about, who's a major mover and shaker in Israel, 'We'll do this and then we'll have these people come out from the closet and do their old stuff.' He said, 'We should provoke it. Let's see who's there hiding under the rocks. Respond to it directly.'

"I said, 'That doesn't seem like such a great idea to me. That doesn't seem like the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon.'

"He persuaded me that that was correct.

"That began the story. That began the set of articles. So the Ha'aretz article happened [first in early 2004]. That drove that group of people crazy. They went back to Gary and said, 'You have to do this.' There was a particular rabbi who called Gary. Gary told me this in confidence so I'm not going to break Gary's confidence. Because that's integrity. I told him I wouldn't and I won't.

"A particular rabbi called him and said to him, 'Reopen the Gafni thing.' A back-bencher old friend of his. So he reopened the Gafni thing.

"Once that story happened, we realized it was going to get distorted again in Israel, the same two old stories being distorted. So we then initiated the story in Ma'ariv. The story was told relatively accurately. Then it was over, so we thought.

"I'm not living this story. I'm teaching every day. I'm working with people. I'm fundraising. I'm lending people money. I'm helping people. I'm trying to be a mentch. The story is like a sidebar. Sometimes it gets annoying but mostly it's like a fly we're swatting, sorry to analogize you to a fly.

"So I'm doing my thing.

"My wife and I get divorced. Because of the blog attack, we kept it private for a time so people shouldn't interpret it.... It had nothing to do whatsoever at all with the blog attack at all but we didn't want people to interpret it that way. Those are the things you have to watch as a public figure. I've now stopped watching those things but at that time I was that kind of public figure.

"In that period of time, I started going out.

"There was a particular person, I'm not going to mention names and I'll ask you not to as well, I want to hold everyone's confidentiality, there was a particular person who I was involved with at the end of my marriage who had something to do with the marriage's breakup. We had some thoughts of getting together. For a lot of reasons, that's not the way it evolved. This is not the time for blame or story.

"So I started going out. Now, what happened was, I was working 24/7. Shabbos is Shabbos. The rest of the time I was working very very hard. I was overly committed to what I was doing. To meet one extra person a night, two extra people, help that person, meet that person... I worked all the time around the clock. I don't mean that in a self-aggrandizing way. It's what I did. I didn't have any split between {work and life}... I have an intuition that you might understand this, there was no split between my personal life and what I did. I lived in the Bayit Chadash Center. It was essentially my home. It was what I did all the time. It wasn't like, oh no, now I'm going home, it's five o'clock. I worked 18 or 19 hours a day. It was exhausting but I thought we were doing good things and I loved it. I didn't have a sense of being exhausted from work, this was my life.

"What happened is, I didn't go on dates. It's not what happened. I was naturally involved with people who were in my circle. You told me earlier what you found erotically sexy, which I'm not going to repeat. {but I think it was power imbalance?} That's not our conversation. There's no reason to talk about that. To me, what's erotically sexy is partnership. Remember that movie Mr and Mrs Smith? Do you remember the scene at the end? Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are two hitmen who finally team up. They walk out of this ambush back to back holding guns, they've completely become one integrated unit. That is sexy to me.

"Have you ever read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand? There's a great scene on page 254 when Dagney Taggert makes love to Hank Reardon. It's this complete merging of creative energy. That's erotic to me. That's my experience of great love. I looked for people in my circle who cared about what I cared about. I wasn't interested in meeting a lawyer for dinner. I was working all the time. I began to have relationships with people in my circle. That happened for a couple of years.

"I had no sense whatsoever then, nor did the people involved {at the time}, of anything transgressive about the relationships. We're talking about people who are powerful adult women. Clearly. That's a given. And I asked them to be held privately. No one was ever sworn to eternal silence. That's complete victim feminist jargon. If I ask you for confidentiality, does that mean I am swearing you to eternal silence? That's borrowing a term from cult psychology. That's an intentional mischaracterizing of something. Asking for confidentiality is not the same as swearing someone to eternal silence.

"If I can go deep for a second. There's bad secrets and there's confidentiality. What people do in a artificial way is say that secrets are bad. That's not true. Confidentiality is sacred. Father sleeping with his daughter -- sordid secret -- is bad.

"There's this notion in victim feminism of breaking the silence. But actually, when you are holding sacred confidentiality and you break that, that's not a great thing to do. That's not breaking the silence. That's just breaking a promise. To cloak that as breaking the silence is absurd.

