Wednesday, May 31, 2006

What to Do with Gafni

Anonymous writes (commenting on Anonymous Shnononymous)

First of all - as one of [Mordechai Gafni’s] victims, it was not only one time he molested a minor, it was two. No "investigations" were made into these matters regardless of what various Rabbonim might tell you. As a victim I can tell you an investigation was not done.

Gafni is a predator - he will not just miraculously "get well," he has never admitted what he did in his past and still maintains notions of "love" and "seduction" with regard to his victims who were minors at the time.

You can rant and rave all you want about Vicki Polin, Luke Ford etc., but what appears forgotten is the victims that are out there, real people with real feelings who were harmed. This includes Gafni's current victims and the any of the prior victims - who knows how many may emerge from the woodwork.

Dear Anonymous,

For the record, I never met or spoke to Mordechai Gafni, and everything I know about him comes second hand. If you tell me he had illegal sex with two, rather than one minor, I must accept your version of the truth, because I don’t have a better, more direct source to rely on.

But I agree with you that the discussion of the ravages Gafni left behind, both earlier and later in his life, is overdue. Let me ask you then, what would you consider, in your personal case, to be the kind of arrangement after which you would feel that your grievance is satisfied?

Let’s line up the grievances as I’ve heard them, second hand:

  1. Sex with an under-aged person
  2. Sex with several women with false promises of marriage
  3. Sex with students impressed by Gafni’s charisma

A reliable arbiter should investigate and assess the extent of the damage sustained by each individual woman. I suspect the range of assessed damages might be as varied as the range of women who have had the bad luck to be swayed by Gafni. But my sense is that as long as none of them suffered physical damage, the dollar value set on their mental anguish would be limited.

Broken promises of marriage can bring in some monetary rewards, but since most of the sexual complaints are by adult women, who were, basically, consenting, the sums will not be large. But, of course, the better the lawyer, the higher the rewards.

But I must warn you that pursuing this case to the end will require a great commitment on your part; you’ll basically have to put your personal and professional life aside and commit to suing Gafni. And if you’re not the first one to sue him, he might be broke by the time you win.

Which brings me to the sad and real aspect of recovering from the kind of injury you sustained: It’s not about punishing the SOB who hurt you. It rarely is. It’s about rediscovering the powers within you to move on. You said I was “ranting and raving,” so I would assume that you don’t think I’m your friend. So I’ll tell you what I would have told my daughter, if, God forbid, she were in your situation: Let the guy rot, move on, get back into life.

I’ll share with you a personal experience.

Many years ago, my wife and I lost our one-year old baby. It was an opportunistic bacteria that ran through her body in one weekend. Our pediatrician was negligent. It was our first child, we depended on him for judgment, and he was basically ignoring us, even when we called in the middle of the night. By the time we finally brought her in, he was shocked by her condition and had us take her to the emergency room, where she passed away.

After the first month of mourning, we went to see our lawyer about suing our doctor. We sat with a battery of attorneys, and they began to prep us, set dates for depositions, etc., until it became very clear to us that pursuing the case, in which we were undoubtedly right and the doctor undoubtedly wrong, would require about a five-year commitment on our part. We would be deposed, we would appear in court time and again, we would be asked to re-live the most painful time in our lives, again and again.

We balked. And decided to put our energies in recovering from the tragedy. Which we did, slowly. Incidentally, the pediatrician’s wife lost her pregnancy shortly thereafter and he left the field permanently. So karma is still alive and well. The fact is that today the only thing I feel for that doctor is pity. I think my wife and I are in much better shape than he.

In my view it is inappropriate for anyone to write what Mordechai Gafni should do or not do. He is an addict who’s hitting rock bottom, and he will or will not seek recovery. The public discussion of the quality of his mea culpa, or the mea culpi of various Renewal movement leaders is embarrassingly prurient. As individuals we have the right to declare what our own needs are, not what other people’s needs should be. After all, what do you want him to receive? Jail? Not going to happen, not here, not in Israel. I’d be extremely surprised if it does. So, if not jail, then what? Apology? From a sex addict so deep in his disease he can’t help sounding presidential when pretending to ask forgiveness? What’s the value of that? Maybe in six months, if he were to ask to see you and to make amends to you, out of a new commitment to recovery, then it might have value. Now he would probably benefit most from just admitting that his life has become unmanageable.

