Thursday, July 17, 2008
The Randy Rabbi
Anyone read the July Catalyst's "Trial by Internet"/Marc Gafni piece? It's about a New Agey defrocked rabbi with a long history of sexual peccadilloes ("unconventional" and "bohemian" is how he prefers to describe his personal life). Two years ago, he "retreated" to Utah and lately managed to enlist editor/publisher Greta deJong, blogger Jeff Bell and even former SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson to rise to his defense and explain how how he isn't a sexual predator.
He claims that Internet bloggers of questionable character have placed him in their cross hairs and ruined his life.
Sexual improprieties have dogged Gafni since he was 19, when he allegedly became involved with a 13 year old. The Catalyst article characterizes the relationship as no more than "petting," and "mutually engaged." However, in a 2004 Jewish Week article by editor Gary Rosenblatt, Gafni explained his involvement by essentially blaming the girl: "I was a stupid kid and we were in love. She was 14 going on 35, and I never forced her."
Sorry, Rabbi, but had that played out in Utah, you'd have likely done time and then had yet another Internet headache to contend with: the state's sex offender registry.
Gafni’s not the first guru to grope nor is he the first high-profile guy to admit guilt and then try to wrestle his way out of the hornet's nest, claiming he was set up (Larry Craig, anyone?). That Rocky, a ladies' man himself, would speak up for a guy like Gafni in some ways is not surprising, but on a larger plane, it is.
I found myself wondering how the rabbi ended up here, in Salt Lake City, a land where even Jews are considered gentiles. Then a light bulb came on: our culture's begrudging tolerance of "Big Love." Here, we don't arrest guys with more than one wife. And the women, a few anyway, will even go along with it. Would seem to work well with his M.O.
Moral of the story: don't "do" the women you work or church with, and then only one at a time. And the old "hell hath no fury ..." Hey, even "powerful" women—evolved and spiritual feminists—get jealous. Guess you know that now. (Jerre Wroble)