Welcome to the Front Row: A Plea for Equal Access to God in Orthodox Jewish Culture

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  1. Spanish Inquisition
  2. 10 Reasons Even Committed Church Attenders Are Attending Church Less Often - izuwehyqaj.tk
  3. Explore the October Issue
  4. The History of an Idea, the Anatomy of an Obsession

Boomers may have decades of good health and good living ahead of them. There is good news for those ready to re-engage in social activities and even start dating. Now more than ever there are activities to accommodate all types of people and interests. Travel companies are catering to singles, there are book clubs, outdoor activities, Mah Jongg and bridge groups for singles. Many people who have experienced the loss of their spouse or partner — whether because of death or divorce — find that they have grown personally and spiritually through the experience. As a result, they may, in fact, be better prepared for a healthy relationship.

With age and maturity, people often feel more comfortable and secure in their identities, which can allow for greater emotional and physical intimacy. No matter our age, it is a significant step. And even though concerns about birth control may not be an issue, taking safety precautions remains important. In fact, the CDC recently reported that the rate of sexually transmitted infections STIs is increasing in the 50 and over population. If you can do that, the bad experiences become funny stories and the good experiences sometimes turn into a relationship.

A woman in one of my grief groups told me she had so much anxiety about a first date she thought about taking all the family pictures off the walls. When they came back, he asked who was in the picture and commented on how handsome her husband was. What does that mean, she wondered? Her first instinct was to minimize the photo, but she remembered her grief group discussing the importance of accepting and integrating the past into the future relationships.

My grandkids really miss him. Being alone, either by choice or by chance does not mean you have to be lonely. What is essential is to develop a positive support system of friends and family who will be there for you to share the good times and the bad times, people who will be there for you when you need physical and emotional support. A sense of social connection is one of our fundamental human needs. Social connection has been proven to improve health, well-being, and longevity.

When you feel ready to re-engage, there are many avenues available for making meaningful, healthy connections. Dating can be one option at any age. Zac Plotkin looks back fondly at his 14 summers spent at Capital Camps. It was there that he made lifelong friends and garnered the experiences that would later guide him towards his current career path.

In fact, camp made such an impression on this young professional that in his junior year at Towson University, this human resource management major decided to make Jewish camping his profession. What was something you learned while participating in E3 that you never thought about before?

I learned that I have a large network around me that can help solve problems in multiple situations. The networking opportunities and connections I made were the most valuable things I was able to take away from E3. I was surprised there were so many people in different positions and organizations willing, and happy, to help.

How can you apply the program to your career? One of the things I learned from the peer consultancy protocols were tips for working with parents. A lot of the E3 cohort members were parents of kids who attend or attended Jewish summer camps. They had ideas of how to present issues to parents that I had never thought of before this session.

It is not something a summer staff member has to deal with, but as a full-time Jewish camp professional, I have more significant responsibility. What was your favorite camp memory? I was a CIT counselor in We had weekly discussions with our CITs. This time I decided to wait for them to be quiet before I began talking. When they realized what was I doing, one of my CITs made a very funny comment.

Almost immediately, the entire group started laughing uncontrollably. We laughed the entire time our discussion was meant to last—nearly 45 minutes. These are things that only happen at camp. What do you find resonates with them? For some, being at Jewish camp makes it easy to engage in Jewish life such as weekly Shabbat dinners, Israeli dancing and singing Jewish songs.

Those who are not involved in Jewish life throughout the year can easily immerse themselves in Judaism. Looking back, what advice would you give your teen self? I would tell myself things are going to work out. I think every teen stresses over the little things too much, especially in social situations.

What Jewish person would you like to have a conversation with? What would you talk about? He taught me a good portion of what I know about Israel today and started my love for Israel. It would be great to catch up and see how he is doing now that he is living in Israel. What are your future career plans? My goal is to one day be a camp director wherever that may be. I have some steps to take and more to learn before I am ready to take on that job. It would be wise to get that experience at different camps along the way. For Melanie Shapiro, change is a constant in her life.

