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Farewell Madonna

by Shelomo Alfassa

May 22, 2004

We'll she [Madonna]is not coming [to Israel], and we shouldn't miss her. Madonna was slated to perform a concert in Israel sometime near Rosh Hashanah. Her new concert, the "Reinvention Tour" was the subject of newspaper stories for months, ones which penned her as "brave" and other flattering adjectives because of her desire to travel to Israel.

The singer has reportedly retreated due to the "political climate." Even so, the true reason of her canceling the Tel Aviv appearance might be the backlash from the Jewish community who realizes (unlike the media) that what Madonna practices is not kabbalah, nor Judaism-which is a prerequisite for kabbalah.

Along with her concert in Israel, Madonna desired to obtain a kabbalistic blessing from Israel's greatest Mekubal (kabbalist) Rav Yitzak Kaduri, something one would imagine the holy rabbi would never grant her.

Both in Israel and abroad Madonna has received widespread criticism from rabbis and Jewish leaders for her kabbalah-like antics.

Her perverse use of Jewish ritual items along with her bizarre mixture of Judaic and Catholic practices is an affront to Judaism. With the mainstream media not understanding what kabbalah really is, many news stories erroneously articulate Madonna now practices "the Jewish religion of kabbalah."

She has become a missionary for the kabbalah religion, one which does not actually exist within the Jewish world-but does within the much confused Hollywood world.

Madonna's practices are an insult to Judaism. Her public interest for kabbalah and Judaicoid passions should not taken seriously, for this Roman Catholic who once said "Jesus was a kabbalist" is not Jewish and is not practicing kabbalah.

Recently Madonna has been photographed leaving the Los Angeles Kabbalah Centre wearing shirts which say "Kabbalists Do it Better" as well as one with the Virgin Mary on it. Although she thinks she is a kabbalist, she is not, nor is she a teacher of Judaism. The example Madonna presents to young people is nothing to be proud of.

She recently declared she observes Shabbat (the Sabbath), observes ancient kabbalistic practices, and wears kabbalistic symbols. Her bizarre and perverted concepts of kabbalah have been nourished by The Kabbalah Centre which has been condemned by orthodox rabbinical personalities from the US to the UK and from Canada to South Africa.

Rabbi Kaduri has said whoever supports that group, "financially or otherwise…is endangering his soul." This New Age religion of hers is based partially upon a business model which includes that of selling items such as "kabbalah inspired" books and holy "kabbalah water." Madonna obtained her ideas from the teachings of Philip Berg (formerly Feivel Gruberger). Berg is the one who operates the Kabbalah Centre.

He is no Jewish scholar, no rabbi, and does not teach Judaism. What he teaches [sells] is high priced trendy Jewish-rooted cultisms, wrapped in the blanket of kabbalah.

The Kabbalah Centre which has offices all over the world including Jerusalem, has been criticized by many mainstream orthodox rabbis as a cult, employs non-Jewish personnel to assist in services and conducts strange methods of prayer which are completely foreign to Judaism.

In one of her past videos, Madonna was filmed wrapping tefillin straps around her arm and squirming in an electric chair.

Throughout the video, Madonna has a notably large tattoo of the letters Lamed, Aleph, Vav (a holy name of God) on her right forearm which somehow burn themselves into the chair, as her body disappears.

Madonna continues to made a mockery of Judaism by performing this shocking spectacle on a live stage. Acting out the death scene for the audience, Madonna will appear in her underwear strapped into an electric chair, "writhing" to escape. When the lights come back up she will be "rising from the dead", singing Bedtime Story, which has been inspired by peculiar ideas she has developed, those she says come from kabbalistic inspiration.

According to the New York Post, her forthcoming show reportedly opens with a energetic Madonna simulating sex with a female tango dancer and when she sings "Papa Don't Preach," she'll be backed by a chorus line of scantily clad, obviously pregnant women.

She has planned an outrageous combo act filled with gory images of people killed in Iraq along with a wild lesbian orgy. Madonna's last tour was filled with sexual overtones, sado-masochism and violence. In 1993, years before Madonna's passion for kabbalah developed, she played a concert in Tel Aviv for some 50,000 fans.

While the crowd screamed, Madonna preformed a simulated orgy on stage, while her back up singers removed their tops. Proceedings such as this are an insult to moral people everywhere, and are inconsistent to the teachings of Judaism. Madonna's actions have no place in the Jewish world.

