May 21, 2006

Bayit Hadash leader fired for sexual misconduct

The Jerusalem Post


Rabbi Mordechai Gafni, a charismatic but controversial leader of the Jewish renewal movement, was dismissed last week from his position as spiritual leader and lecturer at Bayit Hadash, a Tel Aviv-based prayer and study community, amid allegations of sexual misconduct and exploitation of employee-employer relations.

With the help of sympathetic rabbis, Gafni, co-founder of Bayit Hadash, has been dodging accusations and rumors of sexual wrongdoings both here and in the US for two decades.

But even Gafni's most ardent supporters were forced to backtrack when, on May 9, three women filed a police complaint against him and provided attorney Eitan Maimoni with a sworn statement of his misconduct, and a fourth women, from an institution where Gafni previously worked, gave similar testimony before Bayit Hadash heads.

Jacob Ner-David, a co-founder of Bayit Hadash, who has known Gafni for 24 years, told The Jerusalem Post that he felt betrayed by him.

Posted by kshaw at May 21, 2006 07:05 AM