Sunday, September 30, 2012

Annie Arniel –– Activist for Human Rights

Before anyone could fight for the rights of survivors of sex crimes, we had to fight for women to have the right to be considered human.

If it wasn't for brave women risking their lives for us to have the right to vote -- the women in the 1970s would never have gathered in consciousness raising groups -- where they started learning how many were survivors of sex crimes.  We need to honor early human rights activists like Annie Arniel.

Chicago Area: Networking Group for Adult Survivors of Childhood Trauma

Just For Fun! –– The Leggo Sukka

This is for everyone's child within. Yonasan Schwartz, the owner of Toys to Discover (Brooklyn, NY) gets 5 gold stars for creativity!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

History of the Anti-Rape Movement in Illinois

By Polly Poskin
© (1996) Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA)
–– Illinois History ––

In early 1977, women activists from nine community-based rape crisis centers in Illinois gathered to “form a mutual support group…adding strength to any issue such as legislative action, and giving our strength to each other.” Searching for a name that reflected the profound social struggle necessary to end the degradation and rape of women, these activists named their group the Illinois Coalition of Women Against Rape (ICWAR).

 As early as 1972, rape crisis workers in Illinois had established 24-hour crisis lines, conducted education and training programs, created thousands of brochures, offered self defense classes, organized and marched in “Take Back the Night” events and devoted thousands of hours to helping victims heal from the devastation of rape. 

By linking their efforts through ICWAR, these early workers began their long journey to change the society. Like their sisters across the nation, coalition members advocated for legislative reform, insisted that police increase their arrest rates, demanded privacy for rape victims in emergency rooms and urged prosecutors to change plea negotiation procedures.

This monumental work, which forever changed the fundamental ways in which men related to women, was done primarily by volunteers. Rape crisis centers had very few resources other than dedicated activists. There was no formal education or professional training regarding how to do anti-rape work. However, once survivors broke the silence about the terror of rape, women devoted their minds, hearts, time and money to construct and sustain organizations that created the field of anti-rape work. These organizations changed practices in hospitals, police departments, the courts and within the field of psychiatry. 

Polly Poskin - Executive Director of ICASA
ICWAR received much support as it began its efforts. YWCAs, churches, synagogues, the National Organization for Women, women’s studies programs, the American Association of University Women, United Ways and others pitched in with funds, space and staff time. Several state’s attorneys and legal aid lawyers helped advocates sharpen their advocacy skills. And, the Illinois House Rape Study Committee forged political alliances to pass legislative proposals responsive to the needs of survivors. 

Victims and their advocates created rape crisis centers to fill a void – with a definition and purpose different than traditional mental health or social services. With the goals of social change, equality between men and women, and the fundamental principle of victim-centered services, the anti-rape movement offered a new model for institutional change and individual healing. In Illinois, this model gained recognition and credibility with each new accomplishment. 

ICWAR had multiple occasions to celebrate legislative victories. The Rape Victims Emergency Treatment Act standardized the collection of medical evidence. The Rape Shield Law made the victim’s sexual history irrelevant in a trial. The Illinois Criminal Sexual Assault Act overhauled sex crime statutes. Federal and state statutes authorized new categories of victim service funds. 

The first funding for sexual assault crisis centers, $148,889, was distributed by ICWAR to 12 centers in 1982. Later that year, four more centers were funded. Subsequent funds enabled centers to hire advocates, counselors and educators. Since 1982, centers have developed specialized services to meet the needs of children, adult survivors of child sexual abuse, teens and male victims. They have standardized volunteer training and developed curricula for conducting education and training programs. They have implemented protocols with hospitals and law enforcement agencies. 

ICWAR changed its name to the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) in 1984 and, with its many colleagues and supporters, continued to change the way the state responded to rape. Through the coalition, the centers adopted standards for local centers and created a governance structure to allocate funds, track contract compliance, and provide technical assistance to help centers maintain services in their communities. ICASA continues to work on the cutting edge of legislative reform and to advocate for social change and the elimination of the oppressions that promote sexual violence. 

We must remember that rape is a product of our culture, a culture that has created, fostered and perpetuated the reality that some individuals by virtue of their race, gender and/or their acquired status are treated better than others. We cannot forget that truth when we hear challenges and criticisms about how and where and by whom this work is done. 