As director of Juvenile Justice Policy for the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, Melanie is an advocate for change and sometimes for stability, ensuring policies remain unchanged.

For 15 years I was a juvenile defender and moved into policy work full-time about two years ago. I advocate on behalf of the Office of the Public Defender and our clients on legislative and policy issues year-round and in Annapolis during the day legislative session. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to work in the juvenile justice field. I enjoy law, I am passionate about advocacy and I also like working with children — this job provides me the opportunity to combine all three. The majority of my involvement is with those two committees.

When JPW first started, the events were so small. I would like more people to have the experience I had when I returned to Baltimore. I was introduced to JPW through a friend and started down the path of giving back to the community. I hope others will choose one of the many opportunities to become involved in ways that are meaningful to them. Someone once said to me that nothing has to be permanent — that you have the power to change everything.

For example, after my oldest was born, I was preparing to return to work. We lived in New York City and had secured a spot at a daycare center. I wondered if putting him in daycare was the right decision. I think that is a mindset that is good for folks, personally and professionally. I would have to say Simchat Torah. I have fond childhood memories of going to Chizuk Amuno [Congregation], dancing around the synagogue and enjoying the celebration — I just enjoyed the fun atmosphere.

Now, as an adult, I enjoy taking my children to Chizuk Amumo to dance, sing and celebrate the Torah. I would say Educated by Tara Westover. She had an abusive upbringing, Despite the absence of any formal education, the author went to college and ultimately obtained a doctorate in history Now she wants to help and empower others and has shared her story in her book. If you could have a coffee date with anyone in the world, who would it be?

Michelle Obama. Dogs or Cats?

  • The Common Thread: A Self-Paced Journey to a More Fulfilled Life.
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My children are begging me for a family dog — I probably get asked every single day! Melt butter in 9x13 pan. Place blintz in pan, roll in butter. Combine eggs, sourcream, vanilla, sugar, orange juice, and salt. Beat together until fluffy. Pour over blintz. Tot Time with the J: Kenilworth September 4, a. Perfect for babies and toddlers. Hands on Holiday: Roland Park September 5, a.

Hands on Holiday: Govans September 13, a. Tiyul Journeys: Rosh Hashanah September 15, p. Pearlstone During this one-of-a-kind experience for 2nd through 6th graders, we will awaken our senses in the outdoors, learn about nature and connect to our roots through storytelling, food, music and ancient sacred skills. Hands on Holiday: Patterson Park September 16, a.

Tot Time with the J: Kenilworth September 18, a. Hands on Holiday: Light Street September 18, a. Hands on Holiday: Ivy Bookshop September 22, a. Rosh Hashana Chagigah September 26, a. Filled with songs, stories, snacks and crafts. This is a free event, no registration required. Tot Time with the J: Kenilworth October 2, a. Hands on Holiday: Roland Park October 3, a.

  1. The Other Frontier: Women’s Experiences on the American Frontier?
  2. The Garden of Kabbalah.
  3. 2-Day Juice Cleanse!
  4. What Do American Jews Believe? - Commentary.
  5. Beatrices Glorious Journey!
  6. 2. Higher focus on kids’ activities.
  7. There is no better time to engage in Jewish learning than right now. Here are a few suggestions for how to incorporate Jewish learning into your daily life. Engage with your synagogue. We, at the Associated, are proud to partner with a wide variety of synagogues throughout our community. There is no better place to dive into Jewish learning than at your local synagogue. All of our synagogues offer dynamic learning opportunities in addition to prayer, community and social justice opportunities.

    Check one out and get involved. Read a weekly Dvar Torah. You can subscribe to countless meaningful Jewish teachings by becoming a regular subscriber through the internet. There are countless websites offering great Jewish learning opportunities. Read a Jewish book. There are wonderful Jewish books constantly being published. Learn about Israel. Israel is a young, thriving and growing nation.

