"The gullibility of the average citizen, his willingness
to accept what is told him
if it is said loudly enough and with sufficient force is well-known.
Mass psychology and mob determination have been exploited down the age....
But this negative receptivity can be easily turned to good ends as bad."
(_The Spiritual Hierarchy_, Lucis Trust, 1982, p.8)
I. New Age Missionizing Among Jews
In the previous segments, we examined the philosophies underpinning the New Age or "Age of Aquarius", an age which not everyone is qualified to enter. We saw the open hostility expressed by New Age thinkers toward Jews and especially Judaism. We noted the high caliber of people who embrace the NA concepts of "unity in diversity" and "the evil of separatism", focusing on the role played by the United Nations and related groups. Given the admittedly low potential of Jews as a "race" to enter the New Age, they must be viewed as unworthy of indoctrination efforts.
Wrong. In fact, missionary efforts among the Jews are springing up so quickly that this survey is certain to be out of date within months of writing. [So the reader should consider this section - already far longer than any other in the series - as only a sample of the more prominent groups and personalities.]
1. Efforts Among Secular Jews
Missionary efforts among secular Jews are concentrated mainly in appeals to world harmony and cooperation as taking priority over any narrow group interests, playing on the Jewish sense of responsibility to humanity. Beginning by touching on the innermost nerve of the secular Jewish community - persecution in general, and the Holocaust in particular - the "Tibetan Master", Alice Bailey's spirit guide, reassures them that their suffering is being taken into account by the entire Hierarchy: "The fate of the Jews in the world war is a terrible tale of cruelty, torture and wholesale murder, and the treatment of the Jews down the ages is one of the blackest chapters in human history. For it there is no excuse or condonation, and right-thinking people everywhere are aware of this and are eagerly demanding that these persecutions end. The spiritual forces of the world and the spiritual leaders of humanity (both those working on the outer plane [human] and those guiding from the inner side of the veil [disembodied spirits]) are seeking a solution." (_Problems of Humanity_ IV, p.102) Many Jews, in great relief, read no farther and eagerly give their support to the Age of Aquarius.
But the very next sentence throws the burden on the victims: "The solution, however, will be found only when the Jews themselves seek to find the way out." Out of what? The "world problem" which they themselves have caused. [See more details on how the Jews caused their persecution, and even the Holocaust, and what is expected of them.] The promise is then made that if the Jews will be more forthcoming, "shoulder their own responsibilities" and work on "right human relations" (p.104-105), antisemitism will disappear. If they will renounce their dogma of distinct peoplehood, and join the "brotherhood of man" [as if they can't do both], they will be fully accepted. [Besides being an unfair guilt trip, you would think this could be easily dismissed by liberal Jews, many of whom are already in the forefront of human rights causes. Yet too many have accepted the NA idea that Jews have to atone for their existence by denying any uniqueness - even a claim to unique depths of suffering.]
1a. Post-Identity Hopes:Many are the gullible secular Jews (with Israelis in the forefront) who have "shouldered their own responsibilities" of dismantling their heritage, under the assumption that they will earn for themselves a place in the New Age. From archaeology to 20th-century history, Jewish scholars are scrambling to undo the "dogmas" of Zionism and bury the historical evidence of Jewish rights to the Land of Israel, hoping to redeem themselves in the eyes of the New Humanity. Israeli politics, education, legal system and public image are all being overhauled in the attempt to exorcise the demons of "distinct peoplehood". Great energy is invested in marginalizing orthodox Judaism, in the assumption that our religion is the only obstacle to "right human relations". Behind all these is the conviction that membership in the NA "brotherhood of man" will be our reward, if we will just make ourselves less us and more everyone-else. [These self-hating Jews have managed to ignore the NA celebration of "diversity" with regard to every other tribe on earth, including those with closed religious systems and separatist customs even more exclusive than Judaism. They never ask why only the Jews are offensive by being "separate".] The major point missed by these converts to the NA faith is that after erasing Jewish identity markers, Jews will have only passed from one of Bailey's unacceptable categories to another: from that of the separatist "problem child of humanity" to that of the spiritually improved but racially tainted. As we study the NA views on the Jews, we see that "right human relations" between the Jews and humanity goes beyond erasing borders, or even collective invisibility. It requires the Jews to accept that there is no relational place for their race in this stage of human evolution. The "brotherhood of man" will open up to Jews only in future lives... perhaps.
1b. NA Religion Disguised as Philosophy or Science: These varieties of secular repackaging are not necessarily targeting Jews, but due to the disproportionately high numbers of intellectual Jews who have embraced them, they are worth mentioning. [For brevity I will not go into detail here, but I have documentation for each entry.] The NA beliefs they have in common are: the existence of a collective ancient wisdom, accessible from within the human mind and enhanced by input from "higher intelligences"; the unlimited potential of humanity, to be tapped by creating one's own reality; and the obstacle which orthodox Judaism and related "fundamentalist" religions pose to individual and social progress.
