About this time every year the so-called “Jews for Jesus” (JFJ), an evangelical Christian missionary organization that targets Jews for conversion, sends out its traveling road show called “Christ in the Passover,” as reported by the Kentucky News Enterprise.

Such programs are typically staged within evangelical and fundamentalist churches and they seek to superimpose Christian beliefs over the historic understanding of the Jewish Passover observance.

According to the Kentucky newspaper this year’s JFJ program will be presented within “5,000 churches.”

Christian missionaries posing as “Jews” generally have received a “bad reception” from the Jewish community as reported by the Washington D.C. Jewish Times.

The fact that Passover has an established meaning that predates both Jesus and Christianity doesn’t seem to bother JFJ and/or its supporters.

The missionary group’s version of “Passover” is at best misleading, but it also can be seen as an expression of ethnocentric religious arrogance, which largely disregards both the history and the intrinsic significance of the Jewish holiday.

As anyone acquainted with the Book of Exodus or the movie classic the “Ten Commandments” knows Passover is not about Jesus or Christianity, it is a holiday specifically observed to commemorate the deliverance of Jews from bondage in ancient Egypt as recorded within what Christians call the “Old Testament.”

But the purpose of Passover to JFJ appears to be more of a fund raising gimmick. And the organization, which has had its share of money problems, seems anxious to continue its annual program that apparently has become something like a sacred cash cow.

At the end of its “Passover” shows comes JFJ’s pitch, or as it is most often described the call for an “offering.”

This also affords an opportunity for the controversial group to collect names and thus expand its mailing list.

JFJ is the creation of Pastor Martin Rosen, an ordained Baptist minister who retired some time ago from his long-running position as head of the missionary organization.

However, a while back the peripatetic pastor hit the road once again in an effort to rally the faithful to his somewhat fading ministry, which was first launched in the 1970s.

Martin likes to be called “Moishe,” which makes him seem Jewish.

Jewish surnames also suffuse the list of front line JFJ staff, again giving the group a seeming patina of supposed “Jewishness.”

However, JFJ’s funding comes essentially from Christian fundamentalists.

Isn’t it just a bit presumptuous for a missionary organization founded by a Baptist minister to define the meaning of a Jewish holiday and its symbols?

JFF and its supporters don’t seem to think so.

Financial support of such groups from evangelicals along with their overwhelming enthusiasm for last year’s Mel Gibson film “Passion of the Christ” despite its disturbing anti-Semitic content, continues to raise eyebrows within the Jewish community regarding the actual sentiments of so-called “born-again” Christians.

Positive ecumenical dialog has existed for some time between more moderate or “Mainline” Protestants and Jewish denominations. And there have been historic breakthroughs in recent years between Jews and the Roman Catholic Church.

But what meaningful interreligious dialog actually exists between evangelical Christians and the organized Jewish community?

These are the same Christians who frequently say they “love” both Jews and Israel.

But if evangelicals truly “love” Jews why would they continue to support insulting and confrontational groups such as JFJ year after year, while essentially ignoring the bad reception they receive from the Jewish community?

Doesn’t such continued support demonstrate a disregard and/or insensitivity to the concerns of Jews?

In fairness it should be noted that some evangelical leaders have spoken out critically against groups like JFJ, such as Billy Graham.

Jesus once offered the analogy that you would know a tree by its fruit.

It appears that there may be quite a few rotten apples hanging from fundamentalist Christian trees.

One rabbi displayed this troubling truth in a recent article titled “An Exchange With a Missionary” published by Israel’s Arutz Sheva.

In this rather poignant piece the rabbi reviews the ethnocentric aspects of fundamentalist Christian dogma through an imagined conversation with a JFJ operative.

He ultimately concludes, “Hell doesn’t sound so bad after all, if I’ll be with…Jewish martyrs. And I’m not so sure I’d want to be in Heaven with guys who think like you!”

Note: Rick Ross is a former member of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) National Committee on Interreligious Affairs.

By Benjamin Spector, New York

I am an environmentalist, liberal and former cult member and am very sad that you spoke at the “Ramtha School of Enlightenment.”

You may not be aware of this, but J.Z. Knight will take full advantage of your attendance at her school and use your name, your reputation and the reputation of your father and your family to promote her group.

Maybe you need an education about what a [destructive] cult is?

A [destructive] cult is the most fascist, dictatorial type of group known to man.