When working with police, prosecutors, mayors, state legislators, congregational representatives and other professionals, it is very easy to get a sense of being next to power. 

Yet, the anti-rape movement is far too young and has too few victories for us to think we are one with the powers that be. We have achievements and accomplishments in the effort to stop rape and support victims that no one dreamed of 30 years ago, but we are still underdogs – still asking for justice, pleading for justice, waiting for justice. 

The temptation to see rape as “others” do may be compelling, but we must remember that rape is a cultural phenomena and not just a single criminal incident. The temptation for a little relief from always being the “hold-out” in a collaborative effort is overwhelming. And, sometimes, after negotiating and debating and holding out for what you know is “right,” it would be a relief to simply accept the compromise position. It is not fun to be the conscience of a group, but if you are in the meeting because you are “the rape lady,” then you are there as an advocate for the survivor and an agent for social change on the crime of rape. Martha Burt, Janet Gornich and Karen Pittman’s words in 1984 are still pertinent today: 
 This work is never easy, either in terms of time or of the psychological stresses of repeatedly confronting the realities of rape in this culture. In addition, it seldom pays very well, if it pays at all. Thus the fact that so many people continue to do this work is encouraging. We take it as a sign of how well the feminist movement’s political activity raised issues surrounding rape and galvanized many women to devote their energies to trying to stop it and ameliorating the consequences. The movement’s insistence that society bears some responsibility for changing patterns of sexual assault continues to guide the activities of many rape crisis centers. For most women working in rape crisis centers, their activities reflect some level of commitment, often very great, to helping women help themselves recover and emerge strong after an assault experience…4 
 As we head into the future, ICASA is proud of its 23-year history of speaking out – and acting – on behalf of sexual assault survivors. At a conference of the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Sandra Butler, said: “While it is true that none of us will live to see a world of safety for women and children, we still celebrate our lives of meaning and purpose, passion, commitment and connection. We celebrate the ways in which we understand that none of us can make individual transformation without collective transformation.” We can work together to make this a more supportive nation for survivors of sexual assault and ultimately to stop rape so that one day the rape crisis services of which we are so proud are no longer needed. 


1975     Rape Victims Emergency Treatment Act passes the Illinois General Assembly and is signed into law.

1977     Illinois Coalition of Women Against Rape (ICWAR) is formed.

1978     Rape Shield Act becomes law for sexual assault victims in Illinois.

1981     Federal Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant is signed into law. Illinois Department of Public Health receives allocation with designation for Rape Crisis and Rape Prevention.

1982     ICWAR receives first Preventive Health and Health Services Block Grant allocation of $148,889. ICWAR creates its first Contracts Review Committee and allocates funds to twelve centers.

1983    Illinois Criminal Sexual Assault Act is signed into law, revising Illinois rape and incest statutes.

1983-84 Confidentiality of Statements Made to Rape Crisis Personnel grants absolute privilege to sexual assault victims.

1984  Illinois Violent Crime Victims Assistance Act is signed into law, making funds available for counseling and advocacy.

1984     ICWAR changes its name to the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA).

1984   Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) passes Congress; states receive notice of future funding for victim services.

1985  ICASA receives one-time grant from the Illinois Department of Public Aid for counseling services.

1985     ICASA granted its first allocation of state General Revenue Funds.

1986     ICASA receives its first allocation of federal VOCA funds from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

1988     Law is passed prohibiting polygraph examination of sexual assault victims.

1988     Hearsay Exception is granted to child sexual assault victims under the age of 13.

1991     Civil Statute of Limitations for Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse becomes law.

1992     Citizens vote “yes” for the Illinois Constitutional Amendment for Victims Rights.

1994     ICASA receives allocation for the SACY Project from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

1994     The Violence Against Women Act is passed by Congress and signed into law.

1996     ICASA receives VAWA funding from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

  1. Levine, Suzanne and Harriet Lyons, eds., The Decade of Women: A Ms. History of the Seventies in Words and Pictures, Paragon Books, New York, 1980, pp. 6-24.
  2. Schecter, Susan. Women and Male Violence: The Visions and Struggle of the Battered Women’s Movement. South End Press, Boston, 1982, p. 35.
  3. Butler, Sandra. “Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Celebration,” A speech to the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault Conference, San Francisco, CA, November 1996.
  4. Burt, Martha, Janet Gornich and Karen Pittman. “Feminism and Rape Crisis Centers,” A Research Paper, The Urban Institute, Washington, D.C., 1984, p. 23.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Punk Jews - Survivors of Child Abuse / Neglect?

