The Awareness Center closed. We operated from April 30, 1999 - April 30, 2014. This site is being provided for educational & historical purposes.
We were the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA); and were dedicated to ending sexual violence in Jewish communities globally. We did our best to operate as the make a wish foundation for Jewish survivors of sex crimes. In the past we offered a clearinghouse of information, resources, support and advocacy.
Vicki Polin's Letter to the Editor - The Re-Invented Rabbi
By Vicki Polin - Executive
Director, The Awareness Center
The Awareness Center - September 27, 2004
(The following letter was sent to The New York Jewish
Week in response to the article "The Re-Invented Rabbi")
Rabbi Marc Gafni (AKA: Mordechai Winiarz
The Awareness Center wants to thank Gary Rosenblatt
and The Jewish Week for the courage it took to publish the story on Rabbi
Mordechai Gafni (AKA: Marc Winartz, Mordechai Winiarz, Marc Gafni). We also
want to thank the three women who were brave enough to share their "alleged"
history of being sexually violated by such a prominent public figure. These
three women should be seen as heroes.
According to the article "The Re-Invented Rabbi", Rabbi
Gafni confessed to having sexual relations with a 13 year old girl. He pointed
out that he was "only 19 or 20 at the time of the relationship." According
to New York law, an adult is someone who is age 18 or over. Keeping
this in mind, Gafni's actions would be considered "statutory rape." But we
need to keep in mind that the "alleged" victim who was only 13 years old
at the time is quoted as calling this "relationship" as "repeatedly
sexually assaults over a nine-month period."
Rabbi Gafni is very fortunate that he committed this
confessed crime in the United States. If he would have been a few hundred
miles north in Canada, there is NO statute of limitation on sexual violence
committed against minors.
It's also hard not to believe the cases of Judy and
Susan. If Rabbi Gafni confessed to having a "sexual relationship"
with a 13 year old, how difficult is it to believe that he would also "allegedly"
sexually assault a 16 year old who was living in his own home, or the alleged
attempted rape of a 22-year-old woman.
Judy stated in her recall of her assault that Mordechai
was married to his second wife at the time, yet Gafni stated he only had
"adult relationships with women at times when he was single, and was never
abusive." He already confessed to having a "relationship" with
a 13 year old, so who's telling the truth?
The Awareness Center is the Jewish Coalition Against
Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA). We are an international clearinghouse of
information that deals with sexual violence in Jewish Communities around
the world. If you or someone you know has been sexually victimized, please
feel free to contact us.