Middle East Times, 7/26/07 [EXCERPTS]: Far from the Hollywood glitz of Kabbalah's celebrity acolytes, ordinary people are flocking to [Safed], Israel's capital of ancient Jewish mysticism...on a quest for spiritual meaning.
The Ascent Centre organises popular seminars to study Kabbalah, as championed by media messiah Madonna, increasingly attracting Jews and non-Jews looking for spirituality and disenchanted with the vagaries of modern life.
"Madonna happened to be a vehicle of God," says Rabbi Mordechai Siev, who directs the English-language programme at the centre in Safed, extolling the magnetism of the Jewish Sabbath in the slightly down-market Israeli town.
"The centre is open to Jewish and non- Jewish people from all over the world and they come to check out mystical experiences," he says, adding that plunging into religious texts allows Kabbalah enthusiasts to "connect to themselves."
Sheree Sharan, 31, has been interested in Kabbalah for two years and came from Chicago for a four-day seminar to "get some energy" and search for the hidden meaning that she believes is lost in the materialism of the West.
Her understanding is that "Kabbalah teaches you about the power you have inside, how to control your inner instinct, how to make sense of emotions. Our generation seems to be searching for meaning, for goals and answers."
[TBC: There's no doubt that occult mysticism, which is condemned in the Bible yet found in nearly all religions, will be a major factor in drawing all religions together under the Antichrist. It's even more disturbing that such mysticism is a central part in the Emerging Church Movement.]