"At the same time, let me now take responsibility. I didn't understand that confidentiality was impossible. I wanted confidentiality for three reasons. I didn't want to get attacked for my private relationships. I knew I would. Two. I liked privacy. I liked being just Marc. I liked hanging out at night and being just Marc, not Rabbi Gafni, because that's who I am. I don't believe in Rabbi Gafni because Rabbi Gafni and Marc are the same person. I actually enjoyed the duality of relationship. Three. It just seemed like the safest way to navigate was to hold privacy because it doesn't make people hurt that I'm with her and not with her. It created a safe container. That turned out to be fatally wrong. It was precisely the privacy that made me vulnerable. If all the relationships had been transparent, there would've been no vulnerability. People could've made a choice. They could've said, 'Well, we don't like that Marc's going out with this person who has this staff function in the organization.' Right? Great, don't come to the organization. Transparent.

"I didn't do that. That was a mistake. I didn't do it for the three reasons I just said. I didn't understand how painful holding confidentiality was for the women. I didn't realize how painful it would be for people to realize that I had gone out with people from the same circle. I just didn't understand that that was enormously painful for people and that would create an energetic explosion. I didn't understand that because of the vulnerability of the kinda Gary attack, they'd be able then to link that back and try to create and paint this predatory image. It never in my wildest dreams occurred to me because I actually loved all these people. And when I say I loved all these people, I meant in a deep and real way. Was I "in love" with everyone? Of course not. Did I love everyone, of course.  I had a deep real affection for everyone I was involved with. It was a genuine thing. I would've remained close friends with all of these people for the rest of my life had it not been ruptured.

"I did not for a second, not for a second, Luke, see the rupture coming. That's what's quite unbelievable. I'm not a blithering idiot. I actually protected Bayit Chadash from everything happening, or tried to. I didn't understand the need for that kind of internal protection. I also didn't share with my partner that I was having these relationships. There's a number of reasons for that that I'm not going to share. I want to honor his integrity. That's the privacy of our relationship. But I didn't, which I should've.

"A. I was moving too fast. B. I was going out with too many people. C. Not realizing the fullness of where I was vulnerable on this. D. Underestimating the potential for malice. E. Not realizing that this could be linked back to the stuff 30 years ago and mischaracterized in a horrible way. And of course got Luke Ford out there who's waiting for something like this.

"The truth is, I was moving so fast, I was naive. It didn't occur to me that this would be hurtful in a way that it obviously was hurtful to women, for that actually I greatly regret.

"The question is, what do we do with our hurt? We're all hurt."

Luke: "We blog about it."

Marc: "Wrong answer!

"What we do with our hurt, we're all hurt.

"I remember someone said to me about a year ago when I said something about the situation, she said, 'But this or that person was hurt.' And I said, 'Hurt doesn't give a person the license to murder.'

"That's something the earlier philosopher [Dennis Prager] you quoted understands.

"In the Mafia, when you're hurt, 'Rub 'em out. My dignity was offended.'

"But actually that's not the way it works. When you evolve levels of consciousness, I take my hurt and I make it into compassion.

"I know that you're a Biblical kinda guy, so can I give you a text here?"

Luke: "Yes."

Marc: "'You shall not oppress the stranger for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.' Meaning, you got hurt in Egypt. You got badly hurt. But don't you then become an oppressor because you got hurt. It's so easy for the oppressor to go and in a very deep and profound way become an abuser. Now I'm not accusing anyone of anything. What do you do with your hurt? Do we evolve it? Do we heal it? Do we recognize that we all hurt each other and that hurt is part of relationship? Or do we demonize the person that hurt us and say that he has a lifelong abuse of power? Do I then file complaints because a whole sexual hysteria takes place that's not true.

