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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Inside Hollywood's Hottest Cult

Part One: Red String Theory A four-month Radar investigation reveals how a renegade rabbi and his striver wife ended up atop a multi-
million-dollar empire built on bracelets, bottled water, and Madonna.

On a clear spring night in April 2004, Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Ashton Kutcher, and a gum-snapping Demi Moore stood on the dais in a banquet room at the Westin Diplomat hotel in Hollywood, Florida, facing the 2,500 Kabbalah Centre congregants who had paid as much as $4,000 each for the “Pesach Experience,” the Centre’s Passover retreat. Lesser Kabbalah lights Marla Maples and Sandra Bernhard were also in the house.

Madonna, looking, in the words of one observer, “fierce,” wore a holiday dress and a jaunty newsboy cap. Moore, a more recent recruit, was decidedly casual in pants. In keeping with the Centre’s traditions, Ritchie and Kutcher, like the rest of the men in the room, were dressed head-to-toe in white. On this particular evening Kutcher had even personalized his outfit with a white skullcap featuring a black Nike swoosh.

The celebrity couples had been summoned to the dais by the Centre’s founder and spiritual leader, Philip Berg, to share their wisdom with the crowd. But according to one attendee, none of the four said anything very memorable. Moore didn’t speak at all.--



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