Madonna's tour would not have been politically neutral. For a long time she has possesed a pro-Arab stance, one which inevitably would have surfaced. Madonna has been "anti-war" since before the Iraqi liberation, and like most in Hollywood, believes Arabs should be entitled to a part of the Jewish homeland.

Madonna has adopted the Hebrew name "Esther," and while she recently attended a Passover seder, she spoke of the "despicable living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza." Madonna is not a friend of the Jews. She does not support Israel and does not practice Torah Judaism.

She is a supporter of Arab causes, and Arab causes include the destruction of Israel. She does not practice Judaism, but has fallen for the teaching of a cult center which teaches their own religion, one based on a few tenants of Judaism.

If the now-cancelled 2004 tour happened in Israel, it may have resulted in leading many young Jews into following her bizarre New Age religious practices; it may have even led to a boom in attendance at the cult-like Kabbalah Centre. A concert arena where decadent and homosexual acts are presented is no place for good Jews.

Madonna's arrival in Israel would not have done anything to support the country in this time of war. Her concert would have been a morally wrong event, a sex filled escapade inconsistent with the values of the holy land. Is this what we wanted in Eretz Israel?

WE'LL KILL MADONNA: Madonna has axed three gigs in Israel - after terrorists threatened to kill her and her kids...

by Gordon Smart from The Sun (UK magazine)

circa May 23, 2004

Excerpts:

MADONNA has axed three gigs in Israel — after terrorists threatened to kill her and her kids.

The singer was terrified by a blitz of poison-pen letters.

Madge “freaked out” when she learned of a terrorist plot to kill her two young children if she performed in Israel.

She first planned to defy the extremists but cancelled after the unnamed Palestinian group mentioned details about Lourdes, seven, and three-year-old Rocco in a series of threatening letters.

A source said: “The notes were unbelievably scary. Madonna is a strong woman but she freaked out when her kids were mentioned.

...They became more frightening as they displayed in-depth knowledge of the star’s closest aides.

...The source added: “It became clear that these people were not messing around — they even knew intimate details like who her personal staff are.

“She thought she was being targeted because of her Jewish Kabbalah religion. But this group were threatening her because she represents many things they hate about the West.”

» Same story available from:

What the Scottish papers say

Madonna cancels concerts after death threats, May 25, 2004

PA Terrorists Threaten Pop Star Madonna, May 24, '04

Madonna skips Israel due to terror threats - Jerusalem Post

Madonna cuts dates over death threats, from NEWS.com.au

» However:

But Madonna's spokesperson, Liz Rosenberg, told us that there were no letters or death threats. The star did consider Israel as a concert stop early on, until her security team pulled the plug on the idea.

Source: Are Terrorists Targeting Madonna? from Extra TV.com

Madonna Pays Up To Settle Copyright Claim

from The Smoking Gun

May 24, 2004

MAY 24--On the eve of Madonna's launch of her "shocking" new tour, the singer has quietly settled a federal lawsuit that accused her of ripping off the work of an acclaimed photographer. Details of the financial settlement are confidential and Madonna acknowledged no wrongdoing in her liberal appropriation of the images of the late French photographer Guy Bourdin.

Last September, Bourdin's son Samuel filed a federal copyright lawsuit against Madonna, claiming that her video for the song "Hollywood" was a blatant visual theft job of his father's racy images. "It's one thing to draw inspiration; it's quite another to simply plagiarize the heart and soul of my father's work," Bourdin said at the time. Included in Bourdin's federal complaint were side-by-side comparisons of his father's work with images with stills from the "Hollywood" video.

Bourdin's lawyer, John Koegel, said the parties reached a "very, very successful settlement," adding that terms of the deal did not allow him to discuss exact dollar amounts. Below you'll find the stipulation and order of dismissal signed earlier this month by Judge Lewis A. Kaplan. (2 pages)

Ananova: Madonna's Re-Invention Tour [Did Not Sell Out]

May 24, 2005

Excerpts:

At least one LA ticket broker is already offering a two-for-one deal on Madonna concert tickets, and seats were still available on all of her first three nights. Reports of a terrorist threat on her family on the eve of the first show are also hardly designed to ease her nerves.

Following the less than stellar sales of her latest CD, critics say the pressure is on Madonna to deliver.

CBS television network (owned by Viacom) to pay Madonna millions to air her Reinvention Tour

» Madonna will make a mint

Posted on Mon, May. 24, 2004

Madonna may soon have enough money to build a kaballah center in every state in the union.