In America, you and I and all the liberals and environmentalists have the freedom to speak out against our government and to change that government in a democratic fashion.

Also, within mainstream religious organizations from the Catholic Church to the “Religious Right,” members may express their own points of view to a varying degree and debate the relevant issues.

At Riverkeeper, you and your associates probably debate issues and have disagreements.

However, there isn’t meaningful debate or disagreements in a [destructive] cult.

A [destructive] cult is an organization where typically one person is held as “God-like,” infallible and essentially above the law.

Followers do not seriously question leaders like J.Z. Knight, Reverend Moon, and Sri Chinmoy, who was once my leader. In fact no dissent is really tolerated. Either you swallow the group dogma, hook, line and sinker, or you are out and will be ostracized and shunned forever by all your former friends and associates that remain involved.

That is totalitarianism.

You were quoted in The Olympian to say, “Someone who doesn’t like you very much told me I was speaking at a cult”… “I guess it would be OK if I spoke at Bob Jones University.”

I don’t recall a Kennedy ever speaking at Bob Jones, but I remember your Uncle Teddy speaking at Jerry Falwell’s school. He was treated quite courteously, although everyone there knew he didn’t agree with Mr. Falwell.

The “Ramtha School of Enlightenment” may seem like a “New Age” alternative education, holistic kind of place, but in reality the dogma is much more rigid and dissent is probably less tolerated there than at Bob Jones University.

You would never have been allowed to raise questions or encourage debate within the Ramtha group about its leader or her absolute authority.

[Destructive] cults expect their members to obey the leader at all times.

At the Ramtha School perhaps students feel they are not actually obeying Ms. Knight, but rather the 35,000-year-old spirit from the lost continent of Atlantis named “Ramtha” that she claims to channel.

Do you know what “Ramtha” has said?

In one channeling session Ramtha reportedly said, “Mother Nature” wants to “get rid of” gays.”

And “Ramtha” has recommended buying Ms. Knight’s Arabian horses as an investment.

It is said that you are considering running for New York Attorney General. Maybe one day you may even run for President. This is why I am so deeply concerned about what you said at this recent lecture.

You told the audience at the Ramtha School, “I was really excited; because I just really wanted to see this place…You’re good people with good values, and all the values this country is supposed to stand for.”

But to me the freedom to express one’s point of view and to speak out against injustices of any kind are the fundamental pillars of any democratic society. These are the “good values,” which forms the basis for our society.

However, at the Ramtha School the leader isn’t democratic and other views are not really tolerated.

How can you support and commend this, and then condemn George Bush or the Republican Party?

Please let me know where you stand concerning [destructive] cults.

Much like battered women, the followers of charismatic cult leaders often remain loyal unless they find some way to break free and begin to reason and reflect again independently.

Believe it or not, the followers of cult leaders are very frequently well educated, sophisticated and sensitive, but authoritarian leaders rob them of their ability to think independently as individuals and dominate them.

I urge you to examine the “Ramtha School of Enlightenment” and research its history.

J.Z. Knight has been called a “cult leader.”

It is hard to believe that a Kennedy would dine with such a person in a palatial mansion probably paid for largely though the pain and suffering of cult victims.

Her followers paid $1,000.00 each to attend the retreat you lectured at and an additional $30.00 to hear you talk.

They buy her tapes; books etc. and probably serve Ms. Knight in many other ways. Some may have left their homes, given up jobs and even their families to help her there. Whenever they finally move on many may not be employable and perhaps they won’t be able to afford health insurance.

My one-time leader Sri Chinmoy encouraged many of us to work below the minimum wage and without benefits, at businesses owned by senior group members in New York and other locations. Many workers were illegal aliens.

Do you think that this type of behavior represents “good values”?

As New York State Attorney General would you do anything to stop or prevent such bad treatment?

Or will you stand idly by allowing cult leaders to become rich at the expense of their followers, often illegally abusing and exploiting them?

Are these “the values this country is supposed to stand for”?

I really want to know where you stand on these issues.

Note: After repeated inquiries Robert F. Kennedy Jr. finally responded to Mr. Spector March 28th. His response read “Thanks for your note. I would gladly go to Bob Jones, Ramtha or Liberty College to spread my message, which is anti-fascist, pro-democratic and pro-environment. Ramtha School has been involved in several successful battles to keep developers like Wal-Mart out of Yelm. Those are the values I was applauding.”