"I don't think anyone intentionally filed an untrue complaint but there was a hysteria. All of a sudden, everyone at Bayit Chadash is going crazy. I never made any false promises to marry anyone. I took a polygraph on that. I never deceived anyone into a sexual relationship. I took a polygraph on that. I never inappropriately deployed my authority as an employer or as a {teacher}. I took a polygraph on that. I'm sorry to go down the list. I won't bore you with the whole story. Of course not.
{to be clear NONE of the relationships with any of the complainants was formed in the matrix of a formal teacher student relationship. The sexual relationships were formed either when the person was NOT IN MY EMPLOY or or the possibility of a relationship was discussed BEFORE the person came to my lectures; or the third case some twelve years ago with an unpaid intern volunteering in my office}
"I shouldn't have been in relationships. I should've held my private life completely separate from Bayit Chadash or any where else where I ran an organization and if I didn't, I should've made it transparent. But to actually not be transparent and to be involved with people from my circle turned out to be impossible. Did it need to translate into what it did? Of course not. Did it become a kind of hysteria and McCarthyism and insanity and then blogged into the old stories in an inappropriate way? It did.

"Let me address this directly on the public record. My former wife Chaya wrote a long letter, the famous Chaya letter, which appears in this and that place online. I've written a long response which I'm not going to publish {unless she attacks me again} because we should be responsible for the ways we hurt each other in our marriage not through blogging. That's actually not the way it is supposed to work.

"There is one thing I'm going to say-{ which she said} that was completely inappropriate. She said he told me 'the old stories were true.' Not at all true.

"I polygraphed this. Again. I told her very clearly that the descriptions online were completely untrue. I told her the exact same thing I told you today. That got distorted to 'Gafni said the old stories are true.' I never said anything vaguely like that. That then made the people who backed me think 'He completely lied to us about that', which is also not true.

"Because everyone is now self-protecting themselves in case they, God forbid, get accused of not protecting women, everyone moves into a self protective stance. 'Let's sacrifice Gafni and go home.' I basically became the sacrificial lamb.

"And, if that is the only thing I have to say, that's victim talk. Right? That's not the only thing I have to say. I'm not sitting here saying only 'The bastards did it!'

"A. I'm saying the police complaints weren't true. I don't even know if the women made police complaints. Maybe they were distorted in the press? So I'm not blaming the women. I'm just saying this whole thing that got reported just wasn't true.

"B. It never should happened that way. There should've been a healing circle. We should've talked to each other. It should've been facilitated. It should've been handled privately. Right? All those things.

"C. I had a part in the contribution system that created it. I didn't see it coming. The relationships should've been either transparent or nonexistent.

"I've actually thought about it. People pushed me, Luke, for a year 'to take responsibility.'

"For what? For people who've lied about the nature of my sexuality? What exactly am I supposed to take responsibility for? Of course you're in the New Age world. It's your creation. You've got to take responsibility!

"So I actually worked really hard. What can I take responsibility for? I actually made a list of 15 things that I wrote up and that I'll actually publish in a book on this. I take responsibility for all of those 15 things in a very serious way. Between that and sexual harassment is a million miles. Those are two different things completely. Between that and Vicki Polin's website is a different galaxy.

"But you've got to take responsibility for what you've got to take responsibility for. Clearly I had a part in the contribution system that created this. Hopefully that will deepen something in me.

"Let me go to maybe the last part as we wind down. This is what you asked me outside. In our sacred context, I brought you out here. I don't want to bring you out here on a pretext. I told you I'll talk in the first-person.

"It's not even imaginable how painful this was. Literally, people leave you to die, and they think you left them in connection with why are you going silent?

"You've got a group of people saying they're breaking the silence when I'm the only person being silent.

"Why am I not talking? Because. I have a couple of lawyers around me who say don't say anything. Why can't I not say anything? Because you have to recover my computer's hard drive. You have to gather information {in many ways which we did}. Israel is the only country in the world where sexual harassment is a criminal offense.

"If I wasn't able to recover all this information, not only my harddrive and not only my email and my instant messages but an enormous amount of other information which I'm not going into here which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt... That Catalyst [magazine] article which was a very serious investigative article that looked very carefully at all this first-person information as written, if I had not been able to collect that, I would be completely and totally vulnerable. I had to spend like a year collecting that information. During that year, I left an empty chair.

"Now, in the beginning, I wrote this letter. As you correctly ask, why did you write that letter? I took all the sickness that happened upon myself.

"I wrote the letter as I said on my website for four reasons. A. Out of complete shock and trauma. I'd like to tell you I saw this coming. I didn't see a thing coming. I was completely... I knew there was stuff out there. As you said earlier, that was your image, there was blood in the water."

Luke: "Yeah."

Marc: "I had no sense that this level of what I experienced as betrayal could happen.

"I'm not accusing anyone of betrayal, but I experienced a massive betrayal. I had no idea it could happen. None.

