Some time ago, I had a conversation on Clubhouse with Sarah Edmondson and her husband, Nippy Ames. Sarah is the author of the memoir, Scarred: The True Story of How I Escaped NXIVM, the Cult That Bound My Life, and is featured prominently in the HBO documentary The Vow, in which viewers get a front-row seat for the process by which Sarah was persuaded to join DOS, a women’s group that involved “master/slave”relationships.
After being branded with what turned out to be the initials of Keith Raniere, the architect of both DOS and the overarching organization known as NXIVM (pronounced “nexium”), Sarah came to the conclusion that she had been indoctrinated into a cult. Her story was one of many that were instrumental in convicting Raniere, who is now serving 120 years in prison for sex trafficking, racketeering, forced labor, and wire fraud.
On Monday night, June 7 at 6pm Eastern, paid subscribers will have the opportunity to join a conversation with 8 other women who were part of DOS. These women had a very different experience from Sarah’s and have a different perspective on DOS and NXIVM. They continue to support Raniere. They do not believe he is guilty and do not believe they were part of a cult.
I recommend watching The Vow in advance of the conversation. Then bring questions. Zoom instructions will be sent to paid subscribers on Monday in advance of the event.
Fasten your seatbelts. It is sure to be a fascinating conversation.
Norms of civil discourse will be strictly enforced.
More events coming up…
On Tuesday, June 8 at 8:00pm Eastern, Sapir Journal is hosting a conversation between me and Jonathan Haidt about my essay, Critical Race Theory and the ‘Hyper-White’ Jew. It is open to the public. You can register here.
Three online events…
I recently moderated two conversations for the Jewish Institute for Liberal Values. The first featured Natan Sharansky, Israeli politician and human rights activist. The panelists were Cathy Young, Maxim Shrayer, Izabella Tabarovsky, and Oleg Ivanov –– all Jews from the former Soviet Union. Their experiences and insight shed light on the illiberal and totalizing ideology that is increasingly becoming dominant in schools and businesses across the country. Their accounts of Soviet antisemitic propaganda and how it is being deployed today were chilling.
The second conversation was with Jewish members of the LGBTQ community whose deep appreciation of free speech illuminated the connection between the challenges the gay rights movement overcame and the challenges of being a Jew –– and in particular, a Jew who believes in Israel’s right to exist –– in a time when conspiracy theories are once again taking hold. Authors Jonathan Rauch and James Kirchik of the Brookings Institution, Professor Jessica Emami, and undergraduate Blake Flayton (co-founder of the New Zionist Congress) joined me for an important conversation. (More to come on Jonathan Rauch’s new book, The Constitution of Knowledge.)
Finally, I participated in a panel discussion about antisemitism and social fragmentation hosted by The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) with my colleague Joel Finkelstein, the Director of the Network Contagion Research Center, Dr. Charles Asher Small, the Executive Director of ISGAP, and a PhD candidate Chloe Pinto, whose research on the topic is extremely important and sadly, very timely.
For paid subscribers…
Our conversation with Classicist Shadi Bartsch will be rescheduled. Also to be scheduled are conversations with New York Times columnist Bret Stephens and legal expert Alan Dershowitz.
More to come…