So it’s not about Gafni, it never was, it’s about you, how do you come out of this creepy experience a strong and recovered human being? I suspect there isn’t a single thing Gafni can do or that can be done to Gafni, which would get you to that path of recovery.

With sympathy and affection,

Yori Yanover

Monday, May 29, 2006

Anonymous Shnononymous

(From an exchange on Luke Ford’s website)

Yori Yanover writes:

Luke -- With all due respect, the casual observer might jump to the conclusion that Vicki Polin and I are the only people you know who aren't anonymous. This is best shown by the most recent rush to kick Mordechai Gafni while he is conveniently on the ground. I don't mind the fact that his public apology, as well as the letters from Reb Zalman and several other Jewish Renewal folks be critiqued, even maligned. But must it all be done by anonymous rabbis and psychologists? Are we fresh out of people who can insult their fellow man and not hide behind the shield of anonymity? What's the justification for this protection, in the case of the two most recent rabbi and psychologist duo, for seeking to remain anonymous?

The Orthodox rabbi responds:

While Yori takes offence at the form – namely anonymous emails – though he should recognize that much of blogging and comments is an anonymous endeavor – what does he think about the content? I would assume that an astute social commentator as himself would have some response to the comment – and the authors identity should really be secondary. Or were the comments too strong – and if I did put my name would he have looked for ways to attack me – which is why he is frustrated at the anonymity. Was there any inaccuracy in my email? If yes he should point it out. If no – then why is the identity an issue? There have been hundreds of anonymous comments on this issue on blogs all over cyberspace – so I chose your blog which doesn’t take comments – which forces one to send you emails – why is this an issue?

Dear “Orthodox Rabbi Responds”

In a normative society, an accused has the right to face his accusers. It’s an elementary component of fairness and justice.

There are cases when the accusing party stands to be harmed, either by the accused or by a related agency; or when the accusing party is under aged, when we promote the protection of the accuser via anonymity.

But a grown Orthodox Rabbi like you, who faces his God three times a day and is at peace with his conscience, what justification does he have to don the hood of the anonymous witness?

My views on Gafni? I understand he’s been a brilliant teacher who couldn’t keep it in his pants. He broke the social code regarding employing one’s influence and status to get laid. He probably shouldn’t go back to teaching for a while, because, as I was led to understand, once he’s on a roll, he can’t help himself. The women he had sex with were not minors, save for one experience when he was much younger. In my view, Gafni should make amends in a serious, honest and meaningful way to the women he took advantage off, or he’ll never grow beyond this point of abuse and humiliation. If I were his spiritual consultant, I would recommend a detailed apology, including recanting his actions and a dollar value set on each offense. And then he gets forgiven and can start to seek the next step in seeking his spiritual wholesomeness.

I believe the prison system in every country is a horrible place which is against the spirit of Torah, degrading souls and subjecting human beings to daily abuse and torture. No crime at all should be punished with uprooting a person from his loved one and turning them into sodomized animals for a prescribed period of time. Prison is a crime against God and humans. Our Torah, as ORR knows well, prescribes the death penalty for intentional capital offenses, exile for unintentional capital offenses, and a detailed process of restitution for everything else. If a person is deemed chronically addicted to sexual assaults, we should probably consider long-term hospitalization. But advocating that Gafni, or any other human being, accept incarceration as justice, means turning a blind eye on the suffering and torment of the millions of incarcerated persons everywhere.

One last point, ORR says: “Or were the comments too strong and if I did put my name would he have looked for ways to attack me which is why he is frustrated at the anonymity.” That’s pure nastiness. As someone who gets a litany of my journalistic history, as well as reams of attributed writings I never authored plastered over endless screens every time I post my opinion, I resent the underhanded insult. If your record makes you vulnerable in this debate, what right do you have to comment on the sexual proclivities of another? If your record is solid, stop whining, ORR, be a man, put your name under your statement and argue like a grownup.

You know, Vicki Polin is a crazy lady, but at least she’s out there, name intact. Anonymity is a convenient way to stab someone in the dark and run away without having to watch them bleed. It’s cowardly and disturbingly pre-adolescent.

Yori Yanover

Sunday, May 28, 2006


This comment was entered by an anonymous contributor to an earlier item on this blog. I re-publish the exchange because it is an excellent testimony regarding Polin.

Anonymous said...