In its apparent never-ending thirst for increased cash flow the so-called “Kabbalah Centre,” run by the Philip Berg family of California and favored by Madonna, has launched a new energy drink.

The “Kabbalah Energy Drink” is sold in a red; white and blue can and produced through the same company that puts out 7 Up.

It will be sold for an “average price of $1.99 per can,” whatever that means.

According to a press release at eMediaWire posted today “Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Ashton Kutcher, and Demi Moore…are drinking” this concoction.

A Kabbalah spokesperson says, “It’s infused with Kabbalah water, which is holy water” reported MSNBC.

“We’re going after the Red Bull market,” he also said.

But the bottom line with energy drinks isn’t “holy water” it’s caffeine content. And according to the product Web site this new drink doesn’t pack the punch of its most well known competitor Red Bull.

The Kabbalah Energy Drink ingredients list claims that the formula includes 100mg of caffeine per sixteen ounces, as compared to the 80mg contained within an eight ounce can of Red Bull.

Both energy formulas also include an amino acid Taurine and assorted vitamins.

But what the Bergs seem to be banking on is the buzz produced by the Kabbalah Centre’s celebrity devotees, not the caffeine contained in its new drink.

Of course the so-called “Kabbalists” will likely claim that the “power” in their new energy drink, not unlike that held within the “holy water” they consume, is somehow intangible.

How far will all this go?

Given the Berg family track record for milking an ever-increasing product line of supposed spiritual accessories, which includes everything from children’s books to red string amulets, this may become another cash cow.

In what looks like misleading advertising the Kabbalah Energy Drink Web site seemingly quotes MSNBC stating that this “…Kabbalah Energy Drink tastes better…”

However, this is actually the product spokesperson gushing within an article and not an outside review and/or endorsement. In fact, within that same article MSNBC reports that “the Kabbalah Center has been blasted as a shallow money-making operation and even called a cult.”

Get ready for Berg disciples like Madonna, Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher and maybe even Lindsay Lohan gulping down the new brew while conveniently posing for pictures before the paparazzi.

It should also come as no surprise when some celebrity’s face appears super-sized on a LA billboard slurping down the drink.

Jay Leno and David Letterman will have some fun with this one.

What’s not funny though is the crass commercialization of the centuries old Kabbalah tradition and it becoming yet another example of the dumbing down of religion in Hollywood. Seemingly just another glitzy guru group with a fatuous following of celebrities.

What’s next for the self-styled Kabbalah guru Philip Berg?

His “nonprofit” tax-exempted centers seem to be run more like a family business than a religious charity.

A Kabbalah Centre spokesperson said, “If [the energy drink is] successful. There will be more Kabbalah products.”

Note: France and Denmark have banned Red Bull. To better understand the concerns raised about such energy drinks click here.

CultNews would like to follow-up on the previous story about Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (RFK Jr.) lecture at the “cult” compound of a controversial New Age guru in Yelm, Washington.

Last week JFK’s nephew dropped in at the “Ramtha School of Enlightenment” run by J.Z. Knight, where he addressed over 1,000 of her devoted followers (called “Ramsters” by residents of Yelm) literally camped out in the group’s “Great Hall.”

The school is largely based upon the rather bizarre belief that Knight can channel a 35,000-year-old spirit from the lost continent of Atlantis named “Ramtha.”

Kennedy appeared unfazed by questions raised about the lecture venue.

“Someone who doesn’t like you very much told me I was speaking at a cult,” Kennedy joked to his audience of Ramtha devotees reported The Olympian.

The Ramsters responded with laughter.

Needless to say cult members rarely acknowledge the reality of their circumstances and RFK did little to dissuade them. Instead, he was so focused on attacking President Bush, that he barely seemed to notice his surroundings.

Kennedy compared his appearance at the “cult” compound to a Bush speech given at another school infamous for racism.

“I guess it would be OK if I spoke at Bob Jones University,” he said.

But two wrongs don’t make a right and someone as supposedly sophisticated, as Kennedy should know that.

Based upon his strained rationalization maybe those opposed to Mr. Kennedy’s environmental policies should say, “Well, don’t other countries have polluted waters, what’s wrong with dumping a little toxic waste here”?

RFK Jr. not only lent his name to the “cult,” but dined with its mistress within her palatial French Chateau.