    Now is the time to understand the complexities of the modern state of Israel even if you might struggle to understand and accept current realities. Read The Times of Israel online for daily news and thoughtful blogs. Join The Associated or your synagogue on a trip to Israel. By visiting and experiencing different Jewish communities, you can grasp the breadth and depth of global Jewish peoplehood. Judaism teaches that the Gates of Repentance are always open. Judaism is religion of doing and learning. In our tradition, learning is raised to the level of prayer.

    Just as we are challenged to repent every day and not just on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the gates of learning are similarly always open. As we greet this new year, we are fortunate to live at a time with so many amazing opportunities for Jewish study. Life is busy, but you will never really have leisure. So seize the moment at this time of renewal to renew within yourself our great teaching on a regular basis. As we reflect on our personal actions and look toward the year ahead, it is an appropriate time to contemplate our relationship with Earth and our roles as stewards of G!

    See how beautiful they are — how excellent! For your sake I created them all. From the onset, Jewish tradition teaches us that when we do not preserve the environment, we not only destroy life, but we diminish G! As we enter , I encourage each and every one of us to examine the small and large changes we can make that will create a deeper connection and benefit to Earth.

    Here are a few suggestions:. Buy Local: Enjoying the sweetness of Rosh Hashanah is synonymous with apples dipped in honey. Pick-up some local honey too! Forest Bathe: One of my favorite rituals of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlich — a time to enjoy nature and cast away the sins of the past year. This year consider a deliberate walk in the woods and forest bathe — walking through the trees, soaking in the experience through your senses note: this is not exercise, or hiking, or jogging , and ending up at a local river or stream. Zero Waste: A traditional and bountiful meal is the perfect opportunity to prevent waste.

    Serve a mouth-watering meal using only reusable dishes, cups, cutlery and napkins; and prepare only the amount of food you and your friends and family can eat in an effort to eliminate food waste. Turn Up the Ambience: To save energy, dine by candlelight using soy or beeswax candles. Also, get creative and use items found around your home or yard to accentuate your holiday table. You will be amazed at how much energy you can save by lowering the temperature a few degrees. Consider these alternatives: swap clothes with friends, buy something new to you at a consignment store or purchase a new accessory such as a scarf or tie to accentuate an outfit you already have.

    Get creative and also donate unwanted clothes, tools, books and other items to local nonprofits. Take Earth Action! Use your pen, keyboard, voice or organizing skills to become a Jewish environmental advocate. For more information or to share your Jewish environmental actions, please reach out to Joan Plisko , Community Sustainability Director, Pearlstone. Not only did they receive these critical life-saving skills, they learned how saving any life and helping others is a core Jewish tenet. In addition to planning events, Kate is an open resource for Jewish families, meeting with them over coffee and providing them with information about the community.

    Many of the families want to learn about Jewish preschools, and Kate provides them with background information on the schools. My favorite Jewish childhood memory is: going to sleep away camp at Camp Louise and singing the Friday night services and songs. The best part of living in Lutherville-Timonium: is being in a central location to many different places. Best advice I have for other Moms on raising a child Jewishly: is make it your own. Start new traditions that work for you and your family.

    A mentor of mine suggested last spring, that I read one book to set the tone for our school year. Now in early August, I am almost finished with her assignment and ready to launch an unforgettable year at Towson University Hillel. So, what can I say? When I entered the world and work of Hillel, becoming accustomed to words like Radical Hospitality and Big Tent Judaism, it felt almost natural, like I was home again. Setting the Table is about the transforming power of hospitality in business. While it is not rooted in Jewish education, the concepts that Danny re-introduce to us are key and essentially Jewish.

    The foundation of what the Hillel movement and so many other Jewish organizations in our community are grounded in is exactly that — hospitality, warm embrace and acceptance in our everyday business transactions with people to create connections and growth with people. In my years of experience in being an educator, program designer and Executive Director, how simple, yet challenging it is, to engage people, all people, to get connected to their own organizational mission, feel great about the product, vision and future.

