So Madonna went back to Malawi yesterday and planted a tree where her girls academy will be built. She says it will be a $15 million school.

Her press materials say that Madonna’s school, called the Raising Malawi Academy, will be like Oprah’s Leadership Academy in South Africa.

Well, it won’t be like Oprah’s school at all. Winfrey’s school is modeled on several well-known private schools in the U.S. including Miss Porter’s in Connecticut. The curriculum is a broad spectrum of liberal arts.

On the other hand: Madonna’s school will teach Spirituality for Kids, the curriculum of the Kabbalah Center of Los Angeles. It’s a gibberish program attached to Philip Berg’s form of “kabbalah,” mystical teachings that in their real form are part of advanced Judiac studies.

The Kabbalah Center is anchored around several books and other teachings all of which cost plenty in the long run. It is anathema to traditional Judaism. Real kabbalah is studied by 40-year-old men as a treat after years of intensive training.

Kabbalah Center kabbalah is like skipping to dessert instead of having a big meal. It’s its own reward.

Raising Malawi was started by the Bergs and Madonna in 2006, when they began flying adult Malawians to Los Angeles for Kabbalah indoctrination. The group didn’t get its 501 c 3 non profit status, however, until late 2008.

In early 2008, the group raised money through the Gucci Foundation because it still didn’t have its own certification. The group is now selling $1,200 18K gold ingot pendants on its website to raise money. Madonna herself donated $284,000 to Raising Malawi in 2008 through her Ray of Light Foundation, and another $150,000 to Spirituality for Kids.

Author
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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