“(Kennedy) is a golden boy from a golden family,” Ms. Knight told the press, keenly aware of the promotional value that his appearance offered her school.

“I was really excited, because I just really wanted to see this place…You’re good people with good values, and all the values this country is supposed to stand for,” RFK Jr. gushed.


Who’s “channeling” what now?

The Ramtha School is essentially run like a dictatorship. And its authoritarian ruler J.Z. Knight has been accused of making “homophobic comments,” and exploiting her followers.

Would these be the “good values” RFK Jr. means to extoll?

Interestingly, at his lecture Kennedy derided George W. Bush by comparing him to Hitler and claimed that his governance “borders on fascism.”

Well, at least President Bush was elected, unlike Ms. Knight who seems to have more in common with a fascist regime than the White House.

But never mind the facts.

This Kennedy seems to have little of his father’s common sense, let alone the historical insights of his uncle JFK.

Robert Kennedy Jr. is scheduled as a featured speaker at a school that has been called a “cult.”

The son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy (RFK), one-time Attorney General of the United States and brother of President John F. Kennedy (JFK) will soon be appearing in Yelm, Washington to lecture at the controversial “Ramtha School of Enlightenment.”

The school is led by former Tacoma housewife J.Z. Knight, who claims that she is the chosen channel for a 35,000 year old spirit and prehistoric general from the lost continent of Atlantis named “Ramtha.”

According to the school’s Web site Kennedy should be passing through for his presentation this Thursday.

The “Speaker Event” is restricted to “current students” during what is referred to as the group’s “Primary Retreat,” which costs $1,000.00

Those attending will pay an additional $30 to hear Kennedy, though there are discounts for children and seniors.

His topic will be “Crimes Against Nature,” which is a critique against the Bush administration’s environmental policy.

To enter the event you “MUST HAVE [A] CURRENT ID BADGE” (emphasis not added). The gates to the group’s “ranch” will open Thursday March 10th “at 4 PM and close PROMPTLY at 6.”

But what does Ramtha have to do with RFK Jr.? And why would the son of Bobby Kennedy want to speak within her gated compound?

Is this 50-something environmental activist and member of the famous Kennedy political clan somehow connected to a purported “cult,” or has he just been conned?

J.Z. Knight and her devoted followers (called “Ramsters” by Yelm residents) have been known to bag big names for promotional purposes.

A recent independent film produced by some of Ms. Knights students titled “What the Bleep” included comments from noted experts, one later said that he didn’t realize how his interview would be used.

“In the movie, my views are turned around 180 degrees,” Philosopher David Albert of Columbia University told Willamette Week in a subsequent interview about his participation in the project.

Likewise, Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin seems a bit embarrassed by her starring role in the film.

Has Robert Kennedy Jr. become the latest dupe of the Washington New Age guru?

Mr. Kennedy is the chief prosecuting attorney for Riverkeeper, an organization of fishermen, which is dedicated to “defending the Hudson [and] protecting…communities.” He also is a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at the Environmental Litigation Clinic at Pace University in White Plains, NY.

But does the chief prosecutor feel that a so-called “cult” community in the Pacific Northwest needs protection?

It doesn’t look like Ms. Knight needs any help from Mr. Kennedy. She has a multi-million dollar annual income through her company JZK Inc. and lives in a 12,000-square-foot French-style chateau with six bedrooms, seven fireplaces, a spiral staircase and an indoor pool.

Does RFK Jr. think that speaking to a roomful of Ramsters will somehow advance his cause?

Or is Mr. Kennedy launching a campaign to save the rivers of Washington, they do have quite a few, not to mention all those salmon and fishermen.

It looks like RFK Jr. may be swimming upstream this time, and arguably in polluted waters.

“What the Bleep” was he thinking when he signed up to speak at this venue?

CultNews tried to find out by calling Riverkeeper, but that organization had nothing to say other than referring inquiries to Mr. Kennedy’s offices at Pace. His executive assistant there Mary Beth Postman in turn passed the call on to Keppler Speakers, a speaker’s bureau in Arlington, Virginia that books his lectures.

According to his Web site subsection at Keppler Kennedy speaks on such topics as “Our Environmental Destiny,” “The Power of Law” and “A Contract with Our Future,” but J.Z. Knight apparently opted for US environmental policy.

Does this mean that the Ramtha School of Enlightenment has taken up the cause of environmental policy?

