The following are testimonials against the Kabbalah Centre cult, by former members and chevre (the Kabbalah Centre cult’s full-time volunteers):
For 14 months I studied daily at the Kabbalah Center in LA…When the LA Center found out I was giving my money to another charitable organization I was reprimanded by them. They said that the right thing to do was to give the money to where I am getting the light from. You have no idea what extent the Center will go to to harass people for money. I was receiving up to 5 calls a day asking me if I wanted the light then to give. Telling me if I didn’t give bad things would happen to me. When you try to exercise your free will (which Kabbalah says makes you different from a tree) and it is not in accordance with what the Center wants they tell you that you are being possessed by Satan. The Center in LA coined the phrase “Kabbalah Debt”. People have called in tears, they love studing Kabbalah, are responsible people and generous, and yet the Kabbalah Center keeps harrasing them for their last penny. It’s very very sad and tragic that Rav Berg (an Insurance Salesman till he was 45 years old) took a simple concept available to anyone who looks and put such a high price tag on it. The definition of a Cult is an organization who doesn’t care about the well being of their members. The Kabbalah Center in LA is definitely a Cult by that definition. Kabbalah teaches cause and affect, I hate to think of the kind of life Rav Berg will have in his next one.
A testimony from an ex-Kabbalah Centre Cult member in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida:
I also fell prey to the hands of the Kabbalah Center, it took me quite a few years to understand this corrupt organization because it is a slow, progressive, luring, seducing process just like someone being molested as a child. When they finally take advantage of you you have already developed a strong bond and trust with your teacher and of course you are vulnerable so you give in to what they ask of you either time or money in my case. Then one day if you’re lucky you wake up.
From Sarah in Jerusalem, Israel:
Kabbalah Center is a crock!
I am utterly disgusted at the news of hearing another immergence of deceit from this organization who guises themselves as having any affiliation with Torah and Judaism. I have a very close friend whose father underwent similar deception to donate exorbitant amounts of money for his deceased mother to receive a better portion in Heaven. He soon realized that the Kabbalah Center was not interested in her soul, solely his money. My heart and prayers goes out to this woman’s family, I was brought to tears. May their be justice brought to those who broke the Torah and profited at her expense. May they come to realize how they are hurting themselves and return from their terrible ways. Thank you to Ynetnews for revealing the truth.
A Cult’s Characteristics:
A destructive cult is a pyramid-shaped authoritarian regime with a person or group of people that have dictatorial control. It uses deception in recruiting new members (e.g. people are NOT told up front what the group is, what the group actually believes and what will be expected of them if they become members). It also uses mind control techniques to keep people dependent and obedient.
A classic sign of a cult is that it is personality-driven (the Bergs). That means it has a charismatic leader or group of leaders who hold a tremendous amount of sway over members.
Another common characteristic is isolation. Sometimes that isolation is physical, with members’ comings and goings being restricted.
But most often, isolation takes the form of members becoming completely absorbed in the group and its activities. If members work, go to school and socialize only with each other, isolation is a real possibility. An especially troubling sign is when members are asked to cut off contact with family members. It’s called “discordant noise”. Anyone or anything that would raise troubling questions about the group are is marginalized to the extreme – cut off.
Also common is a persecution complex with members often having an “us- versus-them” attitude, perceiving simple disagreements as attacks.
They say criticizing them is to go against God.
Another giveaway is when groups teach that anyone who leaves is flawed. Healthy groups generally believe people can have good reasons for leaving. Not so with cults.
They have control-oriented leadership. Communication with outsiders is limited and questioning isn’t allowed inside the groupcontrol-oriented leadership. Communication with outsiders is limited and questioning isn’t allowed inside the group.
They paint people who leave as defectors and say attacks against them are ultimately the work of Satan.
In 2001, David Rowan, the British editor of Wired UK, did a long investigative exposé about the Kabbalah sect called “Strings Attached – The Kabbalah Centre Exposed“, also interviewing several one-time followers who had renounced their ties. One such ex-devotee was a woman named Karen.