    Danny explores in his book how, being a restaurant owner and business manager, one must lead by intention, rather than intuition. Danny, in his book sets the tone and shares with readers the long journey and what it took, what lessons he learned along the way and what values he continued to return to, in order to become the successful and current CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group. As a Jewish educator and director of a Jewish organization, particularly being on a college campus, is it not imperative for our staff to warmly embrace, with radical hospitality, anyone that enters our space?

    At Towson University and specifically at our Hillel, students, faculty, donors, staff and board members come from all walks of life, have all different notions, connections and ideals for what it means to live and be Jewish. According to Danny, if we are setting the table in our organization properly, we are making room for anyone to sit and have a meal — and ENJOY themselves in that experience.

    Whenever you expand in business — not just the restaurant business — the process is incredibly challenging, especially for leaders who first rose to the top because of their tendency to want to control all the details. You have to let go. You have to surround yourself with ambassadors — people who know how to accomplish goals and make decisions, while treating people the way you would. Towson University and Towson University Hillel are in an incredible moment of transition and growth.

    This year will demand of us that our mission is clear and that along with our stakeholders, board members, parents, students, staff and all our ambassadors, we set the table with southern, radical and warm hospitality and that all are welcomed and enjoy a meal at our table and in our community. As a Labor and Employment Attorney, she represents corporate clients and non-profit agencies in a wide range of matters including workplace and sexual harassment charges, wage and hour issues, FMLA disputes, employment contracts and more.

    How did you first get involved with The Associated? After graduating from law school, I knew I needed to broaden my social network and meet like-minded young professionals. I quickly joined YLC and became acquainted with some really great folks, many of whom I am still in touch with today. It was a board full of intelligent and thoughtful leaders. I really enjoyed the experience. What other leadership roles have you had or will you hold within The Associated system? I will take on the role of Chair of the Board in What is one piece of advice you would give to younger attorneys looking to become partners in their firms?

    Work hard, put in the time, be present, be helpful, be kind, be confident and always proofread your writing before sending any correspondence. Professionalism is still cool. What do you love about being a lawyer? I enjoy helping people and their businesses and watching my advice be put into action. I am fortunate to work with great people all day long. How do you recharge and reenergize?

    I go home and play with my kids. Our whole family hops on bikes and rides to the neighborhood pool to swim and play together. For parents of graduating high school seniors, this can be an emotional and stressful time of year. While excited for their children, they are also faced with the realization that their kids will soon be leaving the nest to move on to college and the next phase of their lives.

    Having made it through the college application process, the attention now shifts to finding a compatible roommate, attending college acceptance days, planning fall move-in and organizing college schedules. But today, for parents of Jewish students who have observed the rise of anti-Semitic incidents throughout our country and the world and watched the BDS Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement permeate college campuses, there is now a need to address these issues as well.

    The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore works closely with local and international agencies and community partners to establish programs that keep teens safe whether on campus or at home. Macks Center for Jewish Education CJE and funded by The Associated, seeks to educate students about the complexities of Israel and provides a historical background as well as an understanding of current day issues.

    Facilitators recently held two parlor sessions with parents and teenagers alike to help students prepare for life on campus through a Jewish lens. The program is designed to give students the knowledge and confidence to talk about Israel.


    Spanish Inquisition

    Minkin-Friedman, who hosted one of the Israel High sessions in her home, is also the parent of a high school senior. The Time to Uproot program closely explores the change in the parent-student relationship during the college transition time. Seeing that many parents and students had questions surrounding the climate around Israel and being a Jew on campus, Minkin-Friedman approached CJE to help facilitate this discussion. We teach our children to love Israel and embrace their Jewish identity. It is important to me that my son chooses a college where he feels safe to explore his Judaism without feeling uncomfortable or endangered.

