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Enthetan
6th April 2011, 01:35 PM
Scientology is now the standard against which charity fraud is evaluated:


Jerusalem Post (http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=215352&R=R5)

As the Madonna-run charity Raising Malawi collapses, the Kabbalah Centre is coming under fire for lavish expenses, according to a Newsweek article published this week.

Raising Malawi, which was meant to found a girls' school in one of Africa's poorest countries from which Madonna adopted two children, imploded last week, despite reportedly raising $18 million and spending $3.8 million on the planned school. Kabbalah Centre International, the pop star's partner in the foundation, is now being investigated by the FBI.

Newsweek reported widespread corruption in the organization, saying that the Centre's founders, Phillip and Karen Berg and sons Michael and Yehuda, live in Beverly Hills mansions owned by the organization. The Kabbalah Centre also reportedly pays for the Bergs' "food, furniture, clothing, gas, nannies, tutors, gardeners housekeepers, personal assistants, and more exotic indulgences such as luxury cars, first-class flights and spas."

In response to the charges, Kabbalah Centre's lawyer Shane Hamilton told Newsweek that the Bergs' luxurious lifestyle is "a parsonage" that is part of their salary. The organization said that the Bergs "have taken a vow of poverty."

"Disaffected followers have accused Berg and his family of treating congregants like personal servants, housing them four to a bedroom, paying them a $35-a-month stipend, and advising them to apply for food stamps," the article explains. Hamilton explained that that "chevre," Kabbalah center members, "take a vow of service and are supplied with basic necessities in exchange for 12-hour days of labor," much like Scientology's Sea Org. In fact, Newsweek says that the Kabbalah Centre's detractors call the organization "Jewish Scientology."



David Miscavige must feel really proud right now. His Sea Org is now the standard against which other groups which practice fraud and enslavement are measured.

Edit add: The final paragraph concludes:


There have also been civil suits "alleging that the Kabbalah Centre had exploited the trust of wealthy followers in order to pillage their bank accounts," Newsweek reported.

Yet another basis for comparison.

AnonyMary
6th April 2011, 03:20 PM
Very encouraging..... thanks

paradox
6th April 2011, 04:22 PM
The Newsweek article, itself: http://www.newsweek.com/2011/04/03/madonna-s-malawi-disaster.html

Excerpt:




The Kabbalah Centre’s impressive growth has been paralleled by the volume of its detractors, some of whom have labeled it “Jewish Scientology.” Disaffected followers have accused Berg and his family of treating congregants like personal servants, housing them four to a bedroom, paying them a $35-a-month stipend, and advising them to apply for food stamps. One prominent critic, Rabbi Immanuel Schochet, has said, “They are distorting Kabbalah .?.?. taking some of our sacred books and reducing it to mumbo-jumbo, all kinds of hocus-pocus.”




Kabbalah means “receive” in Hebrew, and that’s certainly what it has meant to the Bergs. Four of the five Berg families live in Beverly Hills mansions owned and remodeled by the center. Building permits alone on three of the Berg homes total $1.4 million. Karen and Philip’s house, the third the center has provided for them in the past decade, boasts a $30,000 swimming pool. The center routinely pays the expenses accumulated on Karen’s credit cards, which include a personal AmEx card with a $31,000 limit and, in the past few years, three Bank of America cards with a combined $81,000 limit. The center covers the Berg families’ food, furniture, clothing, gas, nannies, tutors, gardeners, housekeepers, personal assistants, and more exotic indulgences such as luxury cars, first-class flights, and spas. The Bergs’ lavish lifestyle, one executive says, is “100 percent subsidized.”

Kabbalah Centre tax attorney Shane Hamilton contends that the Bergs include ordained rabbis who are “treated as ministers of the Gospel” and are thus entitled to “a parsonage as part of their compensation.” Hamilton says some household services are provided by chevre, center members who take a vow of service and are supplied with basic necessities in exchange for 12-hour days of labor. Hamilton will not “confirm or deny the taxability of any of the specific services” and also declines to say whether the chevre, or the Bergs, pay any income taxes.

The Bergs’ lifestyle seems extraordinary, especially in light of the application the center filed with the IRS in 1998 seeking tax exemption as a church. To the question of whether “any funds or property of the organization” were to be used by any minister or officer “for his or her own personal needs and convenience,” the center answered that members of the religious order (including the Bergs) “have taken a vow of poverty” :eyeroll: and look to the center “for their meals, lodging and other subsistence.” Paradoxically, while the center takes full advantage of tax laws benefiting religious organizations, its website states that “Kabbalah is not a religion.”


:lol:

Alanzo
6th April 2011, 04:39 PM
In the mid 1990's, I was a computer and marketing consultant in LA and I had a client who was receiving Kaballah teachings from the same Kaballah teacher that Madonna had.

Through this client, and his teacher, Rabbi Micheal Berg and others at the Kaballah center in LA learned that I was a Scientologist, that I had gone to the Olympics with Charles Lakes in 1988, and thought that I might be someone to talk to about how Scientology handles their celebrities.