One example is the revival of classical Greek/Roman philosophy. This is best exemplified by "New Acropolis", a global forum now in 40 countries, which combines Theosophy and Fascism. [Full documentation would require another article, but below are a few details. For excellent source material on New Acropolis and other NA cults, see the website by Dutch historian Dr. Herman de Tollenaere]
Another example is Jungian psychology: Carl Jung was devoted to his spirit guide "Philemon", to occult practices and to racist Ayranism. (See Harvard professor
Richard Noll's books, _The Jung Cult_ and _The Aryan Christ: The Secret Life of Carl Jung_, the sources for details which follow.) An excellent analysis of Jung's indebtedness to Theosophy and other mystery religions, based on Noll's research, is offered by Janet Biehl at "The Social Ecology Project" [the link takes you to a series - scroll down to second article]. Researcher D. Sklar (_The Nazis and the Occult_) outlines Jung's experiences as a child in a spiritist family, which convinced him that he was chosen by God to be a prophet of the Age of Aquarius. Pivotal life events continued to revolve around spiritist and occultic involvement; Jungian psychologist Morton Kelsey states that Jung viewed witchcraft and shamanism as beneficial exercises (as does Kelsey himself). A key turning point was Jung's self-induced psychotic breakdown in December 1913, in which he was "transformed" into the Mitraic lion-headed god, "Aion". This experience directly led to his key concepts of "archetypes", the "collective subconscious" mind and the irrelevance of reality in the face of perceived reality [ideas long taught in Hinduism and occult circles]. His quotes concerning his brand of psychoanalysis show that he wanted to duplicate his 1913 experience in others. [We might say that his efforts to lose his mental stability were so successful that he dedicated the rest of his career to helping others lose theirs....] Jung's stated goals are "self-deification" and the corresponding "death" of one's "personal being", which as Noll points out are the components of a gnostic initiation experience. But perhaps one of the biggest shocks for Jewish Jungian fans will be the discovery that Jung's ideal psychotherapy system was one in which "German psychology" would be kept carefully separate from any taint of "Jewish psychology" [see the Nazism section for details].
And then there is NA religion parading as "science" in neo-Darwinism and evolutionism. One of the leading thinkers in this field, Dr. Michael Ruse, has proposed that the myth of evolution as "science" be laid to rest, pointing out that it is actually a "secular religion" due to its reliance on "metaphysical" assumptions. [Regarding this last item, which might tempt creationists to celebrate, I have good news and bad news. Yes, this can level the playing field in the fight to get equal time for creationism in public education, and lay to rest the unfair science-religion dichotomy which has censored Biblical models. There are a growing number of scientists who are ready to ditch Darwin as science. But monotheists will face a worse situation when evolutionism undergoes the "paradigm shift" which physicist-psychologist Peter Russell (a Bailey disciple and Findhorn member) insists must transform all sciences: from a system that has "no place for God" and comes up with too few answers, to a spiritual system where "God" is "within human consciousness" and factual answers are not necessary. (See
"Science and Spirituality", _World Goodwill Newsletter_, No.2, 1997. WG is a branch of Lucis Trust, publisher of Bailey's works.) Biblical creationism will then be challenged by a synthesis of evolution-creation in which all the current flaws of standard evolution are plugged with NA teaching: the missing links will be solved by visitations from alien "creators" who triggered "quantum leaps" in human evolution; life's irreducible complexity will be acknowledged with references to forces and deities no less impressive than the G-d of the Bible; and any remaining inconsistencies can be ignored and explained (as Russell says) as "maya" - the illusion of material reality. Under those circumstances, we can expect the current reluctance among scientists to allow creationism into the schools will give away - not in defeat but in the confidence that whatever creation science has to say will no longer threaten them. They will expect the children to be so indoctrinated that Biblical models will not impress them.]
2. Spiritual "Salads" - Judaism Laced with Paganism
For those who cannot be so easily divorced from Judaism, there is an attempt to wean observant and traditional Jews away from the Torah by promoting very Jewish concepts side by side with very un-Jewish ones. They are finding acceptance, or at least benefitting from benevolent neglect, in the orthodox community. A prominent Kabbalist revered by thousands in Israel, Rabbi Kadouri, performs divination by reading palms after they rest for a moment on a Torah. [My next-door neighbor was thrilled to relate this experience to me last year.] The followers of the late Shlomo Carlebach hold a weekly kumsitz in the cemetery, tying blue strings to his grave to "absorb his aura" and be worn as bracelets. ("Life in the Cemetery", _Jerusalem Post_, Sep.19, 1997) Jewish community centers, established to foster Jewish identity, are offering classes in both Torah and yoga, the latter not even bothering about Jewish trappings. Posters can be seen around Jerusalem advertising Torah combined with Tai Chi. The "Elat Chayyim Jewish Spiritual Retreat Center" has a Tai Chi Reiki Master ["Chi" is a Chinese Buddhist term for the underlying force of the universe which can be harnessed by thought power] and a resident yoga instructor, whose training was not in Judaism but in Eastern paganism. [I can assert without reservation that yoga is idolatrous, having practiced it myself for 11 years before discovering Torah Judaism. While some insist that hatha yoga is only physical exercise, I confirmed with several teachers that the physical postures themselves are viewed as acts of worship to the deity for which they are named (the "cobra", the "lion", the "sun dance", etc.). This fact is omitted when introducing yoga to Westerners, but like other esoteric doctrines it is gradually revealed as the disciple advances. Moreover, worship is understood to take place even if the lower-level practitioner is unaware of what he is doing. This is also the attitude behind the vague NA prayer, the "Great Invocation".]