Very good, Yanover. I agree there is a problem, especially in the US, both with abuse and with some pretty unnatural repression. You made excellant points. I do believe some of that crowd is hysterical, but then a survivor of abuse could be excused for that tendency....

Anonymous said...

in answer to anonymous above

You say: I do believe some of that crowd is hysterical, but then a survivor of abuse could be excused for that tendency.... but Vicki Polin is not a survivor. Her family never hurt her or incested or victimized her. She enjoyed the most non-controversial of middle-class jewish, Skokie Illinois childhoods. Her family are poster-children for the average in "average american." What's her excuse for hysteria, rabies? Yet she claimed, twenty years ago, and still maintains that her father incested her and made her pregnant five times and forced her to kill and eat her fetuses in Frankist Satanic rituals together with others in the Chicago Jewish Community.

Seriously, how come Rabbis J Blau and S Porter, M Dratch and H Bilet and others can't get enough of sucking up to her like as though she were Snow White? The answer is that she picked a great cover for her activities. Who could be against an organization that fights to uncover child-abuse and domestic violence hidden by Jewish families? No one with claim to decency, right? Who would dare speak out AGAINST such an organiation like her Awareness Center?

Her genius is to couch her activities in clever sloganspeak. Like communists who claim to be fighting against the exploitation of the working class, or nazi skinheads who claim to be fighting against the international conspiracy to oppress white people, Vicki Polin knows exactly what to say to shut you up when you disagree with her. Try it and see for yourself.

She gets people to come onto the internet and write in support of her work. But you won't find people willing to write in support of her, herself. Because Vicki Polin is a predator and the Jews of Baltimore where she currently lives and battens onto people know her for real. You wouldn't find them writing in support of her. She relies on people like you, anonymous, duped by her slogans into defending her integrity. The people who actually know her in real-life who come online to write about her only have the most damning things to say.

The exception to the rule that people who know her all hate, revile and can remember nothing good to say about her is Rabbi Shlomo Porter. He's someone who actually knows her but still protects her, he gives her money and ignores any complaints he hears about her predatory behaviors. There is speculation that he knew her back in her Chicago days, perhaps he's an old boyfriend of hers or she knows something about him he'd rather she not publicize, but for sure he's the exception which proves the rule. Ask anyone who interact with her, who invites her into his or her house for shabbat or lets her sleep over when she needs a place to crash, they'll all say more or less the same thing, she's a user. She uses the frum Jewish hospitality system. She knows how to use the system. You'll hear the same refrain whichever person you ask, in whichever community.

Even in Baltimore where she preys on the frum community who generally refrain from talking lashon hara about shabbat guests, there's a quiet and growing awareness that she is a manipulator of unusual skill and initiative.

And when she diagnoses someone at the shabbat meal table as "oh, you were probably incested by your father" any response in disagreement with her will earn you a label as a denial-monger and potential guest on her shit-list for later. Trust me on this, don't try it.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mazal Tov, Hershy and Salome Worch

On your coming wedding

Tuesday, 3rd Sivan, 5766, May 30th, 2006

We've waited for so long for this moment, along with all your sweet and holy friends, praying for this combination of high mitzvoth, from
pidion shvuyim (redemption of captives) to chupah and kidushin, and all the mitzvoth in between.

Now, when the danger is lifted and Salome is among us in America, safe at last, it's time to rejoice.

May God bless you with many years of happiness and wealth.

Yori, Nancy and Yarden Yanover

Please consider this your invitation to join us at our Jewish Wedding ceremony

7:00 PM, Tuesday May 30th

Cong. Tiferet Israel, 6336 North Lincoln Ave, (cor. Drake) Chicago, IL 60659

We would be honored by your presence and the opportunity to dance and rejoice with you.

Yours truly,

J. Hershy & Salome Worch

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Some of you may be aware of the fact that for the last five years there has been a movement to glorify the accomplishments of a woman named Vicki Polin and an organization called the Awareness Center. firmly believes there is a problem in doing this. There have been numerous accusations that Vicki Polin abused the Jewish community's trust placed in her by attacking innocent persons, starting with her campaign to brand the Orthodox community of Chicago as Satan worshippers.

1. is looking for survivors of Vicki Polin who would want to be interviewed by a journalist and have their story published. If you are interested, please contact Yori Yanover for more information.

2. asks that whenever an article comes out regarding Vicki Polin you alert us, including a link on the page it was found.