FROM THE ARTICLE: Karen, now 26, spent three years with the Kabbalah Centre, abandoning her medical studies on what she says was its advice and leaving her family home in Florida to live in the Los Angeles office as a “chevre”, one of around 40 full-time volunteer workers.
“I’d regularly be working from 9am until 1am, and sometimes I’d work all night, with just an hour for dinner,” Karen claims.
She says she was told that her work would bring more “light” into her life, and that she was privileged to serve “the Rav”. “I was paid $35 (£22) a month and was given space in a filthy one-bedroom apartment, sharing with four other young women. It was as if I was a slave.”
Karen’s involvement grew gradually: after taking courses and buying a £170 astrological chart, she was selected for the ” honour” of working for the Bergs. “They were very lovable towards me at first,” she recalls. “I was having a bad relationship with my parents, and they comforted me. They said these weren’t my spiritual parents, and that I needed to correct a lot of things in my life.”
It was also made clear to her that a “spiritually compatible” soulmate would be found.
Karen’s mother travelled from Florida to Los Angeles to urge her to leave.
“They told me my mother was a destructive environment and was standing in my way,” Karen says.
It was only months later, when her father suffered a heart attack, that she questioned the rabbis’ wisdom. They suggested he could be cured by drinking Kabbalah water, she says. In fact, he needed major heart surgery.
The centre says its water is a “spiritual tool” but would never be offered as an alternative to medical treatment.
“The Kabbalah water is undergoing scientific research at the moment, so I can’t yet talk about the results,” Yael Yardeni says.
“It can help, definitely, but under no circumstances would we ever say it would cure something.”
Depressed and exhausted, Karen told the rabbis she was leaving. “They got really angry,” she recalls.
“I was told that, if I left, my father could get worse. I had a lot of fear. Then they simply stopped talking to me.” Today, a year after counselling, Karen has resumed her studies. “They change your behaviour, control your emotions and thoughts, cut you off from friends and family,” she says. “It’s been a terrible experience.”
Another victim: In the autumn of 1990, a Marilyn McLeod was dying of cancer. She was visited by a “Rabbi” Yardeni of the Kabbalah Centre who persuaded her to purchase a complete hard cover set of the Zohar, as well as a few other books about Jewish mysticism, for hundreds of dollars. Marilyn was also told to change a mezuzah and her Hebrew name. For $250, they changed her mezuzah, gave her about a dozen audio tapes from the centre, and changed her name altogether. Though Marilyn couldn’t read any Hebrew, she was told to simply scan the Zohar for its healing properties. Shortly thereafter (January 1991) she dies.
Berg’s indiscriminate and unqualified involvement with Kabbalah resulted in precisely all that these warnings predicted. Like the alchemists of old, who pursued the study of the Kabbalah and the occult sciences in order to produce gold to indulge their desires, and like all others who sought to master the Kabbalah for personal gain, Berg reduces the Torah and Jewish tradition into a manual of black magic and astrology to manipulate Heavenly forces or energies to attain personal gratification or to avoid personal misfortune.
Berg’s “system” promises his followers that they can turn Almighty G-d into their private lacky, a genie in a bottle, to do their bidding. The Torah (Halacha), which Jewish tradition sees as the revelation of G-d’s Will, G-d’s commandments, G-d’s prescription for the proper life, behavior and human self-discipline, are discarded by Berg as rabbinic myths, orthodox naiveté, a nefarious plot of ignorant religious fanatics to control the ignorant masses.
Berg and his people make constant use of astrology and horoscope-readings to “counsel” those who come to them. They pretend to see all kinds of negative forces or auras threatening their victims, and then advise them that the “pending evil” can be avoided by means of hefty contributions to the Kabbalah Centre. A favorite ploy of theirs is to suggest the amount of $30,000 for reprinting the Sulam-edition of the Zohar, payable either by post-dated checks or credit-card.