Not everyone who is OTD (Off the Derech) or consider themselves as being a "Punk Jew" are survivors of any form of child abuse or neglect, yet a large percentage of them are. For that reason, The Awarenesss Center wanted to share this film clip with you.  For more information about Punk Jews - The Documentary: CLICK HERE

Just For Fun: Sukkot

One of the most important aspects of healing from sexual abuse/assault is being able to either introduce or reintroduce fun into your life.  Below are some FUN youtube clips.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Offending Rabbi Working At Hillel - Rabbi who was ousted for inappropriate relationship assists in services

Offending Rabbi Working At Hillel - Rabbi who was ousted for inappropriate relationship assists in services
No matter how many times we warn institutions, no matter what facts they are aware of, they still put unsuspecting individuals at risk of harm.  We've seen it with Marc Gafni, Hershy Worch, Matis Weinberg, Ephraim Bryks -- and now we will all have to sit back and watch and wait for Charles Shalman to reoffend. 


Rabbi who was ousted for inappropriate relationship assists in services

The Buffalo News - September 27, 2012
BY: Jay Tokasz

Rabbi Charles Shalman - Offender of clergy Sexual Abuse
Rabbi A. Charles Shalman, expelled in 2008 from the worldwide Rabbinical Assembly amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a member of his congregation, has resurfaced as a featured participant in High Holy Day services at Hillel of Buffalo.

Shalman assisted last week during Rosh Hashana services at Hillel, the primary Jewish student organization on the University at Buffalo campus, and he is slated to do the same again tonight and Wednesday for Yom Kippur, Judaism's most solemn holiday.

Shalman's return to the pulpit as Torah reader has caused considerable consternation in some circles of the Jewish community, including a letter from a local rabbi to the Hillel board chairman strongly objecting to the move.

"We all know that Rabbi Shalman is a gifted, knowledgeable and charismatic teacher. However, given his refusal to own up or change, it is not appropriate for him to work with the young, vulnerable student population at Hillel," Rabbi Keith M. Karnofsky wrote in a letter obtained by The Buffalo News.

The letter was addressed to Hillel board Chairman Dan Lenard.

Karnofsky also wrote that leading High Holy Day services "imposes an additional requirement that the leader be above reproach" because his "misdeeds can reflect upon the congregation."
Karnofsky, who is currently the president of the Buffalo Board of Rabbis, said in a brief telephone interview that he stood by his letter but that it was his opinion, not a statement on behalf of the rabbi board.

He declined to comment further on Shalman's role in worship at Hillel.

Shalman served as rabbi of Temple Shaarey Zedek in Amherst from 1995 until his resignation in 2008, when he was accused by a member of the synagogue of having an inappropriately close relationship with the member's wife.

It was the second time in his tenure at Temple Shaarey Zedek that Shalman faced allegations of misconduct. In 1999, an investigation by the Rabbinical Assembly's ethics board concluded that Shalman had violated several principles of rabbinical conduct in his private counseling or teaching sessions with female members of the synagogue. The violations including improper touching and suggestive comments.

The congregation voted to retain Shalman, who had to undergo therapy and refrain from any future one-on-one teaching with women.

But following the 2008 allegation, the Rabbinical Assembly expelled Shalman, effectively meaning that synagogues affiliated with the Conservative Judaism movement cannot hire him.

Hillel is not affiliated with a particular movement, and Lenard on Monday defended the organization's use of Shalman in its High Holy Day services. The Hillel board twice, by a 9-2 vote, approved bringing Shalman aboard this year, said Lenard.

"He was a wonderful altar rabbi, and we needed somebody to read Torah for our liturgies," said Lenard, who described Shalman as a friend.