We hear CBS will pay the Material Mom $10 million for a two-hour concert special. The broadcast of the Re-Invention Tour show will be her first special on a broadcast network. (HBO aired her last three concert tours, but dropped out of the bidding for this one.)

A CBS rep wouldn't comment on how much Madonna was getting, but $10 million would top the $6 million that Michael Jackson received for his 2001 Madison Square Garden show.

» CBS pays record fee for Madonna gig broadcast

21/05/2004 - 17:10:14 Madonna is being paid a whopping £6m (€8.9m) by the CBS American TV network for a two-hour concert special, the highest ever fee for a rock broadcast.

Madonna is being paid a whopping £6m (€8.9m) by the CBS American TV network for a two-hour concert special, the highest ever fee for a rock broadcast.

She gets £2m (€2.9m) more than Michael Jackson received for a concert a couple of years ago.

Her Madgesty’s Re-Invention Tour begins in California next Monday and final rehearsals are said to be getting rather tense, with the material one eager to counteract rumblings that she may have passed her prime.

At least the TV payday should keep her in Kaballah water for a few years to come.

» Entertainment Weekly, May 2004:

CBS plans to air live Madonna concert. The Re-Invention performance will mark her first special for broadcast TV.

During CBS' upfront presentation of its fall lineup to advertisers on Wednesday, chairman Leslie Moonves emphasized that CBS is 'still the traditional network,' according to the New York Times.

Then he announced that the network would air a live two-hour concert special by Madonna sometime this season. Does that mean that the woman who was once pop's top provocateur has become 'traditional,' too? Or is she just a safer bet not to embarrass the network than CBS' last live pop diva, Janet Jackson?

The performance would be Madonna's first concert special safe enough for broadcast TV; three previous concert specials (most recently, from her 2001 world tour) have aired live on HBO.

It's not clear when the show, to be shot during Madonna's upcoming Re-Invention Tour, will air; the tour starts next week in Los Angeles and is currently scheduled to run through early September. Viewers will hear such 're-invented' Madonna oldies as 'Papa Don't Preach,' 'Vogue,' and 'Express Yourself,' CBS announced.

Of course, 'live' may be a relative term in the post-Janet era; no doubt CBS will have the concert on some kind of delay, just in case. According to MTV News, Madonna is also shooting a 'Truth or Dare'-style tour documentary for theatrical release. It's being shot by Jonas Akerlund, who directed Madonna's controversial (and ultimately withdrawn) 'American Life' video.

Jude Interview- Oregon Music Guide

May 25, 2004

Excerpts:

Moments into the phone call, singer-songwriter Jude makes the startling announcement, "I haven't done an interview in over a year."

The declaration is particularly unusual considering that it wasn't that long ago that his two Maverick releases, 1998's No One's Really Beautiful and 2001's King of Yesterday, were being heralded by publications like Rolling Stone and Spin.

These days, however, the critics that once loved him seem to have forgotten Michael Jude Christodal.

... Topping the list of reasons for Jude's virtual exile is the fact that he's parted ways with Maverick and released Sarah on his own. To be honest, though, saying "parted ways" makes it sound like it was an amicable split and "amicable" is the one thing it wasn't.

When asked if he's able to discuss the details of his departure from his previous label, Jude barely hesitates before launching into his former home.

"They tried to force me to sign some kind of nondisclosure agreement so I couldn't talk about it but they weren't able to," Jude says, without his voice ever rising above normal speaking tones. "It took me two years to fight my way out of there. They did nothing they said they were going to do. I just can't describe it.

"It's a den of thieves and liars, and I had to fight my way out of there. They were horrible."

Home to acts like Alanis Morissette, Michelle Branch and The Deftones, Maverick is most known for the fact that it's Madonna's creation. While most vanity labels break one or two acts and disappear, Maverick has managed to buck the trend and make a name for itself with a solid stable of acts.

An outspoken champion of an artist's right to self-expression, it would make sense that the pop icon stands by her acts and gives them lots of room to be creative but, according to Jude, the label doesn't really work that way.

The story Jude tells details a label determined to micromanage every element of production and shape the album as it saw fit, despite what the artist wanted. As for Madonna's role, Jude says simply, "I'll put it this way, it's not like she sat in on the meetings."

Despite her lack of championing artistic freedom at her own label, Jude says he takes no issue with the "narcissist" because she was more of a figurehead at Maverick and only in it for the financial gain.

"She had nothing to do with, I think, anyone's career on that label...ever. It was an investment."