Perhaps the Ramsters think that the lost continent of Atlantis sunk due to toxic dumping or was washed away as a result of prehistoric global warming.


It’s more likely that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is simply a name used to chum the water and promote the school’s “Primary Retreat”?

And it looks like JZK hooked RFK Jr. through his agent.

CultNews got a callback from John Truran the designated spokesperson for Keppler. He confirmed that Kennedy is booked to speak this week at the Ramtha School for a fee.

When asked if Robert Kennedy Jr. understood that he would be lecturing before a restricted audience composed of Ramtha students behind the closed gates of a compound Truran replied, “I don’t know.”

Chicago Judge Joan Lefkow returned to her home last night to find both her husband and mother shot dead. The federal judge had previously been targeted in a Neo-Nazi murder plot.

Judge Lifkow was an obsessive fixation for white supremacist Matthew Hale; the self-proclaimed “Pontifex Maximus” head of a hate group once called “World Church of the Creator,” later renamed “The Creativity Movement.”

The name Hale first chose for his group already belonged to a benign church, which didn’t appreciate the confusion he caused, so they sued.

Judge Lefkow eventually ordered Hale not to use that name and to purge it from all his group’s literature and its Web site.

Hale hated her for that and plotted revenge.

But the plan hatched by the former “Pontifex” from East Peoria failed and he was found guilty for “solicitation of murder.” Hale is now locked up in jail within the loop of downtown Chicago pending sentencing.

Ironically though, Judge Lifkow actually had first sided with Hale, supporting his right to use the contested name.

However, a higher court forced the Chicago jurist to amend her ruling and she then meted out the required restrictions.

Nevertheless in the twisted mind of Mattew Hale Judge Lefkow became his hated enemy and the font of perceived “persecution.”

Hale considers himself a “political prisoner” and remains both a hero and martyr to many within the dark subculture often called the hate movement.

One Internet site the “Vanguard News Network” has posts of praise for “Dr. Hale” under the heading “White Revolution.” He is portrayed as the victim of “persecution” perpetrated by the “Devil Jew.”

Reportedly another Internet site described Judge Lifkow as “a white woman married to a Jew with three mixed-race grandchildren,” while yet another Web site made public her home address.

Hale once said, “Some people go out and hunt deer…I think it’s a hell of a lot more sporting to hunt a Jew.”

But Hale’s hunting days are over and it is unlikely that he was able to order the murders from his jail cell, where his contact with the outside world is closely monitored.

Instead, it appears likely that those sympathetic with Hale and inspired by his rhetoric of hate may have finally fulfilled his hope for revenge by murdering the judge’s husband and mother.

If so, this would not be the first time Hale has inspired murder.

Benjamin Smith, a follower inspired by Hale, went on a shooting spree in 1999 killing two and injuring nine before taking his own life. This occurred after an adverse court ruling, which effectively ended his hero’s effort to become a practicing lawyer in Illinois.

“I strongly suspect that the denial of my law license set him off,” Hale told CNN.

Are the Lefkow family murders, yet another example of someone “set…off” by Hales circumstances?

All this can be seen within the context of a purported “Racial Holy War” called “Rahowa” against so-called “ZOG,” which one Web site explains is “an acronym for Zionist Occupation Government.” A term used to describe “the assortment of traitors and Zionist lackeys who control most of the White nations on this planet.”

Just such paranoid delusions may have formed the basis and/or rationalization for the recent murders in Chicago.

The National Alliance sells marching music for “Rahowa” on CD. This was the brainchild of deceased Neo-Nazi leader William Pierce, author of the notorious “Turner Diaries,” which inspired Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh.

McVeigh executed his plan for revenge on the second anniversary of the fiery end of the Waco Davidian compound, April 19, 1995.

Is it only a fluke that the Chicago killings yesterday occurred on February 28th, which is the 12th anniversary of the ill-fated BATF raid on that same cult compound?

Waco has been a battle cry for anti-government extremists for more than a decade.

The FBI is now investigating the Lefkow murders and as they already know it only takes one deranged true believer to create mayhem and commit murder.

Judge Lefkow is under the protection of federal marshals.

Note: Bart Ross, another disgruntled litigant who lost before Judge Lefkow, later confessed to the murders in a suicide note. His DNA matched that found at the crime scene. Ross had no known connection to a hate group or Matthew Hale.