Kabbalah Centers

Commentary by Dr. Gerhard Falk



The Kabbalah


    On October 30, 2005, Shaul Youdkevtich was arrested in Tel Aviv, Israel for swindling a cancer patient out of $61,000. Youdkevitch, the head of the “Kabbalah Center” in Israel, pretended that the fifty year old cancer victim would be cured if she donated $36,000 to the “center”. When that donation did not help, Youdkevitch persuaded the husband of the patient to donate another $25,000.  Shortly thereafter, the patient died. Similar advice had been given by other employees of the “center” during the patient’s illness.

    Because the American actress Madonna Ciccone has become a prominent follower of the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles, her visit to Israel in 2004 gave the Kabbalah Center considerable publicity.

     The fifty Kabbalah Centers in the U.S., Israel and around the world are so named because they teach their followers to immerse themselves in a Jewish book by that name. Kabbalah means tradition. The founder of these centers is Rabbi Philip Berg, who claims that he can secure immortality and inner peace for those who follow him in studying  Kabbalah. To that end the centers sell “energetically blessed water”, books, tapes, and numerous accessories. There is a Kabbalah calendar which sells for $19.95, a card deck holding the 72 names of God for $15, a healing stone for $8.50, and $99 recordings which deal with such topics as Kabbalistic Astrology, Fears and Phobias and The Technology of the New Year.

     These sales and large contributions from Hollywood celebrities such as Madonna, Demi Moore, Donna Karan, Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Roseanne Barr have made Philip Berg a rich man. It is estimated that he has accumulated twenty million dollars or more.

   More recently, the son of Rabbi Philip Berg, Rabbi Michael Berg, published a book by the title “Becoming Like God”. The rabbi also preaches that his followers can “do away with pain, suffering – and even death.” Rabbi Michael and his brother Yehuda were appointed rabbis by their father.

   The Kabbalah teachers emphasize that one must volunteer one’s money so as to see “the light”. These lessons have not only attracted Madonna but also other “celebrities” who are given special treatment. This special treatment leads the Berg family to give private lessons to Madonna, who also has special meals cooked for her during Friday night Sabbath dinners. Madonna even sells Kabbalah T shirts and other items and then gives the proceeds to the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles.

Shalom u’vracha.

Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of numerous publications, including Fraud (2007).

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