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Friday, June 17, 2005

Kabbalah Center Expose

Interesting article in Radar Online about Rabbi Philip Berg and the Kabbalah Center, in the first of a series of four. As the article states: “a close look reveals an organization more committed to questionably financial deals and celebrity wrangling than to advancing an ancient Jewish mystical approach to life”. Some of the findings from the expose:

• The Centre’s solicitation of freelance ghostwriters on the website Craigslist, to help the Bergs write “scholarly” books on Kabbalah, some of which the writers are encouraged to model on new-age best-sellers.

• The previously unreported lawsuit that charged Philip Berg with copyright infringement and plagiarism.

• The Centre’s penchant for lending money to companies owned by close friends and associates of the Bergs, including more than $2 million in loans to a company with a P.O. Box address that flips investment properties in such Los Angeles neighborhoods as Compton and Watts.

• The Bergs’ luxurious lifestyle, in stark contrast to the bleak four-to-a-bedroom conditions and $35-a-month stipend they offer the full-time volunteers who cook and clean for them.

• The Centre’s use of cultlike techniques to control members, including sleep deprivation, alienation from friends and family, and Kabbalah-dictated matchmaking.

• The bizarre scientific claims made by the Centre’s leaders on behalf of Kabbalah Water, ranging from its ability to cleanse the lakes of Chernobyl of radiation to its power to cure cancer, AIDS, and SARS.

• The Centre’s sponsorship of the Oroz Research Centre, a “23rd century” scientific institution that markets a “liquid compound for the treatment of nuclear waste” that also cures gynecological problems in cows, sheep, and other farm animals.

• The Bergs’ plan to leverage celebrity congregants to expand the scope of their merchandising, and their failed attempt to lure Madonna to partner with them in a venture to repackage Kabbalah Water for the mass market.

• The Bergs’ explicit strategy of steering Kabbalah away from its Jewish roots in order to appeal to a wider global market, and their plans to brand both the Centre and family members for maximum popular appeal.

Looks like the next three installments are going to make for some fascinating reading as well.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

keep 'em coming. These people should be in jail.

9:24 AM  
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