[Marxism] Kabbalah water

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 12 13:04:46 MDT 2004

Kabbalah water?
Madonna will drink to that

Updated: 9:33 a.m. ET Aug. 12, 2004

Madonna stunned concert organizers in Ireland with her backstage demands 
which, according to sources, included a request for 25 cases of Kabbalah 
water. The one-time Material Girl refuses to drink anything but the 
water sold by the trendy religious movement, which some have called a cult.

“That’s a lot of water for a one-day concert,” says a source. “I’ve 
heard some Kabbalah followers bathe in Kabbalah water.”

But cult expert and Kabbalah critic Rick Ross tells The Scoop he doesn’t 
think that Madonna has taken to washing up in the pricey water.

“Madonna has taken to pushing Kabbalah on anyone within shouting 
distance,” says Ross. “She’s been trying to convert everyone who works 
on the concert [there are more than 100], and that includes making them 
pray, giving Kabbalah courses as presents, and no doubt, pumping 
Kabbalah water down their throats. People working on concerts go through 
a lot of water, and it’s the only drink that she’ll touch.”

Madonna’s list of backstage demands also includes vodka, but insiders 
say that’s to remove stains from her outfits.


The Kabbalah centre wants your heart—and your money
The String That Binds
by Abby Ellin, with special reporting by Adam J. Sacks
Village Voice, August 11 - 17, 2004

The building at 155 East 48th Street gleams like a freshly polished 
piece of marble. It is spotless, pristine; it could be Ian Schrager's 
latest hotel or a swanky, if austere, new restaurant. Everything about 
it sparkles: the heavy glass doors leading into the white-tiled lobby; 
the bottled water lined up on a table; the beatific faces on the workers 
milling about.

Upstairs, in a generic conference room—rows of plastic chairs, an 
oversize IP chart set up on an easel, recessed fluorescent 
lighting—people listen to a beaming teacher at the Manhattan branch of 
the Kabbalah Centre.

"Don't believe anything you hear in this course. Test it in your life. 
It has to work for you. Believing means there is already an element of 
doubt," he says with the cadence of a cantor. "The secret to success is 
to know the laws of life—not to believe in them. When you test these 
laws and principles, you will come to know the power of Kabbalah."

The group of about 60—men, women, blacks, whites, Israelis wearing 
yarmulkes—nods earnestly. How could something so ancient, so esoteric, 
sound so basic, so . . . Barnes & Noble self-help section?

"Why be reactive when you could be proactive? Why not embrace the 
Light?" He pauses and his eyes shine. "This," he says, "is Kabbalah."

Yes, this is Kabbalah, the mystical, ancient study that has turned into 
the spiritual therapy du jour, its classes meeting at a center near you. 
But some claim Kabbalah—"receipt" in Hebrew—is picking up where the 
Scientologists, Hare Krishnas, and Moonies left off.

Naturally, celebrities, arbiters of the zeitgeist, are all over it: 
Sandra Bernhard, Barbra Streisand, Rose-anne, and notable Jewish 
scholars like Demi Moore and Britney Spears have all taken classes with 
the Kabbalah Centre. Some can be seen sporting the red string, which 
supposedly wards off evil. (In February, the center tried to trademark 
the words Kabbalah red string; their application was rejected on the 
grounds that the string was only "indefinitely identified" as a 
religious object.) Just the other day Target, which had been selling the 
red strings in some of its stores and on its website—for a mere 
$25.99!—yanked them off shelves after receiving complaints from angry 

Madonna, of course, has recently reinvented herself as the poster child 
for Kabbalah. On her appropriately named ReInvention Tour, she allowed 
only Kabbalah water in her dressing room, invited a rabbi to bless the 
venue, and donated proceeds from sales of her children's book The 
English Roses to the Kabbalah Centre's Spirituality for Kids Foundation. 
She has changed her name to Esther and reportedly shelled out $6 million 
for a Kabbalah facility in London's West End. She has also spent some 
$22 million for a Kabbalah school in New York, which is slated to open 
next fall.

full: http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0432/ellin.php


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