    In an effort to make the program content more relatable as well as provide an accurate perspective, CJE invited Lior Navon, Israel Fellow at Johns Hopkins Hillel, to share her perspective about what actually happens on college campuses. Thriving Jewish Community. Jewish Camp Connections. Youth learn Hebrew, celebrate Shabbat, and make Jewish friendships. This experience will introduce them to American Jewry and connect them to peers from their sister cities of Ashkelon and Baltimore. PJ Library in Odessa. This exciting opportunity provides each child with a free Jewish book each month.

    This program has been desired in the Odessa Jewish community for many years and its been wonderful to see hundreds of families signing up for the program. Odessa Cuisine. The food in Odessa is unique since it combines several culinary traditions: Jewish, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Moldovan, and Greek. Guests in Odessa are commonly served stuffed fish, vegetables and small vareniki, cabbage rolls, pancakes and other traditional dishes. Famous Zionists of Odessa. Jabotinsky was born to a Jewish family in Odessa in He became a powerful speaker and influential leader in the Zionist movement.

    Odessa Opera House. The building was reconstructed in after a fire destroyed the first building in The unique acoustics of the horseshoe designed hall allows performers to deliver in a whisper-low tone of voice and can still be heard from any part of the hall. From growing up on a Kibbutz, to serving in the army, to working as an Israeli Shaliach Israeli emissary at Pearlstone, an agency of The Associated, David Ben Yehuda has followed his passions of environmental education and Judaism.

    10 Reasons Even Committed Church Attenders Are Attending Church Less Often - izuwehyqaj.tk

    We sat down and talked with David at the retreat center where he greeted us wearing a Pearlstone t-shirt and his signature sandals. Can you tell us a little about yourself? The purpose of this unit was to prepare the IDF for special missions and maximize their abilities by training between war periods through intelligence gathering. After the army, I had a few small jobs before going to college. How did you learn about the Israeli Shaliach position at Pearlstone? After the army and attending school at a private college in the Negev, I met a girl, Michal, who grew up in the same town as myself.

    She was the first Shaliach at Pearlstone back in and said it would be a great fit. What are you most passionate about your job? I love the retreats and immersion programs where I get to spend a lot of time with a group of people.

    Initially, I tend to be be shy with others, but after I get to know them, I open up and become very involved. The retreats and celebrations at Pearlstone remind me of life on the kibbutz. Overall, I enjoy planning and creating educational programs. We teach sixth-graders about environmental science over a four-day period. What I enjoy most is creating a positive Jewish community where everyone can take part.

    Is there something you have learned while at Pearlstone? I did not know that you could make a connection between nature and Judaism. There are connections between the land we live on and the lessons in Genesis for example. It could be how we reflect on prayer by sitting near a tree or in a grassy area in an open field.

    I studied environmental science in school but never thought to use it when talking about its relationship to Jewish texts or its teachings. What are the differences and similarities between living in Baltimore versus Israel? The biggest difference for me is the weather. The weather here is never predictable and can change quickly. We could have an event that gets rained out right before it starts or even during the event.

    I now look at the weather report every day. That is something we do not get in Israel. There you can rely on the weather depending on the season. In the summer it will be hot with no rain and open skies. You do not have to worry that an event will be rained out. However, there are a lot of similarities.

    One of which is the interactions between diverse groups of people. In both places, there are many cultures living and working with each other every day. The cultural diversity in Baltimore is unlike many places I have seen in America. What are your plans after finishing your time at Pearlstone? I want to stay in the field of agricultural education.

    Pearlstone has helped me understand how to combine physical education with the environment in an educational manner, whether it be climbing, swimming or fishing. I want to take this with me and use it in the future. I love Baltimore and America, but Israel is my home. After my time here, I would love to return to my country and continue what I have been able to accomplish at Pearlstone. To say Lindsay Dermer has a busy schedule would be a disservice. I grew up in Reisterstown and currently live in Pikesville.

