The Kabbalah Centre, “the McDonald’s of spirituality”.......well the red string, "blessed" water, and the meditations that Berg claimed would benefit your health, did not work for him.......A VERY DANGEROUS CULT!!!
But beyond the confines of Berg’s secretive Kabbalah centres, controversy was raging. The orthodox Jewish establishment publicly disputed the validity of his teachings (one senior figure scorned it as “Bergism”), denounced him as a fraud and rebuked him for his aggressive fundraising methods, including the practice of sending young followers to knock on doors soliciting donations. His doctrines were condemned as “dangerous,” “cheap,” and even “pagan.”
The movement’s fortunes changed dramatically in 1996 when the rock star Madonna turned up unannounced and enrolled at Berg’s flagship Kabbalah centre in Los Angeles, where he became her personal tutor. Jewish celebrities, including the comedienne Roseanne Barr and the raunchy stand-up Sandra Bernhard, were already studying there, but Madonna’s arrival signalled that the centre was open to gentiles — Madonna is a cradle Roman Catholic — and piqued the interest of the wider entertainment industry.
The Los Angeles centre, a converted 100-year-old Spanish-style church which became the movement’s world headquarters in 1998, was convenient for the celebrity enclaves of Beverly Hills and Malibu, and soon more stellar names, among them Gwyneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Taylor, Britney Spears and Demi Moore, were following Madonna to Berg’s door, drawn by his central philosophy: that by suppressing their enormous egos and “sharing” their assets, wealthy superstars like them could achieve inner peace and — every actor’s dream — immortality.
With burgeoning global fame came multiplying riches as the Bergs raked in money through sales of merchandising like red string bracelets to ward off evil, candles and special blessed water touted as having healing powers, not to mention cash donations aggressively sought from adherents.
With the movement’s assets believed to amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, Berg and his family — who had once lived liked paupers — crisscrossed the world in private jets, sported designer clothes and enjoyed gambling trips to Las Vegas from their three homes built side by side in Beverly Hills. But while their disciples continued to offer unconditional veneration, the Bergs continued to be vilified from outside. Rabbis in the United States and Israel rounded on them publicly, and when one alluded to Berg’s “scandalous” personal life — referring to the break-up of his first marriage — the centre filed a defamation suit, which it later dropped.
......But the brainwashing charges festered, and at least one former adherent claims that the centre has destroyed marriages by advocating divorce if one party in a couple harbours doubts about the movement. Nor did the Rav — a title of respect accorded to Berg by his followers — shrink from making controversial pronouncements, once declaring that six million Jews could have been saved from the Holocaust had they studied Kabbalah.
Berg emphasised the importance of “sharing” — Kabbalah code for giving money and time to his centres; indeed, the movement’s detractors point to its abiding concern for its coffers, with some former students accusing the Bergs of practicing spiritual blackmail. One recalled being told: “Your child is sick and you can make them better by giving. Give till it hurts.” By all accounts Berg himself amassed a considerable personal fortune, put at some $20 million, marketing his belief system and its proliferating accessories, not just wristbands but his own 23-volume edition of the Zohar, available from the centre’s bookshop at $415.
In the late 1980s, the Bergs came up with another money-spinner, selling Kabbalah Mountain Spring Water at $3.80 a bottle, claiming it cleansed the soul and could cure various ailments. Although it was produced in industrial quantities at a plant in Canada, followers seemed to believe in its powers and — literally — lapped it up.
......In 2004 Berg was staying at a Las Vegas hotel when he suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk or talk coherently.
Despite having no shortage of critics, Berg’s Kabbalah movement continues to flourish, with some three million followers worldwide. In 2011 its assets were estimated at $260 million.
In 2010 Berg’s chief financial officer was fired after less than three months. It turned out that he had uncovered income tax fraud at the Los Angeles centre, and the criminal division of the IRS, America’s tax authority, launched an investigation. Prosecutors subpoenaed financial records and those of two affiliated charities with links to Madonna. The IRS is reportedly looking into whether funds were used for the personal enrichment of the Berg family. The centre called the allegations “meritless” and said it “intends to defend the case vigorously”.
Philip Berg’s wife, Karen, and their two sons, who have run the Kabbalah centre in Los Angeles since his debilitating stroke, survive him.
How seriously can one take the L.A. Kabbalah Centre–the place where the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton go to become spiritual? Surely, with its red strings and holy “Kabbalah water,” it’s got to be some dopey cult, its real deity the cash register. Or worse (says a scholarly Canadian rabbi, quoted in USA Today, 5/26/04): “a dangerous cult … distorting kabbalah … taking some of our sacred books and reducing it to mumbo-jumbo, all kinds of hocus-pocus.”
If that’s what you think, you’ve really got to click here and read Boaz’s article. (The prose is academic, and a bit dense. Read it anyway. It’s worth the trouble.)
