I've renounced my religion because Kabbalah want ten per cent of my friends' incomes

Jerry Hall hits out at celebrity sect after she is told to raise money at get-togethers

Mail on Sunday, London (UK)/October 19, 2003

Jerry Hall has turned her back on the controversial sect Kabbalah after its leaders asked her to solicit substantial donations from her celebrity friends.

The former supermodel, once one of the most famous advocates of the sect, an offshoot of Judaism, has told how she was encouraged to ask friends for a tenth of their annual incomes.

'They always talked about giving in order to receive, but I didn't really realise that in order to go through a door of miracles you had to give ten per cent of your income,' she said.

Like many celebrities including Madonna, who spent 3.65million on a Grade II listed building in the heart of London's West End to give Kabbalah a British home, Jerry has spoken openly about the spiritual teachings and benefits of the religion, which is based on 4,000- year-old Hebrew teachings.

She held weekly Kabbalah meetings at her home in Richmond, Surrey, and also studied the 72 Hebrew letters on which Kabbalah is based.

So taken was she with the faith, which is described as a 'divine system of wisdom', she even got her ex-husband Mick Jagger to learn some of the teachings and turned to Kabbalah when her 12-year marriage broke up.

She also met her ex-boyfriend, millionaire Tim Attias, through their mutual love of the faith. But now 46-year-old Jerry has spoken out against it. In a BBC3 TV programme, Jerry Hall's Gurus, to be screened next month, she says she stopped holding Kaballah meetings after a year because she felt it was 'impolite' to ask her friends to pay money into the Kabbalah Centre.

She said: 'I felt that it was unfair to have everyone come to my house and feel obliged.

'I've had private Kabbalah sessions in my house for over a year . . . My best friends were coming to my house every Thursday so it was a wonderful get-together. We were talking about spiritual ways to be better mothers and better people.

'It was a lovely experience and we were sad when it ended. I'd gotten very busy and it had gone on for a year. It was time for a change.' Asked if she had given ten per cent of her own income, Jerry said: 'No, but we all did give generous donations and thought it was a very good cause as far as bringing more light to people.

'We thought that the Kabbalah letters do have a power that is helpful.' The news that Jerry has turned her back on the tradition she once spoke so highly of will confirm the doubts of Kabbalah's critics who claim the centre is using its famous followers as pawns to encourage others to join and bring more money to the centre.

Other devotees include supermodel Naomi Campbell, Hollywood stars Demi Moore, Michael Jackson-Elizabeth Taylor and Gwyneth Paltrow, and designer Stella McCartney.

As well as donations, the Kabbalah Centre makes money through expensive courses which followers are encouraged to go on.

There has also been outrage at the cost of Kabbalah merchandise which includes the trademark red string bracelet, said to ward off negativity, which costs 18.

A Kabbalah protection necklace costs 180 while some of its books cost up to 300. Products from the Kabbalah beauty range cost from around 50 each and mineral water which promises 'centuries of wisdom in every drop' costs up to 15 a bottle.

On average, the Kabbalah Centre is believed to make profits of up to 500 per cent on its merchandise.

Rabbi Barry Marcus, a head rabbi at the London Central Synagogue, told The Mail on Sunday: 'It doesn't surprise me at all that celebrities like Jerry Hall are encouraged to give donations and ask their friends to give money.

'Famous people are dragged in because they guarantee publicity and money.

That's the darker but true side to these Kabbalah Centres.

'In our opinion they have nothing to do with the Kabbalah, which is very important to Judaism.'

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