It looks like Madonna and her spiritual mentors at the Kabbalah Centre (KC) can breathe a sigh of relief thanks to movie star Tom Cruise sucking up the oxygen in the news lately.

A scathing series about her supposedly Jewish mystical group run by Radar Magazine and an investigative report on ABC’s 20/20 went largely unnoticed by the tabloids and mainstream press because the “biggest movie star in the world” has been having his own little media meltdown.

As Tom Cruise stumbles and fumbles from one interview and/or public appearance to another with his new galpal Katie Holmes in tow no one seemed to notice the reports about that other “Hollywood cult.”

Nevertheless, it is the controversial KC that has arguably become the number one “new religion” within the entertainment industry, drawing in popular celebrities such as the Hiltons, Donna Karan, Britney Spears and Ashton Kutcher, while stars within the Church of Scientology become less liked, relevant and/or struggle with weight problems.

Hawking everything from its staple “Kabbalah Water” ($2.65 per one-liter bottle) to the hot selling “red string” amulet ($26.00) and more recently its very own “Kabbalah Energy Drink” (a carbonated combination of its holy water and caffeine), the controversial KC seemed poised to bump Scientology off its perch in Hollywood.

Well maybe not just yet.

Tom Cruise, Scientology’s remaining big star has managed to bring his faith back into the media limelight, though the actor’s co-religionists may not feel their getting the kind of attention they like.

Meanwhile, Radar has revealed that the family who controls the KC (Mr. and Mrs. Philip Berg and their sons Michael and Yehuda) just might be better at garnering stars and accumulating assets than the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology.

Reportedly the supposed “Kabbalists” have built a spiritual empire with assets of approximately $60 million, a total disclosed through the paperwork of just a few Berg-controlled nonprofit entities. Much of this accumulated wealth has been developed since 1996, the magical year that Madonna began to grace the KC’s mystical minions.

The former “Material Girl” alone has reportedly personally contributed at least $18 million to various Kabbalah Centre linked coffers.

All this has enabled Papa, Mama and the baby Bergs to live life large, which includes pricey customized mini-mansions in Beverly Hills, paid for by the tax-exempted charity they control.

It seems like the once tough Madonna has become a soft touch when it comes to her spiritual mentors and may be little more than their stooge, pouring her time and money into such things as children’s books that benefit the Berg-controlled charity called “Spirituality for Kids” (SFK).

Radar reports that SFK actually only had about 150 participants in Los Angeles during 2003, despite the fact that this specious spiritual endeavor spent $813,092 on program services: $440,332 of it on salaries and wages, and a “scandalously low” $1,985 through a scholarship fund.

SFK apparently is better at flipping LA real estate for a profit than helping children.

The nonprofit organization, which touts Madonna as its international chairperson, reportedly loaned out about $1.5 million in private mortgages to a company controlled by Berg devotees.

How does making a fast buck on real estate help kids to become more spiritual?

Never mind.

Madonna seems to be so “brainwashed” she doesn’t appear to care. Instead of showing up where needy kids might be the aging pop icon was recently seen at a public signing for her latest children’s book in Bergdorf’s Manhattan store, a venue the Berg’s probably felt could potentially provide them with more rich patrons. The store also sells KC products.

And what about the “wisdom” the Bergs dole out to their awed disciples?

Well, Radar reported that it’s often written by paid professional ghostwriters possibly recruited through ads on the Web site “Craig’s List,” while some was allegedly plagiarized.

Can ghostwriters and/or purported plagiarism provide religious revelation? Madonna seems to think so. When asked about Radar’s revelations she said, “I have an incredible leader [Philip Berg] who is very wise. The last thing you’d accuse him of is charlatism…don’t listen to the messenger, hear the message.”

Radar also pulled back the Berg’s corporate shells and uncovered a labyrinth of intertwined entities controlled by the family and its friends, which raises serious questions about KC tax-exempt nonprofit status.

And why does the KC maintain branches in such unlikely places as Bogotá, Cali, and Medellín, Colombia, which are known more for drug trafficking and money laundering rather than Jewish mysticism?

Madonna looks more like a dupe than a diva these days.

As the middle-aged singer approaches fifty and her career opportunities turn more to clothing ads and perfume instead of new music, perhaps the spiritual bromides and trinkets offered by the Bergs make her feel better.

But won’t that feeling turn to humiliation as the public exposure of the KC begins to set in?

So far the diva turned diehard “cult member” seems unfazed by the growing controversy surrounding the KC. “They’re not worldly-wise, they’ve been naive about marketing themselves,” she is quoted to say in ContactMusic.com.

Does Madonna think spirituality is about “marketing”? Perhaps she does given her penchant for selling herself. And she may believe that the Bergs should sell themselves in much the same way.

But Madonna’s “Lucky Star” appears to have fallen as many of her disillusioned fans fade away. It seems they liked her sex book better than the “Kabbalah” branded stories she now sells for kids.


no comment untill now

Sorry, comments closed.