Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

‘Sense of Hollowness’ Leads Britain’s Wealthiest to Kaballah

April 6, 2014 10:49 am 8 comments

Kaballah Center in New York City. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

An increasing number of Britain’s richest are turning to Jewish mysticism, Kaballah, to help fill a spiritual void, London’s Evening Standard reported on Friday.

“Fifteen years ago, everyone I knew was on a plane reading the Warren Buffett book on how to become a billionaire,” London nightclub owner Piers Adam, 50, told the paper. “Now, everyone I know is trying to understand this sense of hollowness that they feel.”

Jamie True, a entrepreneur who recently made an estimated £15 million from the sale of mobile app Grapple, said Kaballah offers him a new form of understanding that he appreciates.

“If you go to a church or a synagogue or a mosque, you hear those stories and you think, how’s that going to help me?” the 39-year-old said. “What I find nice about Kaballah is that it takes the big concepts and tells it to you in a way you can understand… You think you’ve got it but then every week there’s another concept and you’re like ‘Wow!’ It’s not small stuff, it’s big.”

Marcus Weston, a spiritual mentor for Kaballah practitioners in Britain, including Adams and True, told the Evening Standard that Kaballah is becoming the preferred religion of Britain’s affluent.

“When I first got into Kaballah I would often be the only person in the class,” he said. “Now we have a footfall of about 1,000 a week. There’s a marked increase in people who are seeking to answer these questions.”

“Honestly, now we get so much scrutiny because we have such high-profile members,” he added. “The Charities Commission, the Inland Revenue — they come with all sorts of allegations but they always find us squeaky clean.”

Weston, 41, began his career at Citibank but left 16 years ago after taking a course under Rabbi Philip Berg, the founder of the Kaballah Center. He now devotes his life to teaching at London’s Kabbalah Centre, proselytizing and charitable works.

Explaining Kaballah’s appeal among the wealthy, Weston said, “It’s the fact that it’s efficient. A successful person hasn’t got time to invest in random hobbies. It has a structure, it’s measurable, in terms of how you feel and how the universe feeds back to you.”

8 Comments

  • British t.v. sent an undercover reporter to investigate the Kabala Centre in London. Among the other irrational statements made by a Kabbala Centre teacher, was the suggestion that the Centre’s special, very expensive Canadian tap water just might cure cancer !!!! and that the Holocaust, which centred on Poland, was the result of Jews not studying Kabbala, forgetting that centres of Hasidim which taught Kabbala were largest in Poland. No rabbinical body in Britain of any ‘stream’ recognises the Kabbala Centre as being part of the Jewish community.

  • charlie johnson

    The King Midas syndrome.It seems to me as one who has not had a fortune that once a person reaches the billion dollar level he could figure a way to help the less fortunate without giving it to the addicted or lazy .Maybe build a factory so people can have a fair paycheck.(The less educated ones.) But I have worked for several people who had a lot of money but they underpaid and bragged about how much smarter they were.Three are dead now.I think they have a problem that Kabbala has no remedy for.

  • This article whitewashes the Kabbalah Centre’s reputation. It claims the Centre is scrutinized because of celebrities & has been found squeaky clean. Courthouse News, Newsweek, The LA Times, ABC, cult education, truth about kabbalah wordpress, and many former students & staff beg to differ, including the woman alleging that co-director Yehuda Berg, son of founders Phillip & Karen, plied her with pills & sexually assaulted her, then threatened to murder her & that the Centre’s main teachers admitted they knew Yehuda has a reoccurring problem, suggesting it wasn’t an isolated incident. It’s hard to prove such things, but those of us who know both parties already know the truth. Just like in your soul, you probably already know not to trust the Centre. It’s the wealthy & celebrities who give it that sheen & shine to cover the slime & grime. And you should see by those very people alone that the Centre appeals to shallow people who only seem deep if you already live in a shallow world with a shallow mentality. If you’re not concerned with authenticity & really only want to network with famous & powerful people, the Centre is for you!

