A very air-brushed Madonna is on the cover of the new Vanity Fair extolling the virtues of charity and her new album, etc.
She talks about her upcoming documentary about "saving" Malawi orphans. What she doesn't say is that the film was made by her gardener, Nathan Rissman. She promoted him to documentary filmmaker when he showed her little films of her kids, according to several accounts. Among the four associate producers is a member of the Kabbalah hierarchy, Philippe van den Bossche.
The film, which has a Web site and may be shown to the unwitting at the Cannes Film Festival, features a huge dose of Kabbalah via its Spirituality for Kids curriculum. The Kabbalah program is featured in the film and on the Web site, and so is the group's "director of research and training," someone named Heath Grant, PhD. What's his PhD in? Grant says in the accompanying video, "Criminology." OK, whatever.
But here's the more pressing question: Where is the $3.7 million Madonna and friends say they collected on Feb. 6 at their Gucci/Kabbalah/UNICEF event?
Madonna's celebrity friends all turned out for the event, and some of them may have even written checks. Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, etc. showed up, got their pictures taken and carried on about helping African orphans.
But where is the money? I told you then that Madonna's charity, Raising Malawi, was a front for Philip Berg's Kabbalah Center in Hollywood. His son, Michael, is the Raising Malawi founder. They bring adult Malawians to Los Angeles, inculcate them in Kabbalah, which is not Judaism but an invention of Berg's, then send them back to teach it to the orphans.
So far, though, Raising Malawi remains unregistered and unrecognized as a charity. I noticed that back on Feb. 6, when a press release was issued and picked up without question by wire services and lazy press. It said that the money was going to "the Gucci Foundation, a registered charity."
Well, there's no Gucci Foundation, according to the registered charities bureau of New York state and according to guidestar.com. If there is a Gucci Foundation, it exists in some esoteric registry. There's no paperwork on it in any of the places where charities are registered.
Of course, that leaves Berg's Kabbalah Center, which hides under the Spirituality for Kids banner. According to its 2006 federal tax filing, SFK has over $11 million in assets. Van den Bossche gets a salary of $136,577 a year. Grant gets $93,723.
The Bergs - and Madonna - like to say that Spirituality for Kids, which is now the basis for the Malawi program, is separate from Kabbalah. But according to the 2006 filing, SFK transferred a whopping $5 million into the Kabbalah Children's Academy that year.