"Thank you for all the great work you do. I only wish I would have taken heed of your articles and warnings much earlier - it would have saved me about ten years of lost career and $100,000 dollars in money they took from us. Oh, well. It's never loo late to learn. Me and my wife learned it the hard way. Hopefully, other people will take these articles more seriously much sooner than we did."
"I once went to the Kabbalah Centre in New York City. I was unemployed at the time. They said studying the Zohar would help me get a job and put everything right in my life. And just having the Zohar in my home would change things for me. The Zohar cost $450, but they let me pay for it in installments. I would constantly get calls from a man at the Kabbalah Centre. He would tell me I needed to buy this or that to let the light in and get the chaos out of my life. He said if I wanted to cure my financial troubles I should buy the things from the Kabbalah Centre. I ended up spending well over a $1,000 on my credit card. The last straw came when they wanted me to attend a Kabbalah Center retreat in Florida for $3,000, that's without the airfare and hotel. When I said that that I had already bought tons of stuff I was told, 'You've only bought the tools now you need to activate them.' When I refused and said that I would not buy more stuff or pay out more money to the Kabbalah Centre I never got another call. So much for my spiritual growth. I still have loads of Kabbalah stuff around--two packets of red string, CDs, books, '72 Names of God' paraphernalia and of course the 23-volume set of the Zohar. I feel like a fool, but after reading the comments on this website, it made me feel a little better. I'm obviously not the only person who has been 'sucked in.'"
"I heard about the Kabbalah Centre and decided to check it out while in LA and attended one of the free lectures. Then I started receiving phone calls from the center. A few times they were very nice calls, asking if I needed more information to 'guide me.' But later I was told that I was not spiritually connecting and desperately needed a Zohar in my home, which costs $450.00. When I refused I was told my 'soul' was 'in serious crisis' and needed 'emergency care' and that even though a Zohar at a Jewish bookstore only costs $100 dollars, it wouldn't be 'spiritually charged' like the ones they sell. I still study Kabbalah, but would like to give people this warning. If you really want to learn about Kabbalah the place to study is your own home or perhaps look into Judaism. I would strongly urge people to stay away from the Kabbalah Centre. Once they realized I wouldn't dish out cash to them, their concern for me and my spirituality was gone."
"It takes a great deal more than just wearing a red string to be a student of the Kabbalah. The Kabbalah is lately being made to appear alike some 'hip' or 'fad' thing by celebrities. Of course the celebrities bring in some serious cash to the Kabbalah Centre. Madonna seems to have 24-hour access to Yehuda Berg. Can anyone have that? Maybe if you donate millions of dollars, but not just by buying a lot of 'Kabbalah water.' And to the best of my knowledge the Catholic Church doesn't sell its holy water. You cannot buy your way to God, nor can inner peace be merchandized. I believe that the Kabbalah itself is valuable, but the commercialization and trivialization of the Kabbalah by the Kabbalah Centre is not."
"The Kabbalah Centre exploits and manipulates the Jewish religion. This is not true Judaism. It's got as much to do with Judaism and Kabbalah as Scientology has to do with science. They appeal to the egos of celebrities by claiming that following their voodoo crap makes them somehow 'spiritually enlightened.'"
Here are my observations based upon one year at the London Kabbalah Center. There are three key groups of people there. One is the rich women who are bored with the pursuit of shopping and cosmetic surgery and embark upon a 'spiritual journey' in the hope of finding real meaning. The center loves these women and they donate a lot of money. On the Shabbat dinners they are seated next to the teacher so everyone knows they are special. Those who donate more are worth more and receive preferred treatment. If you dare to mention this they will say that your 'ego is controlling you' and that you better work on yourself and not to be jealous. For example wash the dishes, which will help bring some 'light' in. Young professionals (30-40) that have suffered big disappointments in their careers and/or relationships are another group. Failure and heartbreak seem to be good hooks for 'cult' development. There are more females than males. Third, foreigners who have no family in England. The hook here is again loneliness. They are easy targets and the Center becomes their family. Many good and intelligent people that get caught. The Center staff have a very smooth way of talking and they use celebrities. I wish these celebrities knew what a negative impact they can have on other people's lives. For them the Kabbalah Center may be another fad, but their choices influence others."
"I was a student of the Kabbalah Center, but after a year I left. They were constantly calling my home and asking for donations. They try and convince you that if you don't donate, you are not 'giving for the sake of receiving,' which is a central tenet of their version of Kabbalah. They still call me even after I told them not to. I now belong to a Kabbalah community that does not solicit donations and provides all of their books, articles, videos and lectures for free, without any strings attached. They also have not condemned me for any of my beliefs."
"I joined the Kabbalah Center in London and for most of the time quite enjoyed the content of their classes, but became gradually suspicious. Just attending classes was not good enough for them. They want people to come to services and volunteer, from washing dishes to cleaning floors and fund raising. During a private session a teacher said, 'If you just want to attend classes that is not good enough.' I was told that donating to the Kabbalah Center is the ultimate way to donate, because this will connect to and help to spread the light. And if you don't donate bad things may happen to you. I probably spent more than £1000 on classes, books and merchandise. I would warn anyone involved to be careful and not let these people control your mind. It is disappointing that they have taken such a beautiful teaching and tradition and reduced it to this level. I am determined to continue studying Kabbalah and discovering its depth and power, but at other safer places."
