What Is the Kabbalah Center?

A report of new lawsuits and an IRS investigation is dragging the Kabbalah Learning Center back into the spotlight.  According to reports on the Internet:

Courtenay Geddes, a wealthy heiress from Pasadena, California, has sued the Kabbalah Centre of Los Angeles and all of its entities alleging a major swindle. Geddes’s suit — for $20 million– was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court in February 2011. The news of the lawsuit comes on top of headlines concerning Kabbalah’s Raising Malawi charity reneging on a promise to build a girls academy in Malawi with pop star Madonna. As I reported exclusively yesterday, the Kabbalah Centre and Madonna have now hired a top spin doctor, Mark Fabiani, to protect the image of the singer and the organization.

Geddes didn’t name Madonna as a defendant in her suit, but she named everyone else from the Berg family to John Larkin of Larkin Business Management. Larkin is the accountant for Kabbalah. (His firm was sued in 2009 by the Black Eyed Peas for failing to file a decade’s worth of tax returns.)

From it inception Kabbalah Learning Center has been a frequent target of lawsuits, rumors, publicity good and bad, and controversy.  In 1997, in fact, I wrote the longest investigative piece ever on the KLC up until then (and for years after). It was, entitled, appropriately, “Center of Controversy” (posted below). 

Many years later, after Prof. Jody Myers published a seminal work on the KLC, I revisited, and came up with a slighty different take.  That you can read here.  That piece was entitled, “Maybe It’s Not So Weird.”

Center of Controversy

L.A.‘s Kabbalah Learning Center seems to attract many searching Jews, but criticism of it is widespread

The Jewish Journal/February 14, 1997

By Robert Eshman

Mike Gold* had a successful small business, a nice home, a wife and two kids when he began to wonder about his soul. Questions about life’s meaning, about God and spirituality and his Jewish heritage would not go away. “I started studying Judaism by myself, and I realized,” he said, “I didn’t know anything.”

That’s when Gold cracked opened a book he had purchased months earlier. Some young men had approached him at his business and convinced him to buy it. They were from the Kabbalah Learning Center.

Read more here.