LA Times Chronicles City’s Other Celebrity-Endorsed Religion

Though coincidental, the timing of an excellent two-part LA Times series on LA’s Kabbalah Centre seems almost anti-spiritual, given the current marital troubles reportedly enshrouding Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. In happier times, they were wed by a Kabbalah teacher.

In Part Two of the investigation, reporters Harriet Ryan and Kim Christensen focus on an aspect that is as critical for religious success in LA as it is for ascension in the movie, TV and sex tape businesses. The celebrity factor:

The first celebrity drawn to the Kabbalah Centre was Sandra Bernhard, who began studying in 1995… She dove into kabbalah classes with a charismatic Israeli teacher, Eitan Yardeni. She was effusive in the media about kabbalah, which she said had eliminated “at least 80% of the chaos in my life.” In her Hollywood circle, she was a one-woman marketing campaign for Yardeni and the center.

From there, it was a hop, skip and Robertson Blvd. jump to Roseanne Barr, Madonna and, allegedly, some Scientology-like hard court press tactics. A “prominent filmmaker” who asked not to be named said that after a few lessons with Yardeni, he had to order off his property a man who showed up and insisted the movie man should be donating millions. Since the launch of a recent IRS investigation into the group’s non-profit dealings, the article authors note that celebrity members have gone silent.