"My 20-year-old daughter was recently ensnared by the Berg Kabbalah Center here in Israel. She decided to join their commune in Tel Aviv. Eventually she agreed to speak with someone familiar with Berg who studies Jewish spirituality. They spoke for an hour or so, and she also spoke with a Berg victim. But my daughter was so deeply brainwashed that any attempt to intervene seemed hopeless. Later, she agreed to speak with a clinical psychologist that knows her well. He knew she was in denial and did not attack Berg directly. We finally saw some sign of progress, but she still left home and went to the Kabbalah Center. She said someone there, who had worked with Karen Berg, did not have good things to say about her. My daughter finally left and then went to visit a good friend at Hebrew University, who was also under Kabbalah Center influence. Together they ripped the red string and both showed up that night at our home. My daughter is still confused, but out of denial. She says she won't go back to the Kabbalah Center."
"I just recently started attending the Kaballah Center in Miami, after finding our about it on BeliefNet.com. I had an uneasy feeling from the very start, but was lulled into thinking that my suspicions were 'my problem.' Thank you for providing this information. My experience showed me how easy it is to fall into the trap of a cult."
"They take credit for anything good happening to you. If anything bad happens it is your fault. You are useless without them and the bad will create chaos."
"I am both a former Center student, and a holder of a B.A. in comparative religion with a concentration in mysticism. Thank you for getting out the word about how manipulative and abusive Berg is. I started taking their initial series of classes in 1993, but got out after about two months, because it was evident that Berg was encouraging the students and staff to worship him and Karen. Additionally, their teachings were extremely sexist".
"The staff/instructors at the Kabbalah Learning Center [in Los Angeles] believe that a Moroccan Kabbalist declared four hundred years ago that during the Hebrew year of 5760 there is going to be some major catastrophe or an end to the world. The Center believes that this translates to the date of September 11th 1999. The Center believes that they can save the world in the next fifteen months and divert us from destruction by opening up more centers around the world--and teaching people how to be proactive, scan the Zohar, share more, i.e. be good!I believe this is the basis for a cult belief [sic]. They are using alarm and fear to get people to donate money and try to bring in their friends. This seems similar to EST and Scientology [sic]. It seems absolutely ridiculous to predict the end of the world, but I guess some people want to live like that and believe it.Well, there you have it! The end of the world is coming in less than FIVE HUNDRED DAYS! So join the Kabbalah Centre and scan the Zohar--even if you don't read Hebrew, share to your hearts content, and give money to the Centers. Don't you want join and save the world!" --A former student of the Los Angeles Center, 1998
"Thank you for your article concerning the Kabbalah [Centre]. I have just read an article in the Israeli press about Rosanne Barr and her afflication with this group. She plans to come to Israel soon. I got the impression this wasn't a part of Jewish education but a fringe group".
"Hello, I live in Israel and I am a teenager. Some time ago a good friend of mine started to go to this place called 'Kabbalah Centre'. I didn't mind of course and even went with him once or twice. Somehow though I found your website [and it responded to] all of the fears I had. I understand now what this place all about. I made my friend promise me he won't go there again. I just want to say thank you. I don't want to think what could have happened if I stayed there."
"I started taking Kabbalah classes last November. I'm thousands of dollars poorer, pissed off, and I can't believe I fell for their gypsy tactics. I should have known better, but they are GOOD at what they do; I was only in for 9 months, but that was enough. Now I understand what is going on. Thanks to your web site, Singer's book, ["Cults in Our Midst"] a review of NLP techniques, and my own observations, I was able to pull myself back to sanity. This group is insidious; I'm sure you've heard this before, but I can't believe they got ME. They are sinking their claws into lots of other people, especially with their version of millennium madness."
"I was so glad to discover your site. So many naive people here in LA are trapped in that Kabbalah center. Your reports are so beneficial to us, helping us helping others."
"I attended the Kaballah Center briefly back in the early 1990s when I lived in California. I got a bad feeling from Philip Berg and clearly saw that there was a 'cult of personality' surrounding him. Later, they began suggesting that I would benefit by purchasing a $350 set of [books] the Zohar and that just 'scanning' the words would benefit me (and they would have you 'scan' during regular services). There was obvious self promotion of Berg's written material, which I found rather facile. They placed a strong emphasis on astrology, which I consider utter nonsense. I stopped going after about two months. I still study Kaballah, but never purchased any of Berg's material. The fact that Rosanne and Madonna find the Center appealing is perhaps the surest indication of the superficial and ersatz nature of the Center--not to mention of bad taste in general."
"I just wanted to let you know that I have just signed up for some classes at the University of Judaism here in Los Angeles. I am so excited! It is an introduction to Kabbalah. I thought it would be a lot safer than the Kabbalah Centers. Thank you for the warning and I am confident the classes being offered by the university will be very interesting."
Copyright © Rick Ross
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