Sandra Bernhard

The stars align for kabbalah

The stars align for kabbalah

Second of two parts

When Philip Berg decided in the early 1970s to teach kabbalah to the masses, he predicted that orthodox rabbis would stone him and his wife, Karen. For a long time, that seemed a pompous overstatement. Few people had even heard of the kabbalah school they ran out of their living room in Jerusalem and later in Queens.

But Philip knew that revealing the secrets of the Torah to any Jew who wanted to learn them -- spiritual teachings once open only to elite rabbinical scholars -- would be controversial. It also proved wildly popular.

Two decades later, the Kabbalah Centre had become an empire with branches in major cities, a publishing arm and...

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