Lenard pointed out that Shalman was not acting as a rabbi or counseling anybody and that a cantor hired out of Chicago was in charge of leading the services.

"What he brings to the pulpit is a tremendous knowledge of Torah," said Lenard.

Lenard also said Shalman has never been accused of any crimes and deserves as second chance.

"The guy is human," he said. "What we've got here is a guy who made a big mistake, showed a lack of judgment and paid a tremendous price for it."

Some members of Shalman's former congregation want to make him into a pariah, added Lenard.

"This is a time of forgiveness in the Jewish religion," he said. "Put it behind."

Shalman declined to comment for this story when reached Monday.

Some members of the Jewish community objected to Shalman's pulpit duties with Hillel but said they were uncomfortable speaking out publicly on the matter.

One father of a University at Buffalo student expressed concern about Shalman's pulpit sermonizing leading students to seek him out after the services.

"If a student would assume he's a rabbi and would want to go to him for advice - especially a female student - I would hesitate as a parent to have my daughter go talk to him," the man said.



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Monday, September 24, 2012

How child molesters get away with it

by Malcolm Gladwell

The New Yorker - September 24, 2012

Jerry Sandusky built a sophisticated grooming operation, outsourcing to child-care professionals the task of locating vulnerable children—all the while playing the role of lovable goofball.
In a 2001 book, “Identifying Child Molesters,” the psychologist Carla van Dam tells the story of a young Canadian elementary-school teacher she calls Jeffrey Clay. Clay taught physical education. He was well liked by his students, and often he asked boys in his class to stay after school, to do homework and help him with chores. One day, just before winter break, three of the boys made a confession to their parents. Mr. Clay had touched them under their pants.

The parents went to the principal. He confronted Clay, who denied everything. The principal knew Clay and was convinced by him. In his mind, what it boiled down to, van Dam writes, “is some  wild imaginations and the three boys being really close.”

The parents were at a loss. Mr. Clay was beloved. He had started a popular gym club at the school. He was married and was a role model to the boys. He would come to their after-school games. Could he really have abused them? Perhaps he was just overly physical in the way that young men often are. He had a habit, for example, of grabbing boys in the hallway and pulling them toward him, placing his arms over their shoulders and chest. At the gym club, he would pick boys up and turn them upside down, holding them by the legs. Lots of people—especially gym teachers—like to engage in a little horseplay with young boys. It wasn’t until the allegations about Clay emerged that it occurred to anyone to wonder whether he might have been trying to look down the boys’ shorts.

“We weren’t really prepared to call the police and make it into a police investigation,” one of the mothers told van Dam. “It was an indiscretion, as far as we were concerned at this point. It was all vague: ‘Well, he put his hands down there.’ And, ‘Well, it was inside the pants, but fingers went to here.’ We were all still trying to protect Mr. Clay’s reputation, and the possibility this was all blown up out of proportion and there was a mistake.”

The families then learned that there had been a previous complaint by a child against Clay, and they took their case to the school superintendent. He, too, advised caution. “If allegations do not clearly indicate sexual abuse, a gray area exists,” he wrote to them. “The very act of overt investigation carries with it a charge, a conviction, and a sentence, a situation which is repugnant to fair-minded people.” He was responsible not just to the children but also to the professional integrity of his teachers. What did they have? Just the story of three young boys, and young boys do, after all, have wild imaginations.

Clay was kept on. Two months later, after prodding from a couple of social workers, the parents asked the police to investigate. One of the mothers recalls an officer interviewing her son: “He was gentle, but to the point, and he wanted to be shown exactly where Mr. Clay had touched him.” The three boys named other boys who they said had been subjected to Mr. Clay’s advances. Those boys, however, denied everything. A new, more specific allegation against Clay surfaced. He resigned, and went to see a therapist. But still the prosecutor’s office didn’t feel that it had enough evidence to press charges. And within the school there were teachers who felt that Clay was innocent. “I was running into my colleagues who were saying, ‘Did you know that some rotten parents trumped up these charges against this poor man?’ ” one teacher told van Dam. The teacher added, “Not just one person. Many teachers said this.” A psychologist working at the school thought that the community was in the grip of hysteria. The allegations against Clay, he thought, were simply the result of the fact that he was “young and energetic.” Clay threatened to sue. The parents dropped their case.