"First off, I was so traumatized, I literally couldn't breathe. Literally, I couldn't get a breath out. I would cry literally like every three minutes. I would just burst out with complete and horrible tears. It's not even describable now. It sounds almost pathetic but it wasn't pathetic. It was just... I was literally...

"At a certain point, I came to Salt Lake and I called up a friend here in Salt Lake and I said, 'I literally don't want to live out the day. I'm done. , this is so wrong. No one's listening to me. There's a complete Kafkaesque trial in place. It's so, pardon the expression, it's so fucked. Everyone's running and hiding for cover and painting these connections that don't exist. And instead of allowing me to say, 'Hey, let's all take responsibility for this', now I'm being crazily demonized. I'm just done.'

"My whole life has been about service. This is not service.

"I was just crying uncontrollably. I just shut my eyes and prayed to God I shouldn't wake up. I called my friend and said, 'Hey, I'm done.' She said, 'Let me get it straight. Are you committing suicide or are you just dying?' I said, 'I'm just dying.'

"She said, 'OK, call me when you wake up.'

"Three or four times, I literally thought my life was leaving my body. I was teetering on the edge there. For whatever reason, almost unfortunately, I woke up.

"Little by little, I gathered my strength. Little by little, I began to try to look at it and little by little I tried to understand what happened here. Little by little, I tried to move out of demonizing other people and to truly understand what's the complexity of this. What is my part? What's their part? Where is it a large historic purification and liberation? Where is it a cultural story? Where is it a personal story? Where is it a Gafni early childhood story? Right? There are a lot of stories you can tell. Different prisms. Rashamon.

"I could tell this as a Gafni early childhood story. I could tell it as a victim feminist the bastards story. I could tell it as a Gafni personal responsibility story. I could tell it about a past life karma story. I could tell it about a liberation story. There are a lot of ways to tell the story and everyone thinks they've got it.

"Every time I would talk to someone, I won't mention any names, but serious people, and they would say, 'This is what happened. This is why it happened. And if you don't take my advice, you're gone.'

"An hour later, I'd talk to someone else and they'd tell me the exact opposite. 'This is what happened. And if you don't take my advice, you're gone.'

:"At a certain point, I just had to go inside. At a certain point, I had to let go of Mordecai Gafni's existence. It was too painful. I just couldn't live it. And so something happened that never happened in my life before. But it was not because I was meditating well. It was not because I reached through my deep spiritual practices an exalted state. It happened because I was in such radical pain. I had a choice. I was either going to die, which I was very close to, or through grace and step out. Leaving the I. Taking refuge in the Buddha. You're just before God.

"Little by little, I'm trying to describe to you the experience because that's what you asked me... My actual experience of life began to change. In other words, Luke Ford became not important. He's saying that, whatever.

"I began to live... I want to be really careful here because I don't want to claim it as spiritual greatness. It didn't come from greatness. It didn't come from practice. It came from either die or this. Two choices. I began to live completely here and now.

"I remember there was a waiter that smiled at me, not even a waitress like this morning, and I remember he smiled at me, and ohmigod, I was just basking. Someone just smiled at me.

"You just hugged a tree outside if I can reveal that. Luke Ford was outside hugging a tree.

"And that's how I began to live and to move into a different space. I want to be really clear. I don't want to over-claim something. It's not that I didn't go back to fear, I did, but I would go back into that space.

"What gradually began to happen is that I would live more and more in that space and less and less in fear. It was a gift. It was a gift I would never have gotten...

"I love to teach. I love to chant. I love to meditate. I love to live in divine space. You can tell that about me. You don't need me to tell you. I love Soul Prints. You're a shmuck that you don't like it.

"I would never have gotten to that space.

"Would I therefore not reverse it all? Of course I would reverse it all. Of course I would. Nobody would invite that level of pain, right? Ohmigod.

"That gives you the sense of the story. I want to wrap up by answering a question you asked earlier.

"What caused this? In my understanding, four different things caused this. The fifth is the most powerful, which is mystery. Meaning, it's beyond me. There's a mystery here and there's a human arrogance when you work it all out.

"My four are just in the realm of small understanding. Then there's big mystery.

"Part of what caused it is my own lack of wholeness.