The center, a nonprofit religious organization, raked in money through merchandise sales and cash donations. Its assets are now believed to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Bergs enjoyed a lifestyle of private jets, designer clothes and gambling trips. Rabbi Berg was at a Las Vegas hotel in 2004 when he suffered a stroke that left him unable to speak clearly or walk.
Karen Berg and the couple’s sons, Yehuda and Michael, took over operation of the center, and their stewardship has been accompanied by questions about its finances.
The IRS and federal prosecutors in New York opened a tax-evasion investigation in 2010. Madonna subsequently removed her African charity from the center’s control. The current status of the federal investigation is not known.
This is a follow-up to the April 20, 2012 article "Madonna's Kabbalah Fleeced Dementia Victim Out Of $600,000 And Took Out Multi-Million Dollar Loan In Her Name To Build Mansion." The Los Angeles Times newspaper is reporting, the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department in California, have turned over files on Madonna’s Kabbalah Center, to federal agents for criminal investigation, regarding the cult stealing millions of dollars from 88-year-old dementia sufferer, Susan Strong Davis.
Similarly, the cult stole $3,000,000 from a London resident, then kicked her out of the Kabbalah Centre they set up in England, after they took everything they could from her and made her mentally ill (as is their way in doing what they call "inducing schizophrenia"). There are many more cases involving Kabbalah and Madonna stealing from people.
The sick, deranged, greedy Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles
This criminality is being done out of greed, to support the lavish lifestyles of the Berg family, who started the Kabbalah Center and high profile figures, such as Madonna, who are also criminally profiting from the many thefts, whilst living in pricey Beverly Hills. The Los Angeles Times states the aforementioned cult have "amassed…hundreds of millions of dollars" and as many attest, through criminal means.
At the end of the day, these people are not but a bunch of grubby little thieves pretending to be helping the public, when all they are doing is illegally helping people out of their money (and in some instances by force and death threats).
John Sweeney, the BBC reporter, who knows me of old, had visited me at the hospital and knew that I had done covert camera work before. His call was like a tonic. This job, he explained, concerned a curious religious outfit called the Kabbalah Centre, which claimed, among other things, that its Kabbalah water was blessed with "miraculous powers of restoration and healing" and that its Zohar books, the core texts of Kabbalah which they marketed, did you good, too.
They operated from a £3.65 million property off Bond Street in central London, and names such as Madonna and Britney Spears were mentioned as supporters. Some people said the centre helped people to understand ancient Jewish mysticism, but others who had been inside it called it a cult.
My task was to test its claim that the water and the books could help cure cancer. I was to play the wealthy businessman stricken with cancer, which was at least half true.
After picking up my secret camera, I headed off to the London Kabbalah Centre. On hearing of my cancer and that money was no problem, Miriam at reception filled me in: "We have the Kabbalah water, that has very strong healing powers."
Would it help my cells?
"It's a very good possibility," she said. "We have one girl, who works here, her mother used to have cancer and she doesn't have it any more… Because she drank the water. She comes here for Shabbat [the Sabbath]. There are a lot of connections you can do. The water is very, very good because it affects the cells, it cleanses the cells."
She arranged a meeting that day for me with Chagai Shouster, a senior figure in the centre. He told me he lived there and explained that his possessions would fit into one suitcase. He didn't have money to buy clothes, but received gifts. He also said that, for the last nine years, he had only been given what he needed. He struck me as an intelligent man who, but for his devotion to the Kabbalah Centre, would be holding down a worthwhile career in the outside world.
We talked about my cancer. Shouster was very careful to stress that he wasn't promising miracles, but he said there were tools that could help, including the water and the Zohar - the Kabbalah books in Aramaic and Hebrew.
"You need to let go of what the doctors told you," he said. "Drinking the water while meditating on the places that we have a problem with - the bladder, you say? - will clean and strengthen those places. Also, you can put the water on your stomach as well."
"How much water will I need?"
"In your situation right now? About three bottles a day to drink… and to meditate and to scan the Zohar… There are a few items that I'd like you to get right now in the bookstore, that I'd like you to have, if you want."
Expecting money might raise its ugly head, I asked: "The water is not a gift?"
"No, nothing is a gift, the water is not a gift, the Zohar is not a gift, as you know… There is the water cost. A case of 12 boxes costs £45 and the Zohar is £289. And the Shabbat meal is £26."
Shouster explained the importance of the Zohar books. No matter that they were written in Aramaic and, to me, indecipherable, I was told that I only had to run my fingers over the pages and scan the words for the "tools" to start working. Their tools, however, weren't cheap - the bill was £860, including dinner that night. And guess who was coming to dinner? Madonna!
Why does the material girl need Kabbalah?