Clay was a man repeatedly accused of putting his hands down the pants of young boys. Parents complained. Superiors investigated. And what happened? The school psychologist called him a victim of hysteria.

When monsters roam free, we assume that people in positions of authority ought to be able to catch them if only they did their jobs. But that might be wishful thinking. A pedophile, van Dam’s story of Mr. Clay reminds us, is someone adept not just at preying on children but at confusing, deceiving, and charming the adults responsible for those children—which is something to keep in mind in the case of the scandal at Penn State and the conviction, earlier this year, of the former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on child-molestation charges.

Jerry Sandusky grew up in Washington, Pennsylvania. His father headed the local community recreation center, running sports programs for children. The Sanduskys lived upstairs. “Every door I opened, there was a bat, a basketball, a football somewhere,” Sandusky has recounted. “There was constant activity everywhere. My folks touched a lot of kids.” Sandusky’s son E.J. once described his father as “a frustrated playground director.” Sandusky would organize kickball games in the back yard, and, E.J. said, “Dad would get every single kid involved. We had the largest kickball games in the United States, kickball games with forty kids.” Sandusky and his wife, Dottie, adopted six children, and were foster parents to countless more. “They took in so many foster children that even their closest friends could not keep track of them all,” Joe Posnanski writes in “Paterno,” his new biography of Sandusky’s boss, the former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno. “Children constantly surrounded Sandusky, so much so that they became part of his persona.”

One Step Closer to Giving Female Survivors of Sex Crimes A Chance

Every time a law gets passed giving equality to women means female survivors of sex crimes stand a better chance in the legal system in protecting their rights to say NO when it comes to sexual harassment, sexual abuse and all forms of sexual assault.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Women's History: Civil Rights For women

PICTURED ABOVE: International gathering of woman suffrage advocates in Washington, D.C., 1888. Seated (left to right) are Alice Scotchard (England), Susan B. Anthony (United States), Isabella Bogelot (France), Elizabeth Cady Stanton (United States), Matilda Joslyn Gage (United States), and Baroness Alexandra Gripenberg (Finland). The names of the individuals standing could not be determined.

Honoring Margaret Sanger

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Honoring Margaret Sanger

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Being an educated consumer: Jewish Survivors of Sexual Abuse/Assault

Confidentiality: Advocating for Survivors of Sexual Abuse 
The history of the Anti-Rape Movement within Jewish communities worldwide really got started over fifty years ago when Marcia Cohn Spiegel realized her husband had been an alcoholic for many years. Marty did what many women did back in the 1950s ad 60s, and went to her rabbi and then a Jewish psychotherapist for help. Like in many problematic marital situations back then (and sadly what still goes on today) -- women were told that the it must be something they was doing wrong that would cause her spouse to drink. Marty was devastated and could never figure out what it was that she was doing wrong. It would take another ten years from the time she originally spoke with her rabbi that Ms. Cohn-Spiegel joined a feminist consciousness raising group. It was at that point she realized that she was NOT alone nor to blame for her husband’s behavior.

During the 1970s other Jewish women who were living with alcoholic husbands and or with domestic violence situations (which included cases incest and marital rape) began to communicate with each other. It was at that time that Marty realized that she had to take on a more active role and something to change the Jewish worlds view, attitudes and behaviors regarding these issues.
Marcia Spiegel-Cohn
Marcia Cohn Spiegel had already received her undergraduate degree in psychology back in 1949, and had been an active volunteer in various non-profit groups, when she went back to get her graduate degree in 1976. She basically went back to school so that she could learn how better to help Jewish survivors.

Having the right education, training and supervised experience is critical to being able to really learn the best ways to help and advocate for others. Unfortunately, over the past few years the anti-rape movement within the Jewish community has been hijacked by a small group of people who feel they know what they are doing, even though very few of them have any specialized training in advocating for others, let alone in how to help guide survivors in the healing process.

Due to of the lack of training of these “lay advocates”, many survivors of sex crimes who have been reaching out for help are getting hurt. The scary part is that these “lay advocates” due not understand the importance of confidentiality, listening to the needs and wants of each individual survivor and often just follow their own personal agendas. 

