A list circulating now in the Jewish community includes the names of men involved in Jewish communal life accused over the years of sexual harassment and/or abuse, The Jewish Week has learned.
The Jewish Week spoke to five separate sources, all of whom confirmed the list exists and that they have personally seen it. Though, according to sources, the “list,” compiled by Jewish women, predates the recent prominence of the #MeToo movement — a national reckoning with sexual misconduct in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal — the growing conversation has pushed the confidential information onto the communal radar screen.
Naomi Eisenberger, an administrator of the closed Facebook group “#GamAni,” the Hebrew iteration of “#MeToo,” described the document as “not a small list” of names of men of authority in the Jewish communal world. Though she was unable to recall an exact number of those listed, she said that “many … are easily recognizable.”
The purpose of the list, to the best of her knowledge, was to “inform other women in order to keep them out of harm’s way.”
At this point in time, women do not plan to publicly call out any or all of those listed, according to a source close to the matter who requested to remain anonymous.
The Gam Ani Facebook group, which launched in November, now has more than 500 members and is intended as a forum for alleged victims in the Jewish non-profit world to anonymously lodge harassment complaints.
“I don’t fancy myself as someone with her head buried in the sand, but nothing could have prepared me for this. I was completely shocked and incensed by what is happening.”
Eisenberger, founding executive director of The Good People Fund, a non-profit, said she began uncovering stories of young women allegedly harassed in the Jewish non-profit world about a year before the Weinstein story broke in the fall. Working with Martin Kaminer, an activist, and Jamie Allen Black, executive director of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, she conducted an informal survey to glean how many Jewish communal professionals had experiences with sexual harassment in the workplace, and how the organizations did or did not respond. The survey received 160 anonymous responses.
“I don’t fancy myself as someone with her head buried in the sand, but nothing could have prepared me for this,” said Eisenberger, 72. “I was completely shocked and incensed by what is happening.”
According to those who have seen the list — akin to the “Shitty Media Men” list that listed 70 names and led to the firing of many prestigious male media professionals — it is a Google spreadsheet that allows users to anonymously collect rumors and warnings about sexual misconduct committed by the men with whom they are most likely to work.
The list was posted on the Gam Ani Facebook page this month, but was removed almost immediately, Eisenberger confirmed. It seems to have been removed because of the defamatory legal ramifications.
Another source, who had seen the list several months back, said at that point it had “half a dozen names,” many of whom were not prominent figures.
Since then, it seems the list has gained momentum. Another source who saw the list described it as a “spreadsheet of about 15 names” that allows women to anonymously fill out the name of an alleged perpetrator, a brief description of the alleged incident, who else was involved in the alleged incident and if any further action was taken.
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The purpose of the list, said the source, was to “allow women to see that they were not alone.” One alleged perpetrator was mentioned by five different independent sources.
The list also served as a way to “warn women who to stay away from,” in order to “protect them,” said the source.