3. asks that you write letters to editors requesting accountability in the portrayal Vicki Polin and the Awareness Center. Please forward your letters to and send a note giving us permission to publish your letter on our blog.

Vicki Polin is the most favorite Jewish author of both White Power and Muslim bloggers.

Thou shalt remove evil from among you. (Deut. 22:21)

Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. (Ex. 22:17)


Kindly read these posts detailing the serious issues associated with this porn monger:

To Luke Ford With Somewhat Apprehensive Affection

Show Her The Money

Consumer Alert: Before You Send Vicki Polin Money…

Beware The Sociopath Crusader

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Noticed Massive Traffic From Vicki Polin

Nancy Barkdull a.k.a. "Jane" I'm getting a lot of hits since she's directing people in her calls to action, this week we registered over 1000 visits for the first time. And with the new spotlight she can put on me and mordechai gafni the topic is hotting up still more.

I followed one of the links to call to action Rabbi Worch BDSM and she's got quite a spread there on me. with a photo and bits from the front page of open kabbalah_101. I'm supposing it is in retaliation for my posting pics of her on the front page of Open Yeshiva and making fun of her.

I also noticed "Jane" i.e. Nancy Barkdull has re-entered the list in jousting with you there. This is no doubt in sync with her newfound need to come snooping on all my web pages where I have stat counters. she visits all my web pages, Livejournal, Openyeshiva, kabbalah_101, at least once a day. I doubt she's looking for a snailmail address to send money to pay me what she borrowed from me...

I think the inivitation from Luke Ford (to give him an interview) comes on the back of these activities, he's acting at the urging of Vicki and Nancy and there is nothing benign in his intent.

's'what I fink

Hershy Worch


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Tshuvah Via Fratricide

What a delightful passage in Yisrael Medad's Kick them when they're down entry:

"Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar should also join the call for a full investigation, especially in light of the corruption allegations hanging over Metzger's head. Their support for an investigation of Gafni/Winyarz would do something to repair the damage those allegations have done to the profession of 'rabbi,' and would strengthen ultra-Orthodox claims to be concerned for the ethical make up of this country."

This may mark a path for repent for Gafni, too, in the best fashion of TV's Law and Order plea bargaining scenes: All he has to do is expose a rabbi even more depraved and call for his public humiliation. This is the funniest thing to hit the Jewish blogs ever.

Falsely Accused, and Trying to Prevent a Repeat Episode

A sobering note in the midst of the witch hunters' bowl...

A reputation is a fragile and precious thing.

It's true if you're a poor synagogue caretaker, and it's true if you're a Westchester lawyer.

Just ask Alfredo Vargas and Andrew M. Labella. Mr. Vargas was the loyal, indispensable caretaker at Congregation Adat Yisrael until his life was ruined in 2000 by a false accusation of raping a 4-year-old girl.

He was convicted in 2002 and sentenced to prison, then granted a new trial after congregants and other supporters, convinced that he could not have committed the crime and saying the girl's family had a history of alleging sexual abuse, rallied to his defense.

At the second trial last year, after the girl picked out two jurors as her assailant, he was acquitted but then deported to Nicaragua because he was in the United States illegally. (He entered legally in 1969 but failed to maintain legal status.)

Mr. Vargas, 69, now living with a sister in Nicaragua, won't get his old life back. The congregation has disbanded. He's not likely to return to the United States. He contracted lymphoma in prison and has had difficulty finding any work in Nicaragua.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Missing Link

Hi, Luke,

You may or may not know that the "Survivors" website is re-posting your entry on Dr. Aviva Weisbord from 5/21. I discovered it on my daily scanning of my own name online, which I do in anticipation of, perhaps, some day, joining the ranks of shame on VP's websites and mailing lists. The most interesting aspect of this re-post is the fact that all of the links from your original piece are copied copiously, save for one. Guess which (hint - it's in the following paragraph)...

Phil Jacobs, along with Gary Rosenblatt, were given the story of Vicki Polin's 1989 appearance on Oprah before anybody but never published anything on it. About six months after Phil and Gary had the story, I was given it by Yori Yanover and, after ascertaining the transcript's accuracy, immediately published it.

Have a day of peace,


(Needless to say, Mr. Ford was not surprised...)

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yori Yanover Denies Engaging in BDSM

"BDSM" are the initials for bondage-domination-sadism-masochism continuum of power-play games.