    What does your involvement with the community look like today? After college, I knew I wanted to stay connected with the Jewish community. Volunteering is important to you. Those Jewish values have been instilled in me from that point forward. No matter how big or small the volunteer project is, it still provides a rewarding feeling to help someone. I remember helping an otherwise home-bound woman with everyday days including, assisting her with her bills, housework, managing her finances, and taking her to see a speaker she really liked through an organization she was previously involved with.

    These simple acts of kindness were truly appreciated. I was recently on the Young Adult Task Force which works towards providing recommendations and funding for young adult programming. Those sessions recently concluded. At the end of last year, I attended the Channukah BrewHaha. I recently attended the Summer Soiree. Becoming involved in different programs provides the opportunity to gain many different types of experiences.

    What are you looking forward to in the future? I hope to use those skills in my professional life, my personal life, with my new business and of course within the Jewish community. Whether it means I will serve on a board or something similar, I aim to be more involved than the average member. My advice would be to just go out there and try as many different programs as you can. I was, of course, extremely honored to be nominated.

    Looking for some new brunch ideas? Israeli cuisine may be the answer. Meant to be shared with friends and family, everything from shakshuka eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and garlic to Israeli salads are the perfect addition to any brunch. Traditional Israeli fare comes from all over the world and adds a global flavor to your table. The best part about Israeli food is there is no right or wrong way to make or serve a dish.

    Recipes can be modified or changed to meet your flavor palate. Baklava is believed to be a combination of the Roman placenta cake, Central Asian Turkic layered bread and the Persian lauzinaq. I worked as coordinator of various youth projects, including Taglit Birthright. What is your favorite part about the Odessa Jewish Community? I am proud that the Odessa Jewish community is diverse, vibrant, and accepting of all Jews. We come together as a united community in good and bad times which is always beautiful.

    What are your day-to-day responsibilities? As the Director of Jewish Programs, I manage over 25 different activities that take place at the JCC — including youth clubs, volunteer activities, summer camps, concerts, celebrations, ceremonies, and seminars. I hire and manage staff to work in all areas of the JCC. Additionally, I develop and implement marketing materials to recruit attendees for programs and events.

    I also build relationships with our community members and friends in Odessa. I facilitate projects that connect youth in Odessa to youth in Baltimore. What is your favorite part about your job? My favorite part of the job is seeing the outcome and results of the hard work I put into planning and organizing programs for community members.

    It gives me great pleasure to see their happiness. What do you like to do in your free time? Outside of work, I really enjoy traveling, though it is rare for me. I also like to go out with my friends, often to the beach. I participate in creative art workshops and projects at our JCC. Most importantly, I love spending time with my family.

    That is what I said to my wife, Jamie, as we discussed making a legacy gift to The Associated. One of my mentors, Louis Fox, advised me in my twenties that if I was going to ask people for money, I needed to personally give back as well. I took his words to heart and began contributing annually to The Associated and other meaningful causes. Now as we think about our legacy, we know how important it is to maintain a strong and vibrant Jewish community.

    The best way we could think of to help assure this was to endow our annual Associated gift through a bequest in our will. Imagine the impact if thousands of donors, large and small, took that step. It would provide a wonderful base of support for our community while it grows new resources to assist those in need. To create your legacy, contact Donna Kasoff, Director of Endowment Development, at , dkasoff associated. For more information, visit associated. Upon graduating from high school, she was fortunate to be able to incorporate her three interests, spending six years in Israel where she received an undergraduate degree in musicology from Bar-Ilan University.

    When she returned to the United States, she chose to pursue her love of Judaics, receiving a master's degree in Jewish education from what was then Baltimore Hebrew University. How did you become a teacher? When I returned to the States, Annapolis became my home, and I began a career of teaching private violin and viola lessons, performing and teaching in a congregational school.

    I was drawn to the idea of working in the Diaspora and helping students find meaning in Judaism and had the opportunity to teach at Aleph Bet Day School in Annapolis. What brought you to Baltimore? At the time, my oldest daughter was traveling to Baltimore to attend Jewish day school. It was an hour commute both ways. We decided it would make sense to move to Baltimore, where I got my new job, and make it easier for my kids.

