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

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You state:
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.

First of all - as one of his victims, it was not only one time he molested a minor, it was two. No "investigations" were made into these matters regardless of what varios Rabbanim 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 admited 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.

12:09 PM, May 31, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous overlooks a crucial factor in her criticism of your Vicki Polin - Luke Ford "rant". It is not you, USAJewish who sells the victim short. In their holy ranting stampede to 'expose' the real evildoers and sinners they trample the victims underfoot. Vicki Polin does us all a disservice with her so-called Awarenesscenter. Nothing but harm comes of it. No one is protected by her website, and all that wasted energy, smoke and mirrored chaff and noise obscures the quite desperation of genuine sufferers.

11:25 AM, June 01, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:24 PM, July 20, 2006  
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8:29 AM, July 22, 2006  

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