"She wants to understand how she works with her kids better," Shouster told me. "She wants to understand how to control her mood better, how to be more happy. How to be more tolerant with her husband and to maintain the relationship."
That evening, I was back at the centre, complete with hidden camera. Looking forward to dinner, I was welcomed by Shouster. My first blunder was the dress code. Everyone else was dressed in white; I was dressed in black. Spot the undercover BBC investigator…
People were friendly, touchy-feely, shaking hands and cuddling each other. Shouster took my hand to shake it and embraced me, and, in doing so, touched the camera.
"What's that?" he asked. I fended him off by telling him that it was an electronic device delivering the chemotherapy drug. He looked embarrassed and nothing more was said.
Throughout the evening, I was introduced to people who told me how their lives had been changed by Kabbalah, the water and the Zohar.
I was seated at a table with a charming lady who told me that she'd had breast and lung cancer. She had undergone surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital but, she told me, she had recovered from the operation quickly because of the Kabbalah water.
At one point, I noticed a striking blonde enter, in a trilby hat - Madonna. She was seated with her husband, Guy Ritchie, and their children on the next table. They seemed like a nice family, with Madonna a normal mum.
But then things turned crazy. A weird religious service started with prayer readings and chanting that culminated in everyone turning to the east, pushing the air with their hands, and crying out "Cher-er-er-er-nobyl" at the top of their voices. They thought they were curing Chernobyl of radiation, using the power of Kabbalah to drive away the evil - and one of the biggest rock stars on the planet was joining in the chanting.
The issue of how to pay the £860 came up a couple of days later. I didn't want to hand over a credit card, so I invented a cock-and-bull story about offshore riches and promised to deliver cash - £860 in total for the Kabbalah water and the Zohar books. I counted out the cash, then Shouster counted it out again.
Having paid £860, I was next offered a trip to celebrate a Kabbalah religious festival in Israel. Rabbi Philip Berg, the leader of the Kabbalah Centre movement, would be present. I was presented with an invoice for $6,232 (£3,331); flights were to be extra.
Then I had a session with Rabbi Eliyahu Yardeni, a Kabbalah Centre teacher. He told me about the meaning of life and the secrets of the universe, and volunteered a staggering piece of information: "Just to tell you another thing about the six million Jews that were killed in the Holocaust. The question was that the Light was blocked. They didn't use Kabbalah."
It sounded as though he was blaming the Holocaust on its victims. Then he made a vitriolic attack on mainstream rabbis, labelling them the enemy of the Kabbalah Centre. I'm not Jewish, but his unprovoked rantings about Hitler's victims left me questioning his sanity.
My encounter with the Kabbalah people still makes me angry. On the one hand, I have experienced first-class surgery and care at the Royal Marsden Hospital which has, at the very least, extended my life. Yet that hospital is struggling to raise money for essential equipment that saves lives.
On the other hand, you've got the Kabbalah Centre, this wacky outfit, where, for £860, I bought a few bottles of water and some books I can't read. The Kabbalah Centre is attracting the weak and those who are most vulnerable. I know, because I've been through cancer.
Recently, I saw on the Kabbalah Centre website pictures of a tsunami victim - a little boy with a red string around his wrist and a book in his hand - and I thought: how could they? The idea that they are sending their over-priced water and books you can't read to the tsunami victims makes me very angry indeed.
What is Kabbalah and who believes in it?
Kabbalah is a branch of Jewish mysticism, which is thought to have originated in the 13th century. Its teachings come from an ancient 23-volume book called the Zohar, which offers interpretations of the inner meaning of the Torah. Traditionally, its practices were reserved for a select number of Jewish scholars who already had an advanced understanding of Jewish law, but for the past 500 years it has been followed more widely.
In 1969, a former insurance salesman, Rabbi Philip Berg, established the Kabbalah Centre International and appointed himself its leader. The centre markets Kabbalah as a "universal system for self-improvement" and attracts more than 3.5 million followers. Berg claims that Kabbalah answers the ultimate questions of human existence: who we are, where we come from and why we're here. Its followers claim that it can purify the soul and banish disease, depression and discontent using the spiritual light of the Zohar.
The Kabbalah Centre sells copies of its sacred texts and other "spiritual tools", such as Kabbalah Water. Among the best-selling items is the red string bracelet, said to protect the wearer from the evil eye. The Beckhams, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Demi Moore and Madonna have all been seen sporting one.
After Berg had his stroke, the family basically kept him from the public's eye. They had already built into their system their control in anticipation of the time he would die. After all, it does not look good for your money making scandal to sell red string, "blessed" water, Zohars to scan, and state that it protects and keeps you healthy and your leader is in a bad state of health. The Kabbalah Centre continues to brainwash people and take their assests. It is a highly recommended idea to stay away from this place, treat yourself to a nice ice cream instead......it is FAR more rewarding. Also, check the link below....