"Meaning, people are hitting Hillary in the campaign. We talked about the campaign. You said you didn't follow it. A huge amount of shadow projection on Hillary which has got nothing to do with Hillary. Hillary's also has to look at what part of herself is a hook for the shadow. So, did I leave an empty chair? Was there an incredible amount of bullshit? Did people feel spurned and hurt? Of course. But just to dismiss it that way is the wrong way to go. I have to look at what in me is the hook for their shadow projection? There's always a hook.

"Clearly, my own lack of wholeness is a piece of the story.

"Two. Malice. People deny malice. People don't like to admit that malice exists. But malice is real. Malice is driven by a lot of things. People say, 'Gafni says it's about jealousy. How ridiculous.' But actually there was a lot of primal malice of the envy kind that was real. I felt it. I felt it in my body. It's a real thing.

"To see this 25-year old Gafni hunt that created a fertile ground for this, it created a prism through which everything can be viewed through that prism.

"Unless we're talking about violent sexuality or prepubescent molestation, almost everything in between, particularly adult sexuality, is viewed through a prism. If the prism's loving, it's good. If people lay a negative prism, you can make anything bad.

"There was a prism that was developed over 25 years that a couple of these people from 25 years ago participated in, and this fed into the prism.

"So, A, my own lack of wholeness. B. Malice. C. This prism.

"D. A cultural disowning of feminine shadow.

"E. My own bohemian lifestyle and a lack of transparency around it. Here I am a rabbi on the one hand and I'm leading a more bohemian lifestyle. There were times when I chose the integrity of a moment of love over the integrity of classical structures. I wasn't transparent about that because actually those two were in actually in conflict in me. The lack of transparency over that created enormous vulnerability.

"F. A larger purification.

"G. To move my life in a different direction.

"Those are all different ways to go. Of course what is going to happen is that everyone will pick one prism and say this is it. 'This is Gafni. Let's demonize him.' But those are all incomplete. Completion integrates all of them together.

"My way forward is not going to be the way of attack. It's not going to be the way of exposing people. {unless further attacked by these people in a way which leaves me no choice} Clearly I needed to stand up and say this sexual harassment abuse stuff, the crazy things written, Yediot Ahranot, wrote rape.

"I couldn't let... The women didn't make those false accusations. I got a copy of the letter one of the women wrote to the paper saying we never said anything like that. There was a blog that put it on and then erased it. But I needed to make a public statement saying that this and this was not true so that I could move on with my life.

"At the same time, I made a decision to take the high road. I'm not going to publish people's private correspondence. I'm not going to attack people. I'm going to own whatever I'm able to own in terms of my own responsibility and move on in a way that's healing.

"I can't contact any of the people in the story. The second a person files a complaint, you're not allowed to contact them. Even for healing. That's actually the law. People said, 'Why haven't they sat? Why hasn't he contacted them?' You are not allowed to. There has got to be a place where we all sit and own our part in the contribution.

"I know it is very hard for people to climb down the tree. It's very hard for spiritual leaders to admit that we abandoned this guy and left him to die. We weren't compassionate. It's very hard for people to own their own malice. Because of that, I'm not going to push my way back into any community. I'm not asking anything from anyone. I'm moving on. Where the openings are, I'll go.

"My primary future direction is in writing and movies. I have a huge interest in social activism. There are two organizations around that are very involved in combating genocide and human trafficking/sexual slavery. Two issues that have preoccupied me my entire life."

Luke: "You're against genocide?"

Marc: "Cute.

"I'd like to work actively on that.

"As things arrive, I'll share. Not as a classical rabbi nor as a classical guru, but as a spiritual artist. I'm going to share the teachings of Torah, the wisdom, the gifts that are mine to share. People who feel like they want to study with me, they should. The people who don't, they shouldn't. Totally fine.

"I'm committed to being a lover. I'm committed to loving people. I'm committed to not let my heart close because of this. I'm committed to not becoming bitter. I'm committed to keep an open heart.

"If I can leave you with one phrase. I'm sure you're going to hate it, Luke.

"But as Luke says that he hates it, let me make this clear to everyone listening, he's sitting there, he's been feeling the fragrance of a flower for the past hour. He does hug trees. That part of you might love this.

"When something happens to us in love, we can make it an insult and have to insult the person back. It can become a ritual of rejection.

"The other way to experience rejection is as a wound of love. Not as an insult of love. Can we practice the wounds of love?

"With that, I want to thank you for coming. It's a beautiful day. L'Chaim."