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The Kabbalah Cult

The Internet Movie Database reports on the ongoing saga of Madonna’s infatuation with the Jewish Kabbalah:

Deeply religious superstar Madonna will play no Friday night gigs on her upcoming world tour – because the teaching of the Kabbalah forbids it. The “Holiday” hitmaker has pledged to respect the Jewish practice of Shabbat, the religion’s sabbath, by dining with her close family every Friday rather than working. And Madonna, who is married to British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, hopes her move with convince the world she is very serious about the mystical teachings of the Kabbalah. A source says, “This shows just how much Madonna is influenced by Kabbalah. She is completely focused on following her beliefs no matter what lengths she has to go to.”

We have already been exposed to stories of Madonna’s devotion to Kabbalah, whether it be her reported request for “Kabbalah water” (?), or the Kabbalistic imagery in her Die Another Day music video. And she is not alone. Other purported Kabbalah devotees include Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

While I do not doubt Madonna’s sincerity in seeking spirituality in her life, it is unfortunate that she is involved with the Kabbalah Center, which is nothing more than a cult designed to suck the money out of wealthy people.

And don’t just take my word for it.

Dr Jonathan Sacks this week issued a warning about the US-based centre, which claims its version of the Jewish mystical tradition of kabbalah as a means of achieving spiritual enlightenment.

The centre, which has a £3.25m branch in central London funded by celebrity devotee Madonna, has been criticised for its money-raising and recruitment techniques.

A joint statement issued over the weekend by the chief rabbiís office, the United Synagogue and the Beth Din said: “In the light of issues which have been brought to our attention relating to the Kabbalah centre in the UK, we wish it to be known that this organisation does not fall within the remit of the chief rabbinate or any other authority in the UK recognised by us.”

The statement has been backed by strong condemnation from members of the chief rabbiís cabinet, including Rabbi Barry Marcus, who described the group as “a dangerous cult-like organisation that preys on vulnerable people”.

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Describing the movement, whose followers include Britney Spears, Courtney Cox and Gwyneth Paltrow, as “a cult”, Rabbi Marcus of Central synagogue emphasised the importance of a unified communal stance on the centre.

He said: “They are operating outside the authority of the legitimate community. We feel a sense of shame and sadness they are using sacred Jewish learning to ensnare Jew and non-Jew alike.”

Fellow cabinet member Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, minister of Mill Hill United synagogue, said: “If they are a non-profit organisation, why do they show exorbitant profits from the sale of their products on some of their tax returns? If they are genuinely concerned with people’s souls, why are they known to prey on their wallets?”

Here is a link to the most comprehensive resources on the Kabbalah Center, which I could find. It includes this expose published by the Task Force on Cults and Missionaries, Los Angeles.

Unfortunately for Madonna and her celebrity friends, what the Kabbalah Center is teaching is not Kabbalah, but rather “a smorgasbord of pop psychology and self-help that pretends to have some connection to Jewish mysticism, but it rarely, if ever, does.”

Here’s to hoping that the last glass of Kabbalah water is poured in the very near future.

Update: Not surprisingly, another Jew who feeds off celebrities, Shmuley Boteach, applauds the Kabbalah Center “for having taken one of the most significant, yet ignored, disciplines of Judaism and bringing it to the thirsty masses” and opines that opposition to it is motivated by jealousy.

Do I detect a familiar theme?

‘Kosher Sex’Organization Probed; Rabbi Charges ‘Jealous Opponents’ Want to Bring Him Down

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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