Dear Luke,

In the past, when you presented some bizarre notes about a guy using my name to rile up demonstrators against the WTO in Seattle, you wondered why I hadn't protested this misuse of my name, insinuating that by not doing that at the time, I must accept the fallout (there was none, but that's a different story).

Although this logic is reminiscent of the opening chapters of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, where an alien ship destroys the earth to make room for an intergalactic highway, telling the inhabitants they had ample time to contest the move in an office only a few light-years away, there was probably some practical wisdom in what you wrote.

Indeed, I've made it my habit to google myself at least once a week, just to stay on top of things. And what I don't find myself, I get by email. Like the email I received late Friday afternoon from a close friend: “Jewish Survivors is claiming now that you do BDSM games with all your friends -- and you don't invite us?!?!?!?”

I sighed, looked at my watch and went to my already closed Mozilla again, to discover the following sweet note on Jewish Survivors of Sexual Violence Speak Out: “I can't stop asking myself if Yori Yanover is also into BDSM like his friends? Let's not forget to mention his buddy Rabbi David Lipman who is a convicted child molester. I'm trying to remember if he's also friends with convicted sex offender, Kabbalah Coach - Rabbi Michael Ozair too?

“Luke Ford's been writing about it all week on his blog.”

I scanned up and down your blog and couldn’t find any mention of my name. Perhaps you did write about my taste for rough stuff and it escaped me. You’re welcome to set me straight.

Now, lest the scourge of Seattle repeat itself, I must stand in the city square -- your blog -- and proclaim that I never engaged in BDSM (which, not surprisingly, does not stand for Beis Din Shliach Mitzvah), nor is BDSM in any other way part of my erotic menu. I do not condemn consenting adults who enjoy it, I simply do not find it appealing in the least. It is sad that one’s reputation can be trashed so easily, but such is life.

One must wonder, however, what was the basis for that "casual" remark? I am not a public servant in any way. I am a private businessman and an author. I do not have employees nor students. I am not a rabbi. I was never accused by anyone of any sexual or other misconduct. Why, then, can an anonymous website make dark innuendos about me and get away with it, merely because they took care to add a question mark at the end of the nasty remark?

I’ll tell you why: Because I exposed Vicki Polin’s appearance on Oprah, where she “confessed” her ties to a satanic Jewish cult, baby-munching and all. I deprived her of credibility in a way she can never restore. And when the tape of that appearance, currently in the hands of one of her victims, will make it to the web, as it will, eventually, she will remain bereft of parnosah. This is why she hates me so much, and "can't stop thinking" about me. This is why she considers it par for the course to assault my reputation, even though I meet none of her definitions for people she normally torments. I’m the guy who proved she’s crazy.

So, anyway, the record is set straight again, I do not now, nor have I ever before engaged in BDSM. I welcome future inquiries regarding my bedroom habits, although I may be forced to charge a small fee.

Yori Yanover

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Scourge of Anonymity

My exchange with Mary Wilbur on

She wrote:

Misquotation, misrepresentation, disinformation, stupidity and ignorance spin the web of the world.

Anyone who has ever used credit, opened a bank account, or been employed (unless their documents are forged, falsified, or stolen) was, is, and always will be monitored. Privacy was finished the moment the fed started to collect income taxes (Taft) and issue Social Security cards (F. Roosevelt).

I wrote:

True enough. And so, credit card companies, for instance, have made it their policy to accept customer fraud claims first and ask questions later. As inconvenient, even damaging, as it is to vendors, they must accept this, or face the worse alternative, which is the loss of customers’ trust in their credit card companies and credit card purchasing.

Likewise, I believe, in the marketplace of ideas, because of the vast possibilities for fraud, we should believe the accused and not the accuser, as our initial response. We should suspect claims of misconduct coming from anonymous sources. We should discard such claims when they’re not swiftly followed by official complaints to the authorities.

As we’ve learned from the Gafni and the few other abuse cases currently in the news, complaints coming from real people, in real police stations, are being treated seriously. This is why we opened those police stations tro begin with. But when we encounter anonymous accusers, we should opt, out of hand, to discard the accuser and believe the accused. Otherwise we end up with renegade institutions like the so-called Awareness Center, which makes its living on publishing anonymous pornographic notes in an endless parade of shame and ruin.

