The death on Sept. 16 of Rabbi Philip Berg, 86, who founded the Kabbalah Centre with his second wife, Karen, did not come as a surprise. Rav Berg, as he was known at the center, had suffered a stroke in 2004 and had been little heard of since.
Rabbi Philip Berg, founder of the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles and a spiritual adviser to A-list celebrities such as Madonna, has died, according to an announcement made on the Kabbalah Centre’s Web site on Sept. 16.
On Sunday April 29, 2012 at the Israel Festival in Los Angeles, many people visited Jews for Judaism’s booth to acquire literature and show their support for our efforts to keep Jews Jewish.
The Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre is under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service's criminal division. The probe reportedly also involves two charities that are connected with Madonna, the nonprofit center’s most high-profile celebrity supporter. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Internal Revenue Service is looking into whether funds were diverted for the personal use of the Berg family, which has run the Kabbalah Centre for more than 40 years.
Legal experts said the Kabbalah Centre's claim would hinge on its ability to demonstrate that Universal Kabbalah Communities infringed on trademarked material.
The first time I visited the Kabbalah Centre, I thought it was weird. The congregants all wore white; the man on the bimah called out letters of the Hebrew alphabet ("Alef to bet to taph!"); the letters themselves were displayed in massive typeface on posters around the sanctuary.
The Kabbalah Centre has decided that there are ways to bring peace to the world that don't involve staging vomit-ins (as peaceniks did in San Francisco) or holding up traffic on Wilshire Boulevard. The night before the war started, the call went out from Rabbi Phillip Berg at the center that everyone should "scan" (meaning that they should let their eyes pass over the Hebrew letters without actually reading it) a certain passage in the Zohar, the ancient kabbalistic text, whichÂ is now published online. Berg advocated that people scan a passage from Exodus, from the Parsha Beshalach, that deals with the war the Jews fought against Amalek.