Whole Foods CEO Quits Think Tank Run by Disgraced Jewish Spiritual Guru

John Mackey has yet to offer an explanation for his withdrawal from an organization run by Marc Gafni, accused of several incidents of sexual improprieties.

John Mackey, chief executive officer of Whole Foods Market Inc., speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 16, 2009.

Disgraced spiritual guru Marc Gafni has suffered another black eye with the resignation of Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey from his vaunted think tank, The Forward has learned.

Mackey so far has issued no statement on his reason for stepping down from the Center for Integral Wisdom, but his departure comes as Gafni continues to be dogged by allegations of sexual improprieties stretching back years.

The Forward in January published an essay by Sara Kabakov, who alleged that Gafni molested her repeatedly, beginning when she was 13.

Gafni, who is now in his mid-50s, was 19 when the alleged abuse started, Kabakov said. The once-promising Jewish leader said the relationship with her was consensual.

Pressure mounted on Mackey and his Conscious Capitalism for the Whole Foods boss to abandon CIW as the firestorm erupted.

Rabbi David Ingber, an influential Renewal rabbi in New York who once studied with Gafni but has long since severed ties, organized a petition of denouncement, which included he names of around 100 other Jewish leaders.

Nancy Levine, a Gafni critic near his Bay Area base in California, called on Mackey to denounce Gafni and break his silence in a note to The Forward.

“Exposure and speaking up are the remedies for changing the culture,” she wrote.

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