3300 East First Avenue, Suite 470
Denver, Colorado 80206
May 8, 2007
PSYCHOSOCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF RABBI MARC GAFNI
To Whom It May Concern:
On March 26, 2007 in response to a request by Rabbi Marc Gafni, Kevin Udis, Ph.D. and Thomas Meehan, L.C.S.W., B.C.D. initiated and completed a comprehensive psychosocial and psychological assessment of Rabbi Gafni. We were recommended in this regard by his regular psychotherapist. This evaluation entailed clinical interviews, administering of an MMPI and Rorschach Test. The procedures entailed approximately 10 clinical hours.
Rabbi Marc approached the evaluation with a great deal of candor, sincerity and some admitted humiliation for the spiritual and political predicaments that he has experienced. For the most part, these situations have occurred in Israel. He openly reviewed the complaints that have been made towards him in Israel by the women in Israel. He believes and the evaluators concur that these reported episodes with the women are indications of his own past impulsivity, naïve trusting, failure to see aggression, poor judgment and certainly not an example of aggressive intent or emotional assault towards them. He finally states that these relationships were consensual and that the presentation of himself as a perpetrator is mean spirited and representative of more complicated interpersonal problems having to do with these women and others as well as his own faulty evaluation of his relationship with them. In the evaluators’ assessment, these are not stories of sexual harassment or abuse and Rabbi Gafni cannot be fairly represented as a perpetrator. In an effort to be well understood by the undersigned evaluators, Rabbi Gafni was cooperative and forthcoming about his early family life, adolescent and adult development, as well as his spiritual and political life progressions.
On psychological assessment, Marc revealed himself as a person who is sociable, outgoing and one who at sometimes mistakes negative experiences for positive ones. In the evaluators’ view, this may also be an indication of his propensity to cover over negative feelings with a desire to be positive and engage positively even in the face of significant ongoing conflict. This dynamic has certainly occurred with women and perceived authority figures. Marc’s review of his family, which includes two brothers and divorced parents, is laden with early tragedy and horrific abuse in his parents’ early life related to the Holocaust and numerous examples of a fractured family life, of sadistic abuse and emotional neglect. In many ways, the evaluators view Marc Gafni as an emotional survivor who immersed himself in the study of Judaism which would eventually be a central underpinning in his adult identity. There are some obvious repetitions in Marc’s adult life that reflect the lack of closeness and intimacy in his life as a child and young man and a propensity to find and engage conflict. Sadly, this frequently results in a familiar experience of loneliness and a lack of security and protection. Rabbi Gafni’s genuine emotion introspection regarding these issues is remarkable and certainly validates his significant efforts in individual psychotherapy with a local skilled Denver psychologist. It is clear that this bright scholar is benefiting from an integration of some very painful emotions that he has carried throughout his life and his superb cognitive strengths.
The psychological testing did not reveal any gross psychopathology in Rabbi Gafni. He shows a good grasp on reality and what is normal and has no intent to harm others, but feels deeply wounded by what has recently transpired in his life. Additionally, he is still reeling from the rejection that he has experienced from the Rabbinical society in Israel. As he gains perspective on himself and these experiences, he displays an ability to see his responsibility in engaging people who may not have had his best interest in mind. These blind spots have admittedly existed since his adolescence when he prematurely emancipated from his family and attended Yeshiva. His increasing awareness of this unconscious repetition may very well assure him of growth and support from others in his future rather than a repetition of crises and harmful drama to him. During this assessment, Marc appeared more accepting that his adolescent-like style of opposing normal rules and perceived authority figures can take on a self-destructive path for him.
In summary, Rabbi Gafni has a significant interest in other people and wishes to engage and connect with people on a deep and spiritual level. This is part of the fabric of who he is as a person. There were no clinical indications that he has been a perpetrator or has any propensity in this aggressive, sadistic direction. It is clear to the evaluators and to Rabbi Gafni that more attention needs to be paid to evaluating others and maintaining appropriate personal boundaries. He is a skilled thinker and teacher and has maintained his passion to return to writing and teaching. In the evaluators’ view, he should be viewed as a valuable candidate to do so.
Kevin J. Udis, Ph.D.
Thomas W. Meehan, L.C.S.W., B.C.D.