Due to lack of training and these “lay advocates” are not certified or connected to a legitimate rape crisis center -- meaning there is no legal protections for those utilizing their services. If a “lay advocate” should breach confidentiality, there is no legal recourse that could be taken. It is as if you shared a confidential secret with friend and the confidential information was shared with others. There would be nothing legally that could be done, unless prior to sharing the information a confidentiality agreement was signed by both parties.

In the state of Illinois, along with several other states -- a certified rape victim advocate is protected from them being subpoenaed in court of law regarding what is shared between a survivor and the activist. Survivors can confide in rape crisis center counselors and advocates, knowing that they run little risk of having those communications disclosed publicly unless they consent to such disclosure.

It’s important for survivors of sex crimes to be educated consumers when they are asking for help. It’s great to have friends and family members who are supportive. For many, it’s a vital part of their own personal healing process. If you’re looking for help after being sexually victimized, one of the best places to start off is with your local rape crisis center. Not only can they offer you legal advocacy by legitimate activists, they also help direct you to both medical and psychological counseling by professionals who have the right training, education and experience. 

Over the years survivors from the Torah observant world have been afraid to go to agencies outside of their communities for fear the organizations would not understand their unique cultural differences and needs. Though each person’s wants and needs are different, it’s important to know that those who work in legitimate rape crisis centers have to have course work in cultural diversity training. 
Meaning, the majority of counselors, medical and legal professionals will do what they can to understand your unique situation. They are also bound by the confidentiality laws, which should reassure you that what you share with them will remain private. 

If you live in Illinois contact one of the rape crisis counseling centers associated with ICASA (Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault).

If you live in another state click here to find a legitimate rape crisis center in your community.

It's in your hands to make a difference

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Becoming A Sexual Abuse/Assault Advocate

Many people want call themselves a sexual abuse/assault advocate.  To be one the requirements is for individuals to complete extensive training to become certified to work with survivors in the Emergency Department setting. 

Requirements vary state to state and program to program. Many programs require a 40 hour in-depth training that teaches basic crisis counseling, the role of the criminal justice system and medical treatment of the survivor, as well as incorporating role playing, hospital visits, lectures and guest speakers including survivor panels, district attorneys, special victims unit detectives, sexual assault examiners and advocates.

Most programs require a commitment of at least one-year of on call service monthly as well as re-certification on an ongoing basis. 

Advocate programs exists often in conjunction with local hospitals or crisis centers. To find a program near you contact your local official Rape Crisis Center.

A Thought On Forgiveness

Healing From Child Abuse –– The Awareness Center, Inc.

Healing: Finding Inner Peace

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Vote for the rights of women on November 6, 2012

It's time for everyone to learn HERSTORY.  If it wasn't for the suffragist movement, there would be no Anti-Rape movement.  

Did you know it took women nearly 75 years to get the right to vote?  Many female activists were not only arrested and tortured, there were also many who were murdered in hopes of making the US government to realize that women were just as human as men.   Don't turn your backs on what these brave women accomplished.  In their honor be sure to vote on November 6th.

Equal Rights for Jewish Women in Synagogue

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer: Regarding rabbi Stanley Levitt (Zusia Levitt)

Rabbi Yaakov Hopfer's Warns Community about Rabbi Stanley Levitt - Convicted Sex Offender
The letter above is regarding the case of Rabbi Stanley Levitt who was convicted of sexually assaulting 3 boys back in the 1970s.  Over the years there have been other allegations made regarding this convicted sexual predator.  Levitt currently resides in Baltimore, MD

On August 16, 2012 -- Stanley Levitt's name officially appeared on Maryland Sex Offender's  Registry.

Confessed Sex Offender to Speak At Esalen - Marc (Mordechai) Gafni

 How long do you think it will be until Marc (Mordechai) Gafni offends again?

WARNING TO ALL WOMEN: Marc Gafni has a long history of luring in unsuspecting women in during retreats such as the one listed below.  In the past he confessed to sexually assaulting teenage girls and also to charges of clergy sexual abuse sexual abuse against adult women (New York Jewish Week).  At one point Marc Gafni was an orthodox rabbi.  Over the last several years, Marc Gafni was chased out of both the orthodox and Jewish renewal worlds, and is attempting to recreate himself once again.

Confessed sex offender, Marc Gafni will be a featured speaker at Esalen on November 9th.  He's  workshop is called "Falling in love with the divine".  Please contact Esalen, and remind them that if Gafni lures in another woman to offend at this event, they could and should be held liable in a court of law.  Esalen has bee warned in the past, yet it would be helpful if they were warned again.  

For more information on "ex-Rabbi" Marc Gafni CLICK HERE

CONTACT:   Esalen Institute

888-837-2536 or 831-667-3005




3rd Annual World spiritual Retreat: Falling in Love with the Divine
By Marc (Mordechai) Gafni
Friday, November, 9, 2012

Falling in Love with the Divine: Devotion and Tantra of the Heart, with Sally Kempton and Marc Gafni.

Please, delightful friends, register quickly – this weekend program will sell out. This is an event where you can experience a level of enlightened transformation that will blow your heart open and enlarge your perspective in truly significant and astonishing ways. This is an event that you simply won’t want to miss!

For many contemporary spiritual practitioners, devotion is a missing ingredient in their practice. Yet part of what gives practice its juice and excitement is the living relationship with the personal face of the divine—the Being-Intelligence of all that is—by which you are personally addressed, loved, challenged, and held. Devotion, heart practice directed toward a divine other, or the divine other in a beloved, is a secret of inner awakening, and a key to emotional healing and evolutionary transformation. It’s no wonder that some of the greatest sages and teachers of all time, from Rumi to the Hasidic masters, were also followers of the devotional path.

In this workshop, two heart masters merge their gifts in the service of the unfolding of your own secret heart-tantra. Awakened Heart meditation teacher and author Sally Kempton joins Dr. Marc Gafni, rabbi, author, and teacher of Kabbalah and evolutionary spirituality, for this unique offering. You’ll explore:

• How to see beyond the myth of god to the reality of divine presence

• Transformative insights from three great traditions about surrender to the divine

• How divine presence can both uncover and heal emotional wounds

• How to find your own right relationship with the personal divine

• How a relationship with the divine changes all other relationships

• How to balance discernment and trust

The weekend is layered with meditation, chant, partner work, contemplation, and deep dharma transmission.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Child Abuse and the High Holidays

Famiy Members of Sex Offenders

Recreating Reality: And the Cult Like Following of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

Everyone needs to read the book Against Our Will to help understand how and why Shlomo Carlebach got away with what he did for as long as he did. 

Shlomo Carlebach: The Writing Is On The Wall

Everyone needs to read the book Against Our Will to help understand how and why Shlomo Carlebach got away with what he did for as long as he did. 

Non-Reporting of sexual abuse in faith based communities

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Can Holocaust Trauma Affect 'Third Generation'?

Can Holocaust Trauma Affect 'Third Generation'?
Studies Debate Impact on Grandchildren of Survivors
By Josh Nathan-Kazis
Forward - September 5, 2012

Is learning about the Holocaust from your survivor grandparents more traumatic than learning about it from“ Schindler’s List”?

Apparently not, according to a new study by Perella Perlstein, herself an ultra-Orthodox granddaughter of Holocaust survivors.

That wasn’t the result Perlstein expected when she began the study, conducted while she was a graduate student at Hofstra University. Her work examined the responses of ultra-Orthodox grandchildren of survivors to psychological tests designed to measure symptoms of secondary Holocaust trauma.

Perlstein’s results, published in July in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Traumatology, found that these survivor grandchildren responded no differently from other members of the ultra-Orthodox community when it came to the Holocaust.

This is just one entry in a growing, hotly contested field of research into the psychological impact on the so-called “third generation” — the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors.

One researcher is looking at how the Holocaust may have altered the way genes are expressed in the grandchildren of survivors. Another is building questionnaires to measure how Holocaust trauma has affected the family experiences of second-generation and third-generation descendants. Others have already concluded that the Holocaust has no indirect traumatic impact on the third generation.

Even the terms of the conversation are up for debate. Some experts dispute the notion that trauma can ever be experienced second or third hand. Others say that the experiences of Holocaust victims are so diverse that no broad characterizations can be made about trauma’s impact.

“We are not in the area of science here,” said Chaya Roth, a clinical professor of psychology at the University of Illinois who has written on the intergenerational transmission of Holocaust memories. “We are in the area of hypotheses. So forget about truth.”

The study of the third generation is a relatively new field that has grown out of earlier research into the effects of the Holocaust on children of survivors. That work began in the late 1960s and early ’70s, concurrent with the fading of the taboos surrounding the discussion of the Holocaust and its psychological impact.

Some researchers at the time found individual cases suggesting that children of traumatized survivors could be at risk for symptoms of traumalike anxiety and depression. Others, who tried to repeat these findings in broader scientific studies, found less evidence to support the notion that trauma could be transmitted between generations.

The third generation has its own unique set of experiences, quite different from that of their parents. The second generation “grew up at a time when Holocaust survivors were shunned in society,” said Eva Fogelman, a therapist who has written extensively on the issue. “Grandchildren of survivors grew up at a time in society when Holocaust survivors had regained their sense of dignity…. We have a transformation from shame to pride in the third generation.”

As was the case with studies of the second generation, controlled epidemiological studies have so far found scant proof of intergenerational transmission of trauma onto the third generation.

One meta-analysis of the available research published in 2008 by an Israeli and two Dutch researchers found no evidence for what it called “tertiary traumatization.”

The authors of the study, which was published in the journal Attachment & Human Development, recommend that third-generation offspring be “stimulated to search for the roots of their problems in other directions besides the Holocaust experience of their grandparents.”

Those skeptical findings have left some researchers undaunted.

Yael Danieli - Clinical Psychologist
Yael Danieli, a clinical psychologist who has researched and written on the children of Holocaust survivors, is currently working on developing a survey that will help measure the experiences of the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. The project, funded by a $50,000 grant facilitated by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and the Anti-Defamation League, will create what Danieli says is the first measure of third-generation survivors’ experiences.

The survey, which is still in development, is headlined “Family Adaptation to Trauma.” It asks multiple-choice questions about family life among the descendants of survivors, and is designed for use in future studies by other researchers.

“The grandchildren literally forced us to look at them,” Danieli said. “It will be the first scientifically valid reliable measure of the experience.”

Other researchers are following different tracks.

Rachel Yehuda, PhD
Rachel Yehuda, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Mount Sinai Medical Center, is gathering subjects for a study that will examine whether the Holocaust could have actually changed how genes are expressed in the grandchildren of survivors.

Yehuda’s field, called epigenetics, rests on the notion that outside factors can change how traits are passed to children from their parents.

According to Yehuda, earlier studies have shown second-generation descendants to have a different capacity for stress than nondescendants of survivors. That could have been the result of an adaptive change triggered by the highly stressful experiences of their parents during the Holocaust.

Yehuda said that there are some case reports of third-generation descendants experiencing eating disorders and anxiety. Her current work could show whether those traits are broadly representative of the population.

“I think that [this research] should be done, because if there are intergenerational effects that last beyond one generation, it’s important to know,” Yehuda said. “It’s not going to just be about the Holocaust.”

The researchers who have found no evidence of intergenerational transmission remain skeptical.
The findings of the Attachment & Human Development paper comport with the results of two dissertations advised by Hofstra University professor Robert W. Motta, including Perlstein’s.

“I went into the studies expecting, as [the graduate students] did, that there would be transfer to the third generation,” Motta said. “But we didn’t find that in either study. Believe me, that is not what we were looking for and not what we expected.”

For some, the entire notion that trauma could affect people who didn’t directly experience it seems like pseudoscience.

“This is where the psychological psychobabble gets spread like wildfire,” Fogelman said. 

“Transmission of trauma? Trauma is not transmitted. People either experience trauma or they don’t experience trauma.”

The third generation themselves, for their part, aren’t interested in the academic debates over terminology, according to Leora Klein, a board member and founding member of 3GNY, a group for grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. They just want answers.

“There’s a need, an urgency to figure out where the Holocaust is now in our lives as descendants of survivors,” Klein. said “Luckily our parents were not born in a time of horror, but they were deeply, deeply, deeply affected by their parents’ experience.”