    We also appreciated the rich Jewish life in Baltimore.

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    You recently received the award for your creativity in creating a new curriculum? I decided to create an alternative to the fourth grade Judaics curriculum at Krieger Schechter Day School, where I work. In fourth grade, the students study the Book of Exodus in Hebrew. Yet we realized that some students in our diverse student body might not connect to the text if we only taught it in the Hebrew language. I began looking for ideas and I put together a text that was a combination of Hebrew and English, supplemented with activities to help hem engage.

    Activities might include acting out a part of the story, recreating the story by designing comic strips or developing a TV show where they interview characters. There is also a creative writing piece in which students create journal entries as if they were one of the characters. I also brought in iPads and incorporated technology into the lesson planning. I offer a variety of options so each student can choose what speaks to them.

    I hear you also started a Social Justice Fair? In the fall, I invite alumni who are involved in the social justice world to participate in a roundtable. They talk about what they do and how they took something they were passionate about and use it to help others. I understand that CJE, who gave you the award, has played a role in your educational career. Orthodox women are encouraged to find their individual and collective self-esteem in order to achieve real equality and thus, equal access to God.

    Explore the October Issue

    The author is a Reform Jewish man, a lawyer and retired soldier who writes from the heart, asks the hard questions and says things which frankly need to be said, in a style independent of religious politics. Care has been taken not to challenge beliefs outside the world of Judaism. They had different, nice wine. So I probably have a more open-minded communication with them. Madonna denies that she pushes Kabbalah on anyone. You really have to come to it on your own. On the other hand, there are rumors that Madonna has had her own frustration with the Centre.

    Sources say that during her most recent tour a couple of Kabbalah students, at the behest of the Centre, scalped a number of donated tickets and were caught. Starting around , the Bergs came up with another winning strategy: selling miracles. No matter that there is little precedent in either traditional Judaism or Kabbalah for this water, and that it comes from a plant in Canada; followers swilled it.

    Barr, who had liver damage when she began studying, partially credits the water for restoring her health. I was a pedestrian. I went up in the air, my head went through the windshield, and I had this split second where I thought, The end of my life, right in front of Saks. Among the true believers, as with Christian Scientists, medical science is regarded as useless.

    And what has it done? For many who are sick—or who have family members who are sick—the message is clear and deeply unsettling: they are not being sufficiently kabbalistic. Many former students feel that the Centre is practicing spiritual blackmail. Give till it hurts. The Rav has said that six million Jews could have been saved from extinction during the Holocaust if only they had studied Kabbalah. Giving to other causes is actually discouraged, says a source. Where does all the money go?

    To be sure, some is going toward the opening of new Centres throughout the world. But what about the rest? The Centre has kept its financial books closed, leaving open the question of how much the family is taking out in the form of perks. As it happens, the Rav and Karen are building three houses in Beverly Hills for the family, all of which are titled to the Centre. Karen drives a Mercedes S She is given rings and necklaces by kabbalist jeweler-to-the-stars Neil Lane. Quite honestly, it disgusts me. She had no savings, nothing. Few working Chevre, however, say they have a problem with the arrangement.

    After all, for the true believers, no sacrifice is too great. Madonna speaks for many when she says that if Kabbalah were to spread throughout the globe it would mean an end to senseless killing. Will Kabbalah move the world in the direction of peace, or will it become a victim of its own zeal? The main event is a luxury auction. Among the wares are a Neil Lane necklace, a Chambord watch, and a Project Alabama jacket, all displayed in a glass case. Meanwhile, a few other kabbalists are perusing the DKNY racks, trying to get a jump on Christmas shopping.

    The History of an Idea, the Anatomy of an Obsession

    The paradox of the scene is inescapable. Yehuda, when he takes the microphone, is at least shrewd enough to know it should be addressed. By Yohana Desta. By Joobin Bekhrad. Read More.