Sunday, June 16, 2024

Now Madonna and Kabbalah Get New York Magazine Treatment


I’ve been writing about Madonna and Kabbalah for several years now. I recently revealed that Kabbalah was under investigation by a grand jury in New York. Recently, Wayne Barrett, late of the Village Voice and now writing for the Daily Beast, got into the act. Today, New York Magazine jumps in with a piece that pretty much restates a lot of what we’ve already covered. Vanessa Grigoriadis also speaks to a couple of Kabbalah Center members and goes to a “service” in Los Angeles.

In the last week I spoke to a relative of a famous Kabbalah Center member–not Madonna–who is very upset about their loved one’s attachment to the Center. I also encountered the business associate of another prominent member, who defended the organization with glassy eyed determination. When I offered to take this person to an actual synagogue to see an actual rabbi, they demurred: “I don’t need that. I have the Kabbalah Center.” So you see what’s happening here.

Most of these reports have little effect, unfortunately, on current members. It’s not until people leave a cult that we find out — no matter which one it is–that they invulnerable to public criticism.

Remember this much going forward: according to the Associated Press in February 2010, 200 local Malawians were removed from their homes to make way for a school that has never been built in the impoverished African country. The locals were paid a pittance to leave. Millions of dollars have since evaporated without explanation. And American families have lost children to Kabbalah Center leader Karen Berg’s private team of young women who work directly for her– called Chevre.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also 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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