The UK Telegraph takes a skeptical look at Kabbalah, the low-carb mysticism of the stars:
In 1969, a former insurance salesman, Rabbi Philip Berg, established the Kabbalah Centre International and appointed himself its leader. The centre markets Kabbalah as a "universal system for self-improvement" and attracts more than 3.5 million followers. Berg claims that Kabbalah answers the ultimate questions of human existence: who we are, where we come from and why we're here. Its followers claim that it can purify the soul and banish disease, depression and discontent using the spiritual light of the Zohar.
The Kabbalah Centre sells copies of its sacred texts and other "spiritual tools", such as Kabbalah Water. Among the best-selling items is the red string bracelet, said to protect the wearer from the evil eye. The Beckhams, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Demi Moore and Madonna have all been seen sporting one.
Quite a crew. It would be hard to assemble a group more representative of the spiritual health of our age -- in respect of which, I still cherish Monica Lewinsky's plug for Kabbalism in a three-year-old Larry King interview:
Lewinsky said that right now, she's still designing handbags, something she's been doing for the past couple of years. And she's also concentrating on her faith, studying at the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles. The Kabbalah are ancient books of Jewish mystical thought, according to the center's Web site.
"It's been amazing for me. It's -- I think the combination of designing and sort of working on having my creative juices, and keeping that flowing, really and then stimulating my mental brain, and working my spirituality," she said.
Isn't that how St. Teresa of, like, Avila got started?