Anonymity, like secrecy, has a way of becoming toxic and malignant with extensive, habitual use. Quickly enough, it becomes a powerful destructive weapon, instead of a means to protect the weak.

A 20-year veteran of the Internet, active in online publishing since before Al Gore invented it, I care a great deal about the cumulative effect of toxic anonymity. In my opinion, it has long since departed from the region of free speech and has entered the area of cowardly terrorism.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Post Gafni Erotica

There are many notes that come to mind following the public humiliation of Rabbi Mordechai Gafni and the many good and decent people who have supported him. I’ll list them without any particular order.

For the longest time I’ve been troubled by the fact that nearly all the rabbis targeted by the Vicki Polin crowd have been egalitarian men of faith, whose mission has been to bring women into the synagogue. My thinking used to be that the kind of accusations Rabbi Mordechai Tendler and others have received were par for the course they had chosen. You spend time with women, married and otherwise, you’ll end up giving someone the wrong impression, and before you know it, your animal spirit gets the best of you. It makes no difference whether you did or did not do what you’re accused of. You exposed yourself by the very mission you’ve undertaken.

In the lexicon of the sex-victim cartel, there is no difference between a gang rape in some back alley and a liaison between a mature woman and her rabbi

But I think this is too pat an explanation, which is why I like this other thought I saw online someplace: Charismatic holy teachers have giant evil inclinations. Our Talmud teaches that anyone bigger than his friend has a bigger sex drive, too. It’s not easy, bringing people closer to the transcendental and not getting turned on by it. It revs you up, you become free of the set of moral codes which guide most of us – not because you consciously choose to drop them, it just happens.

The hasidic masters of the 18th and 19th Centuries guarded themselves with an ascetic lifestyle, many refusing to even look at a woman, much less permit one into their chambers. Indeed, when hasidic tales mention a master who went out of his way on behalf of a woman, his act is considered a brave thing, because he dared risk his piety to help a fellow human being, even a woman.

Alas, our pro-woman modern-Orthodox and New Age rabbis do not have this shield to guard and protect them. They permit and encourage women to come closer, and, like I said, they expose themselves to harm.

There’s only one device which can protect them under these dangerous conditions, in which their own resolve is being tested, and in which they stand to become objectified by men and women they’ve inspired: No secrets.

Secrecy is the source of all evil. Secrecy is a manifestation of fear and self loathing. Secrecy is the foundation of addiction. When we say to our children, “Don’t tell Mommy,” or “Don’t tell Daddy,” we imbue them with the seed of addiction. When a spiritual teacher says “Don’t tell anyone,” he has just substituted addiction for intimacy. That lies and other self-destructive actions follow is only to be expected.

Still, I cannot help but wonder about the blurring of the notion of personal responsibility as it is posited by the victimization crowd. In the lexicon of the sex-victim cartel, there is no difference between a gang rape in some back alley and a liaison between a mature woman and her rabbi. The term “predator” is assigned by these folks to, basically, any male who’s been accused by a female of sexual misconduct. It is an effective term, bone-chilling in its imagery, bringing to mind a wily puma flexing its powerful muscles to leap at an unsuspecting antelope. This image is so powerful, it automatically assigns the role of antelope to the female accuser, bypassing our critical evaluation. In many cases, unfortunately, it empowers the accusing woman into a puma, but one so wily and muscular, she destroys her prey irredeemably.

Behind the attempt to shame rabbis for their misjudgment lies a medieval urge to suppress our liberated spirits

I cannot shake the disturbing feeling that by elevating the liaison between a grownup woman and her rabbi to the status of rape we’re absolving women of sexual responsibility. Of course, women in the workplace, or in any other setup in which the man has the power advantage, are in a different predicament. In their case, being forced to consent to sex is a violation of their civil rights. But is it rape? Is the injury of having sex with one’s boss in some seedy hotel room equal to a physical rape in some dark alley?

