Rabbi Mordecai Gafni Update

How come so many Jews employ multiple names?

From The Awareness Center:

Over the last few years various individuals have been monitoring Rabbi Mordechai Gafni’s where abouts.  After fleeing Israel, Gafni took a brief respite in Boston, prior to moving to Salt Lake City, UT.  We notified law enforcement there, yet because the women in Israel were to afraid to file a police report, it was impossible for the Israeli police to file a red notice with Interpol.

We need your help to make sure all women and children in Salt Lake City aware of Gafni’s presence.  I’ve been told the picture above is very close to what he looks like today.  If anyone has more updated information and or a more recent picture of him, please forward it to The Awareness Center immediately at:  VickiPolin@aol.com

For more information about the case of Rabbi Mordechai Gafni go to:
http://www.theawarenesscenter.org/gafni_mordechai.html

Winiarz/Gafni grew up in the midwest, yet went to both high school and college in New York. After college he became a Rabbinical student at Yeshiva University, yet did not get his rabbinical ordination (smeicha) from YU.  Instead, Mordechai Gafni obtained his ordination from Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.  

In 2004, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the spiritual leader of the Israeli community of Efrat, was going to revoke the rabbinic ordination he gave Rabbi Winiarz/Gafni many years ago when they had a close rabbi-student relationship. When Gafni heard of Rabbi Riskin’s wishes, he wrote a letter "returning" his semicha to spare his former teacher any further embarrassment.

In the early 1980’s, when Mordechai was nineteen he sexually abused a thirteen-year-old girl in her home.  It wasn’t until many years later that Marc Gafni confessed to the molestation while being interviewed by Gary Rosenblatt, editor of the New York Jewish Week.  Marc stated: "I was a stupid kid and we were in love," the rabbi said. "She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her."

In 1983 Mordechai Winiarz was married to his first wife. He was also a youth leader for a group called "JPSY" (Jewish Public School Youth). The group involved working with at risk teenagers.  It was during this time he was accused of molesting a fifteen-year-old girl and an attempted sexual…of a young adult woman.  At the time the rabbis accused him of cult like practices.  Both women went to various rabbis looking for help, yet nothing was done except he… [went] to Boca Raton, Florida.  

In 1991 he left the Unitied States to start a new life in Israel, changing his name to Mordechai Gafni.

In May, 2006 new allegations were made against …Rabbi Mordechai Gafni. This time the allegations were made by three women who filed a complaint with the police in Haifa (Israel). The new claims were of professional sexual misconduct / clergy sexual abuse.

Immediately after the charges were filed Rabbi Mordechai Gafni confessed and fled Israel for the United States. He first landed in Boston, MA, where it is believed he stayed with one of his many female friends. There were rumors that soon after arriving in Boston he continued on to Boulder, CO and stayed with a colleague and then moved on to Salt Lake City, Utah.

Marc Gafni is involved with the Buddhist community of Salt Lake City.  It is believed that he is in the process of trying to reinvent himself again as he did back in the 1980’s after the first allegations were made against him…

The Awareness Center is seeking justice for all of the survivors of Rabbi Mordechai Winiarz (past and present). If you have any information regarding the current location of Rabbi Marc Gafni please notify The Awareness Center, Inc.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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