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Former Followers of ‘Kabbalah Centre’ Sue for Fraud

Orthodox rabbis for years have denounced the “Kabbalah Centre” as being a fraud of mysticism, Madonna and Britney Spears notwithstanding. Now former followers have sued for financial fraud.

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The controversial Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre is being sued for over $1 million by former followers in two lawsuits alleging fraud and misuse of funds.

Both suits were filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court and claim that the Centre pressured the plaintiffs “to give money until it hurts,” in order to receive “the light” from its leaders, Karen Berg and her adult sons Yehuda and Michael.

Carolyn Cohen, a San Diego real estate broker, said that she and one of her companies lost some $810,000 to the Centre, which, she claimed, “engages in a pattern and practice of raising funds … for the purpose of enriching itself.”

San Diego business owners Randi and Charles Wax, the other plaintiffs, alleged losses of $326,000.

In both cases, the plaintiffs said they were told that the donations were earmarked for a new Kabbalah Centre building in San Diego and for a children’s charity, but they said the new Centre was never built and the charity abruptly ceased operation.

The late Rabbi Phillip Berg established the initial Kabbalah facility in Jerusalem and the first American operation in New York in 1965. Since 1984, the Centre’s worldwide operations, with 50 branches, have been headquartered in Los Angeles.

The Berg family has received worldwide publicity by attracting such Hollywood followers as Madonna, Britney Spears, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.

Over the past years, the Centre also has attracted numerous lawsuits in the United States and Britain, and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service launched a tax evasion investigation in 2010. The outcome is still pending.

Traditional rabbinical authorities repeatedly have denounced the Centre’s teachings and methods as a perversion of the Kabbalah’s profound mysticism. In Israel, one synagogue told The Jewish Press that after a Christian Zionist organization donated a set of Berg’s version of the Zohar, the local rabbi ordered that the books be buried so that they would never be read.

They were not burned despite his suspect interpretations because the set includes original text of the holy Zohar.

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.


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Imported and Older Comments:

  1. MikeBurke925 says:

    Stupid fools like Spears and Madonna have followed the Bergs in abusing and distorting our traditions long enough.

  2. JenniferBadani044 says:

    Why would the Rabbi’s waste their time on this? Better to spend time on anti-Semitism, Jewish people who are assimilating. Kabbalah Centre’s may not interest me, but they don’t promote hate. This is a complete waste of time. Madonna does lots of charity work. I would spend the time suing the United Church for their boycotts of Israel products.

  3. Judy Zfaz says:

    this doesn’t surprise me.

  4. Adam Michael Birkbeck says:

    Stupid fools like Spears and Madonna have followed the Bergs in abusing and distorting our traditions long enough.

  5. Jennifer Badani says:

    Why would the Rabbi's waste their time on this? Better to spend time on anti-Semitism, Jewish people who are assimilating. Kabbalah Centre's may not interest me, but they don't promote hate. This is a complete waste of time. Madonna does lots of charity work. I would spend the time suing the United Church for their boycotts of Israel products.

  6. Long coming, Wait till Madonna wakes up……

  7. I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YEARS FOR THIS TO HAPPEN

  8. The fact madonna was so into it, I knew it was a fraud. The least thing madonna cares about is, spirituality!

  9. MalkahSorel says:

    It’s a pity that this cannot be resolved within the Jewish Community. All we need as another excuse for the goyim to point fingers

  10. IF A RELIGIOUS SCHOOL OR ORGANIZATION OR PERSON TRIES TO SELL YOU THE TRUTH, WALK AWAY. THE TRUTH IS FREE AND CAN BE ACQUIRED BY EVERYONE THROUGH STUDY AND EFFORT. IF YOU WANT TO SPEND MONEY WISELY ,GIVE TO YOUR FAVORITE CHARITY.

  11. KellyBerretta says:

    but this was not a Jewish community problem…

  12. Malkah Sorel says:

    It's a pity that this cannot be resolved within the Jewish Community. All we need as another excuse for the goyim to point fingers

  13. uunlisted831 says:

    What a chillul Hashem. Too bad prominent celebs aren’t attracted to the real thing.

  14. Kelly Berretta says:

    but this was not a Jewish community problem…

  15. VickiSueStone861 says:

    I like Chabad’s Kaballah classes. They don’t shnor, and I feel intellectually challenged.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What a chillul Hashem. Too bad prominent celebs aren't attracted to the real thing.

  17. I like Chabad's Kaballah classes. They don't shnor, and I feel intellectually challenged.

  18. Eli Celnik says:

    No surprise here. A fraud will always be found out sooner or later.

  19. En Hora Buena!!!! (y)

  20. CesarStaller says:

    THE ALL RELIGIONS INCLUDING THE TRUTH JEWISH ARE PERVERSION FOR MONEY

  21. Cesar Staller says:

    THE ALL RELIGIONS INCLUDING THE TRUTH JEWISH ARE PERVERSION FOR MONEY


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