    The article claims the Centre is becoming the preferred “religion” of the wealthy Londoners. What a bogus claim by any stretch of the imagination! It’s pure propaganda. It also contradicts what the Centre teaches. Soon, you’ll probably come across a link by “former kabbalah student speaks…”, a teacher at the Centre, Billy, who spends all of his time attacking anyone who criticizes his cult. Billy & many teachers often claim that kabbalah is anti-religion, even though they register their organization as a Church, for tax-exemption. However, neither Israel or the UK allow the Centre non-profit status, as they now claim to be a “bookstore” & they are in retail selling their own merchandise that funds the Centre’s family-led business that employs a staff of “volunteers”.

    But to be fair to Billy, he really means that kabbalah is anti-Jewish & you should be, too, since traditional Judaism opposes his cult & clearly runs the mainstream media who unfairly slanders the Centre for trying to reveal the “Light”. Not that it matters to most of you, but if you are Jewish, you should also know that Billy endorses Jesus as messiah & reinforces the centuries-old libel that Jews murdered the messiah & are no longer Israelites because they failed to transform. He claimed that Jews are not mentioned in the Bible & that Judaism is the source of all the world’s chaos, including anti-Semitism. He claims many unprovable miracles & conveniently remembered signs & dreams to always reinforce his belief & claim that Rav Berg was the reincarnation of Moses, Jesus & Rabbi Shimon bar Yohai, author of the Zohar. He also claims that Jesus was Rabbi Shimon. He’s a missionary of a new religion that is ever-changing to suit its customer base. They claim theres a tradition of Christian kabbalists on one hand, but admit that since those Christians used kabbalah to reinforce Jesus as messiah & a god, that it was idolatrous. But they also say that Christianity was idolatrous in order to ween Jews away from Torah & assimilate them where they can’t use Torah to hurt anyone. But then they also say that non-jews need Jesus to save them but also that they can’t need Torah since they have no capacity to do negativity. But then he says Jesus is messiah, son of Joseph, not David, which is not at all what Christians believe. And He says that Christianity & its Trinity are “pure Torah” when practiced only through his Centre’s understanding of the writings of Rabbi Valle who claimed to be Jesus’ reincarnation, also. OK, got that? Anyway…

    Other teachers blamed the Holocaust on Jews rejecting the Centre & 9-11 on the greed of New Yorkers. But they portray the Arab Palestinians as victims, naturally, while calling Israel, Zionism & Jews “Nazis, usurpers, occupiers, impostors, others, hostiles, not even human, shape-shifters, etc.” No matter how you personally feel about Jews, Israel or Zionism, kabbalists have never endorsed such characterization of those people or ideas. Rav Berg, the founder of the Centre, was an Orthodox Jew & a Zionist who believed he had a part in helping Israel liberate the territory it held after 1967. I’m not endorsing either political claim. I believe in peace & human dignity.

    But Karen, Berg’s second wife, openly hates religious Jews & has grown bitter as her cult has been increasingly ostracized from the tradition she willingly broke her organization away from. It’s a new monstrosity & Karen herself has openly admitted she regrets opening the Centre to the general public, against the path her husband had intended to take. The Centre makes claims in order to defend itself & create a mythology that portrays itself as the suffering servant willing to do what no one dared before. But Berg was not directed to change kabbalah. He was slowly convinced by his wife who turned in into a cult that procures celebrities to lure their fans & profit from their confusion, ignorance & need for meaning.