So I had a meeting with them at their center in the Fairfax district of LA.

During this meeting it was expressed that they wanted to learn how Scientology treats their celebrities, because they have a few celebs, too, and they wanted to use Scientology techniques for the broader promotion of the Kaballah.

The meeting lasted over 3 hours. It was clear to me that they were sincere, and that they simply wanted to evangelize the Kaballah and its teachings to as many people as possible.

After the meeting, I called the President's Office of the Church of Scientology and told them about this and that there might be some kind of follow up from someone at CC who actually had some experience in handling celebrities in Scientology. I have no knowledge that anyone ever followed up with them from the President's office. Given the response I got from Jim Connelly, I doubt anyone ever did.

I watched them grow in popularity over the years.

I do not know how they have handled or mishandled their money and the power over their followers that has come from their popularity.

But I think that their Scientology connection is probably more than just a (black) PR positioning.

rhansrider
6th April 2011, 05:44 PM
Wouldn't that be the time Marty and crew were around in the cult? It would be interesting to hear his BS about the Kaballah enquires.

Annonny
6th April 2011, 07:08 PM
Back in the 90s Kaballah in Israel operated somewhat like a cult - they invited people in for free courses. They targeted secular non-religious Jews under the pretense that Kaballah is not a religion (because most of us have an aversion of religion).
And then they made their members sell the Kaballah books door to door. But somehow I perceive them as less evil than Scientology. For starters, they are not that big and don't have much money [at least in Israel, I know nothing about those LA dudes].

GoNuclear
6th April 2011, 07:39 PM
"Disaffected followers have accused Berg and his family of treating congregants like personal servants, housing them four to a bedroom, paying them a $35-a-month stipend, and advising them to apply for food stamps," the article explains. Hamilton explained that that "chevre," Kabbalah center members, "take a vow of service and are supplied with basic necessities in exchange for 12-hour days of labor," much like Scientology's Sea Org. In fact, Newsweek says that the Kabbalah Centre's detractors call the organization "Jewish Scientology."

Why not "Jewish Scientology?" There is already such a thing as "Jewish Lightning" also known as arson, there is already such a thing as "Jewish Penicillin" also known as chicken soup. To add the finishing touch, all we need is a Jewish version of DM/COB. He would have to be a world class shmikler (weasel, cheat) a total schmuck (a real prick). Any candidates?

Pete

elwood
6th April 2011, 08:04 PM
I think the U.S. Government made a terrible mistake in allowing the granting of tax-exempt status to so-called "religious" organizations. The amount of real estate owned by churches is absolutely astounding. Scientology is just the most visible. Furthermore it allows just about any lunatic to set him/herself up as a "church" and enjoy a free ride at taxpayer expense.

Mike Laws
6th April 2011, 08:28 PM
In the mid 1990's, I was a computer and marketing consultant in LA and I had a client who was receiving Kaballah teachings from the same Kaballah teacher that Madonna had.

Through this client, and his teacher, Rabbi Micheal Berg and others at the Kaballah center in LA learned that I was a Scientologist, that I had gone to the Olympics with Charles Lakes in 1988, and thought that I might be someone to talk to about how Scientology handles their celebrities.

So I had a meeting with them at their center in the Fairfax district of LA.

During this meeting it was expressed that they wanted to learn how Scientology treats their celebrities, because they have a few celebs, too, and they wanted to use Scientology techniques for the broader promotion of the Kaballah.

The meeting lasted over 3 hours. It was clear to me that they were sincere, and that they simply wanted to evangelize the Kaballah and its teachings to as many people as possible.

After the meeting, I called the President's Office of the Church of Scientology and told them about this and that there might be some kind of follow up from someone at CC who actually had some experience in handling celebrities in Scientology. I have no knowledge that anyone ever followed up with them from the President's office. Given the response I got from Jim Connelly, I doubt anyone ever did.

I watched them grow in popularity over the years.

I do not know how they have handled or mishandled their money and the power over their followers that has come from their popularity.

But I think that their Scientology connection is probably more than just a (black) PR positioning.

Dude!!! Did you teach them how to set up a Sea Org? (Satirical comment!)

Alanzo
6th April 2011, 08:46 PM
Dude!!! Did you teach them how to set up a Sea Org? (Satirical comment!)

I was just acting as an "advisor". No official "boots on the ground", as it were.

The conversation I had about this with Jim Connolly is officially on hold for now.

More to come, though.

Mike Laws
6th April 2011, 08:49 PM
I was just acting as an "advisor". No official "boots on the ground", as it were.

The conversation I had about this with Jim Connolly is officially on hold for now.

More to come, though.

I knew Jim, Kay and Gary very well, often wonder what happened to them.

Sounds like a fascinating story. What year?

Alanzo
6th April 2011, 08:49 PM
I knew Jim, Kay and Gary very well, often wonder what happened to them.

Sounds like a fascinating story. What year?

That's classified.

Mark A. Baker
6th April 2011, 10:11 PM
I think the U.S. Government made a terrible mistake in allowing the granting of tax-exempt status to so-called "religious" organizations. ...