When we lose our capacity to recognize degrees in evil, we run the risk of losing our capacity to avoid being evil. This is why the “Awareness Center” has destroyed so many innocent lives, with its ritualized pornography and its abandon of judgment and hesitation. This is why the few rabbis who are still affiliated with this center frighten me with their taste for the “guilty until proven otherwise” approach to conflict resolution. One of them, a Rabbi Blau from YU, even accused me of harassing him, because I criticized his actions online. Imagine that. I dared write that the great inquisitor was wrong. Ah, the things his Excellency must endure…

But recognizing degrees in evil is crucial to our development as individuals and as a society. And demanding personal responsibility of all grownups who are not feeble minded is also crucial to our public mental health. And magical thinking, by which we assign overwhelming powers of sexual suggestion to this or that rabbi, serves to infantilize us as a society. Just as no one can be hypnotized against their will, or made to do anything under hypnosis which they loath, so is the notion of irresistible sexual suggestion ridiculous and puerile. It is fine for a child to claim the candy made him eat it – but we expect grown men and women to exert more introspection and personal responsibility.

Alas, having been forced to live in the vicinity of Christians and Muslims these many centuries, we’ve absorbed these two cultures’ warped approach to eroticism and sexuality. It is mind boggling to me how the erotic sanity of our Talmudic sages, never mind our Biblical prophets, has been so eroded, to the point where we find the abhorrence of sexuality so appealing. In a regime of fear, with our phones and emails under scrutiny of government agents, we are being robbed of the eroticism which is so essential to our mental health. We need touching, we need looking, we need hugging and kissing, or we go crazy. And every time some sexual misanthrope celebrates the demise of a rabbi so addicted to his erotic needs he hurts others, we as a society lose another bit of our entitlement to a carefree erotic consciousness.

When examining the bloodthirsty charge of a few insane individuals to punish prominent spiritual leaders who supported Gafni, I urge you to weigh not just the civil rights of Gafni’s accusers, but also the future of our civilized and sane sexuality. Remember, behind the attempt to shame rabbis for their misjudgment lies a medieval urge to suppress our liberated spirits.

Now, as often is the case, I expect the cabal of sexual hysteria to quote this article out of context, email it around and altogether employ their typical crass methods to confuse what should be a gentle and complex discussion. As always, this cannot be avoided, and all I can do is express my profound gratitude at being me and not them.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Ned Lamont for Senate

Ned Lamont for Senate

Yours truly just spent $25 in contribution to the Ned Lamont for Senate campaign. It felt good. I’ve spent $25 and more in the past with much less gratification. I’ve taken the family to a lousy movie, and with popcorn and cokes we spent well over $25 and felt terrible afterwards. But not this time.

Net Lamont is a liberal businessman from Greenwich, Connecticut, who’s running for the Democratic party’s nomination against Joe Lieberman. I can’t stand Joe Lieberman. Yes, I know in the 2000 campaign I was crazy for Joe, I thought he represented everything that was wonderful about Jews in America – an Orthodox Jew who could climb to the second-highest post in the nation without having to dilute his faith.

I got into some bruising fights with Orthodox Jews who criticized Joe for his ambiguous answers on embarrassing halachic questions. If you Google it you’re bound to find it. I haven’t changed my opinion about those debates, although I wish I had been less bruising (and bruised). But what upsets me the most is how I could have been so wrong about Joe Lieberman himself. What a sellout he turned out to be, what a hack.

So I want him unseated, and I just spent $25 to help do it. Frankly, I don’t even care if Ned Lamont can defeat his Republican opponent in November, should he defeat JL in the primary. Joe is a Republican in Democrat clothing anyway. I feel he should be punished for brown nosing the worst administration we’ve had since the late 1920’s.

Go, Ned, go!

Lieberman's plight reflects party divided by war

Criticized for supporting Bush, the Conn. senator faces real competition for the first time since '88.
By Dick Polman
Inquirer Political Analyst

HARTFORD, Conn. - Behold the downward trajectory of Joe Lieberman's political fortunes.

In 2000, Connecticut's junior senator came within a few hanging chads of becoming vice president of the United States. In 2004, he ran for president but was blown out in the Democratic primaries by liberal voters who deemed him too hawkish on Iraq and too chummy with the commander in chief.

And now, in 2006, he has been reduced to ringing up local Democrats in his own backyard, seeking their help as he tries to save his job. Such is the plight of a politician who has become a punching bag for the antiwar base of his own party - and a national symbol of how this war is sowing bitter divisions among Democrats.
Lieberman now faces real competition for the first time since 1988 - from Ned Lamont, an affluent cable-TV entrepreneur and staunch war critic who is poised to challenge Lieberman in an August Democratic primary, with financial backing from the liberal bloggers who routinely assail the senator in language unfit for a family newspaper.