    In the original, longer Evening Standard article, it’s claimed that the Centre no longer charges fees for classes & that doing so previously was only a minor mistake during the organization’s infancy. However, the Centre claims it was founded by Rav Yehuda Ashlag in the 1920s. That infancy? Rav Ashlag ran a Jewish Yeshiva for Orthodox Jewish men called Kol Yehuda in Jerusalem. Yes, he faced rejection by mainstream religious figures. And the Centre uses that & every Biblical example of how ancient Israelites judged Moses as proof that Jews are just evil. Rav Ashlag didn’t know Rav Berg who the founder of the Kabbalah Centre decades later. Rav Ashlag handed down Kol Yehuda to Rav Brandwein who Berg claim he received it from but did not, according to everyone else associated with Ashlag, Bradwein & Kol Yehuda. Kol Yehuda was run by Rav Branwein’s son, after him. Later, after Rav Brandwein’s death, Berg began the Centre with his second wife, Karen, after Berg abandoned his first wife, Rav Brandwein’s niece Rivka, & the 8 children they had together.

    As a former student at that definite cult, I can tell you that such a claim alone reveals that the absolute intention of this series of articles is to deceive & attract more wealth in smaller amount of individuals to control. They’re clearly targeting the wealthy, with glamour, like the vampires they are. The Centre has suffered a series of major losses recently, due to its well-deserved reputation as a fraudulent cult & the claims they made that were proven false, like the immortality of their now-dead founder. Immortality is one of their big attractions that celebrities are particularly fond of, even by their own admission in articles meant to promote the cult they are so devoted to. The leadership of the Centre simply finds it easier to service a few wealthy people personally, while allowing the masses to sign-up for online classes for practically free now, never truly becoming members or practitioners. Real access requires tithing 10% & being fully dedicated to many other costly endeavors.

    This isn’t journalism. Someone should be fired for allowing cults to promote themselves like this. Do your homework. It makes you wonder what kind of connections the Centre has that these purely fictional advertisements find their way into publications as “information”.

  • These people may have spirituality issues, but what they really need is a good therapist who will have the balls to tell them they’re narcissistic and need to change their behaviors and actions in order to combat the hollowness….

  • Anthony Abela

    Well, so what else is new?. Most of these “affluent” people are trying to find spiritual justification for all the underhanded tricks they use to make money. They should call it “Mammon’s institute for conscientious justification” Money comes from the word “Mammon”. As Jeshua once said, you cannot serve both G-D and Mammon. One is good and the other is evil,one dosn’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure which is which.

  • The Kabalah center is a fraud.

  • Arlene Kushner

    How sad this is: a cheapening and distortion of Kaballah – which in fact is very serious and deep – so that it becomes a “feel good” avenue available to the uninitiated. Marcus Winston, who took a course on Kaballah, is now a “spiritual mentor” who says Kaballah is becoming “the preferred religion of Britain’s affluent.” Excuse me? Kaballah is a mystic discipline within Judaism, not a separate religion. And it requires, for serious adherents, stringent observance of Judaism. Winson’s comparing Kaballah study to a “hobby” is an insult to this discipline. It’s “efficient,” explains Winson, thus exposing the fact that he’s working with people seeking instant “spiritual” gratification and not genuine commitment.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Features Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    Israel and the Apartheid Narrative: 2 South African Student Leaders Weigh In

    JNS.org – About two-dozen people file into Dodd 175 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus on a Thursday night, scouting out seats and picking at the kosher pizza in the back of the lecture hall. Miyelani Pinini knows the drill. A former student president of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she’s attended and even organized her share of free-pizza events. But now she and a fellow South African student leader were the stars of this […]

    Read more →
  • Food Spirituality/Tradition The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    The Brewish State: Israel Taps Into Growing Craft Beer Bazaar

    JNS.org – It’s widely known that Israel has penetrated the wine market, with some of its sophisticated Israeli blends surpassing historically excellent wines from areas such as the Napa Valley or Bordeaux. But what about beer? For decades, Israel has offered solely the Maccabi and Nesher brands. Not anymore. “There is a huge push of people making beer at home. The country is approaching over 30 craft breweries in the last year or two, making nearly 200 beers,” says Avi Moskowitz, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →