(JTA) — A New Age institute defended its decision to employ Marc Gafni, a former rabbi accused of sexual misconduct, as a “wisdom teacher.”
The Center for Integral Wisdom is a think tank founded by Gafni. It is affiliated with the Institute for Integral Evolutionary Tantra, which recently announced that Gafni would teach a year-long course on New Age tantric sex.
“Dr. Marc Gafni is under attack from certain quarters of the religious and spirituality worlds. Based on our careful review of extensive documentary evidence, numerous professional evaluations, and our collective experiences with Dr. Gafni, we fully trust that the claims of sexual harassment and abuse are false, and that other claims against him are maliciously exaggerated,” the center said in a public statement.
Gafni has been advised by his attorneys not to comment on the issue, the institute said.
Gafni has been accused of sexual misconduct towards women, including a minor, both in Israel and the United States. The leader of an Israel-based prayer and study community before his ouster in 2006, Gafni has previously acknowledged improper behavior, attributing it to a “sickness” that he vowed to treat. He has denied accusations that he committed criminal offenses.
The course Gafni will be teaching, Outrageous Eros Training Programs, will help students “Learn how the sexual is the ultimate wisdom teacher,” according to the website.
The Institute for Integral Evolutionary Tantra asserts that Gafni has offered to engage “in a professionally facilitated dialogue with the parties involved in making and disseminating” claims against them, but has been rebuffed.
“The agenda of the parties has been to create public campaigns of character assassination intended to discredit Dr. Gafni in his professional and personal life,” the statement also said.