That's politics. If you think the religious nuts are outrageous in their interference in public policy at the present, just try taking away their tax breaks and see what happens. :omg:

The vatican, just for one, would declare mass war on all u.s. politicians who declare support for such a plan. No politician is going to intentionally seek to piss off the 'good christians' (:eyeroll:) among his electorate. :yes:

The truth is the principle derives from european traditions, especially within britain, of church involvement with state affairs. The idea of political separation was radical enough to introduce into the constitution. Far too radical for many 'christians' as much 'populist' political rhetoric demonstrates. Cutting the churches off from the gravy train ain't gonna happen as long as churches can directly or indirectly affect state policy.


Mark A. Baker

Alanzo
6th April 2011, 10:23 PM
That's politics. If you think the religious nuts are outrageous in their interference in public policy at the present, just try taking away their tax breaks and see what happens. :omg:

The vatican, just for one, would declare mass war on all u.s. politicians who declare support for such a plan. No politician is going to intentionally seek to piss off the 'good christians' (:eyeroll:) among his electorate. :yes:

The truth is the principle derives from european traditions, especially within britain, of church involvement with state affairs. The idea of political separation was radical enough to introduce into the constitution. Far too radical for many 'christians' as much 'populist' political rhetoric demonstrates. Cutting the churches off from the gravy train ain't gonna happen as long as churches can directly or indirectly affect state policy.


Mark A. Baker

Oh but Mark, you've missed the evolution in the governmental approach to this which has come from the fight against Scientology abuse in Australia: a public benefit test.

In the medieval way of thinking, if you believed in the supernatural, then you were exempt from taxes. Somehow it meant you were a "charity" because you believed in the supernatural and you obviously spent your money doing things that the government would not have to do for people because you, through your "charitable acts", were already doing it for them - like feeding the poor, etc. And so you did not need to pay taxes.

This was the leap in logic: Belief in the supernatural automatically made you a charity, and thus tax exempt. When you look at this it really is how this was set up. It is quite an un-inspected insanity in our society.

This led to tax dodges such as Hubbard's formation of the Church of Scientology in the early 50's, as well as many other scams, and has steadily produced them ever since.

The Public Benefit Test handles the fears of real charitable organizations like the Catholic Church, by having them report the amount of money they spent on charitable acts.

If you can't provide evidence that you are a charity, then you can't have your tax exempt status.

The Charitable Benefit Test is something that the US needs to adopt - badly.

And the Catholic Church is going to be just fine with it.

So don't you worry your pretty little head about it....

Mark A. Baker
6th April 2011, 10:41 PM
Oh but Mark, you've missed the evolution in the governmental approach to this which has come from the fight against Scientology abuse in Australia: a public benefit test.

...

The Charitable Benefit Test is something that the US needs to adopt - badly.

And the Catholic Church is going to be just fine with it.

So don't you worry your pretty little head about it....


A. The Charitable Benefits Test does not cut off charitable deductions to religious institution, the point to which I was responding, and one with which I agree.

B. Neither was the catholic church 'just fine with it'. They were quite adamant in their testimony against. No doubt they will learn to live with it. They have enough problems world wide and australia is not exactly an hotbed of conservative catholicism.

C. Australia is a very different country from the u.s. with a very very different social culture from that of the u.s..

D. Organized religion is reputed to have much more influence on the contemporary u.s. electorate than it does in other english speaking countries. I'm inclined to believe this as throughout my life u.s. elections have been dominated with appeals to religiously based language as a political 'call to arms'. That sort of rhetoric has appeared to be either wholly absent or greatly muted in the corresponding electoral proceedings of the other major english speaking nations.


I agree that a Charitable Benefits Test would not be an unreasonable requirement to implement in the u.s.. I would prefer, as Elwood suggested, the complete elimination of tax privileges accorded to religious institutions and their affiliates. However, as I previously mentioned, politically that is an unrealistic & unattainable goal for the present (and likely for a long time to come).


Mark A. Baker

degraded being
6th April 2011, 11:40 PM
That's politics. If you think the religious nuts are outrageous in their interference in public policy at the present, just try taking away their tax breaks and see what happens. :omg:

The vatican, just for one, would declare mass war on all u.s. politicians who declare support for such a plan. No politician is going to intentionally seek to piss off the 'good christians' (:eyeroll:) among his electorate. :yes:

The truth is the principle derives from european traditions, especially within britain, of church involvement with state affairs. The idea of political separation was radical enough to introduce into the constitution. Far too radical for many 'christians' as much 'populist' political rhetoric demonstrates. Cutting the churches off from the gravy train ain't gonna happen as long as churches can directly or indirectly affect state policy.


Mark A. Baker

If they can do black President they can do anything.

Opter
7th April 2011, 03:02 AM
I was just acting as an "advisor". No official "boots on the ground", as it were.

The conversation I had about this with Jim Connolly is officially on hold for now.

More to come, though.



Sounds very interesting. I'd love to read about it.:yes:


Opter