Kabbalah spiritual figure who drew Hollywood following dies

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rabbi Philip Berg, the spiritual director of the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Centre who helped popularize a form of Jewish mysticism that attracted celebrity followers such as Madonna and Britney Spears, has died at age 86, his organization said.

The Kabbalah Centre's statement late on Monday did not say when Berg passed away, but the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported he died at a Los Angeles hospital on Monday.

Kabbalah has traditionally been reserved for certain learned members of the Jewish community, but at his center Berg worked to open the teaching and practice of kabbalah to anyone, including non-Jews.

A long list of celebrities in recent decades became affiliated with the Kabbalah Centre, including pop stars Madonna and Britney Spears and the actress Demi Moore.

"The Kabbalah Centre is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our teacher, Rav Berg," the Kabbalah Centre statement said. "Throughout the Rav's 86 years, he created a path for millions to learn and live Kabbalah."

Berg, who was born in New York, had already been ordained as an Orthodox Jewish rabbi when he began his study of the mystical tradition kabbalah in the 1960s with Rabbi Yehuda Brandwein in Israel, according to the website for the Kabbalah Centre museum.

In 1965, Berg set up in New York a small institute that was the forerunner of the current Kabbalah Centre, the Los Angeles Times reported in 2011. He later moved to Israel and then back to the United States where he expanded the organization and in 1998 made Los Angeles its headquarters, according to the paper.

The Kabbalah Centre now has centers in more than 40 cities around the world, according to its website. A spokeswoman for the Kabbalah Centre did not return emails seeking more details on Berg's passing.

The Kabbalah Centre's assets, built in part on the organization's emphasis on cash donations from followers, are now believed to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Internal Revenue Service and federal prosecutors in New York have investigated the Kabbalah Centre for possible tax evasion, the paper reported. But no charges have been filed.

Berg's widow, Karen, and his sons, Yehuda and Michael, continue to be involved in running the center. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Leslie Gevirtz)

Most Viewed

  • Saif-Kareena Kapoor Khan And Soha-Kunal Khemu’s Wild Holiday
    Saif-Kareena Kapoor Khan And Soha-Kunal Khemu’s Wild Holiday

    Actress Kareena Kapoor Khan with hubby Saif Ali Khan spend their quality time with newly wed couple Soha Ali Khan and Kunal Khemu. The couples are in Nagarhole, spending their weekend staying over at Saad Bin Jung’s resort, The Bison. In the picture, Kareena, Saif, and Soha Ali Khan are chilling out in open cottage, assuming Kunal Khemu clicking their picture, as he is missing. Kunal Khemu tweeted, On the early morning safari at Nagarhole wildlife reserve through the mist we spotted this …

  • Ranbir Kapoor goes gown on his knees to propose to Deepika Padukone
    Ranbir Kapoor goes gown on his knees to propose to Deepika Padukone

    All the eyes are on Ranbir Kapoor and his ex beau Deepika Padukone who have been shooting together for their upcoming film Tamasha. Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone were shooting for a romantic scene, where Ranbir had to go down on knees and propose Deepika Padukone. You can see in the pictures, Ranbir Kapoor goes down on Knees, while Deepika Padukone gets surprised on it. The film stars Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone and is directed by Imtiaz Ali. …

  • Sussanne Khan Spent Rs 16 Crore On A Penthouse In Pune?
    Sussanne Khan Spent Rs 16 Crore On A Penthouse In Pune?

    Hrithik Roshan‘s ex-wife Sussanne Khan has bought an expensive property for herself outside Mumbai city. According to recent reports, Sussanne Khan bought a beautiful penthouse in Pune for about 16 crore! The penthouse is located in Trump Towers, Kalyani Nagar and the celebrity interior decorator has bought the property only for investment purpose. A source was quoted saying, “Yes, she has purchased a penthouse in Pune. It is located in Trump Towers, Kalyani Nagar. …

  • Check Out: Alia Bhatt’s Transformed Vanity Van
    Check Out: Alia Bhatt’s Transformed Vanity Van

    Bollywood’s cutest actress Alia Bhatt is too excited and happy for her new personalized Vanity Van. The actress has recently got a new makeover for her vanity van. Alia Bhatt who calls her vanity van as a second home tweeted with a picture, “My second home, my vanity van !!! Thank you amritamahalnakai for transforming my van !! I love you to… Student Of The Year actress got her old vanity van customized into new according to her taste by Amrita Mahalnakai. As you can see in the picture just …

  • Beef Ban Takes Bollywood By Storm!
    Beef Ban Takes Bollywood By Storm!

    Bollywood celebrities are now coming forward and voicing their opinion on different matters. First it was the controversial AIB Roast, and now it’s the ‘Beef Ban’ that took the Internet by storm. To exercise their right to freedom of speech, our Bollywood celebrities took to their Twitter accounts and posted their views on the recent ‘beef ban’ sanctioned by Maharashtra government. Mumbai being the hub of most of Bollywood celebrities who opt to dine as they wish this news came as a shocker. …

  • Manoj Bajpayee turns gay professor; sports unkempt look for ALIGARH
    Manoj Bajpayee turns gay professor; sports unkempt look for ALIGARH

    The first look of Manoj Bajpayee's character in National Award-winning filmmaker Hansal …

  • Yummy Mummy Aishwarya Rai Bachchan redefines hotness!
    Yummy Mummy Aishwarya Rai Bachchan redefines hotness!

    Aishwarya Rai Bachchan doesn't cease to amaze us with her beauty and with her recent photo shoot …

  • 'Yeh Rishta Kya...' 10-year leap delayed

    Mumbai, March 4 (IANS) An impending 10-year leap in the story of TV show "Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai" has been delayed as the show's producers are yet to find a fresh face for the character Naksh. According to a source, the show had to postpone the planned 10-year leap to make time to zero in on apt casting for Naksh, the 20-year-old son of Naitik (Karan Mehra) and Akshara (Hina Khan). …

Loading...