The number of practices forbidden by Torah which are cloaked in Torah garb are bewildering, and rarely are any of them challenged by the Torah community. [It can be argued that such people do not represent normative orthodox Judaism; however, by openly promoting such ideas in the orthodox community without being disowned, they are successfully undermining the authority of Torah in its own community - an essential part of the New Age Plan.] Some of these practices which date back centuries are even hotly defended by the groups with the strictest standards of Torah observance, such as praying to dead tzaddikim (sages considered especially connected to G-d during their lives) for healing, spouses, ability to conceive, hidden wisdom and other favors. [Jews who support this practice, yet who are revolted at the idea of others relating to Jesus in the same manner because "it's idolatrous to pray to a human being" or because "we Jews don't need a mediator between us and G-d", have a problem not only with their Torah observance but with basic credibility.]
2a. One bestselling "salad" is worth listing separately: the Buddhism-Judaism mix. Promoted under the brand name "Jewish Renewal", it has swelled to an international movement in its own right and will be examined later. It has the dubious honor of fooling the greatest number of loyal Jews, who do not object because Buddhists do not bow before an idol (at least not while the West is watching). Buddhism is also considered non-threatening to Jews because of its image of peaceable tolerance for all faiths. [This image has afforded the Dalai Lama a warm welcome in Israel; however, it clashes with past Buddhist affinities for Nazism, and Bailey expected Buddhism to revert to militancy at the proper stage of the Plan.] As a result, "lectures [in Israel] by visiting Buddhist teachers are invariably packed." ("The New Believers", _The Jerusalem Report_, Apr. 2, 1998)
A brief investigation of the Buddhist faith will show that the lack of statues is not a rejection of idolatry, as in Judaism, but rather an acceptance of the Divinity in everything, as both Pantheism and NA affirm. Using an idol would unnecessarily limit the Buddhist's concept of god. More accurately, the fullest expression of the Divinity in Buddhism is nothingness, the Great Void. The ultimate goal in Buddhism is to become "enlightened" (the literal meaning of "Buddha") concerning the meaninglessness of physical existence, to aspire to godhood (achieved through progressive disconnection with the physical, and negation of the individual) and union with "Nirvana", the Divine Negation of existence. All of this is totally in tandem with NA doctrine and practice. [Compare this with the "loss of self" in NA teaching to achieve higher enlightenment; Tibetan Buddhism is the source. Note also the radical standards of "simplicity" and renunciation of worldly luxuries urged upon Buddhist and NA disciples, compared with the opulent lifestyles of their leaders. A Jewish admirer of the Dalai Lama, who was a guest at the latter's residence, describes it as a "palace"... albeit a "fairly modest palace" by American standards. See the Katz diary below for source.] The same article in _The Jerusalem Report_ notes repeatedly that Jews enamoured with Buddhism often incorporate Sufi (Islamic mystical) techniques as well on the path to self-as-god, including Islamic trance music and Moslem prayers. [Sufism is yet another form of the "ancient occult wisdom", with a goal to undermine and eliminate monotheistic Islam.] And as we will see below, Jews who step into Buddhism are prone to adopt blatantly idol-centered faiths as well.
3. Jewish Renewal - The Spiritual Salad-Bar Movement
In terms of spiritual salads, Jewish Renewal offers a five-star buffet. This movement is a direct extension of the Jewish-Buddhist mix described above. It is so widespread and popular, and comes in so many packages, it deserves a detailed examination.
The "father" of Jewish Renewal (hereafter JR) is the grandfatherly Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, a prolific PhD author, counseling psychologist and Lubavitcher rabbi. He still dresses in the Hassidic tradition and verbally identifies with Judaism, but it isn't long before he reveals where his heart is. In an interview with "Thinking Allowed" host Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove [who also interviewed NA leader Barbara Marx Hubbard that year - see number (2a) in the section on Transformation], Schachter-Shalomi is introduced as a wide-ranging Jewish scholar: professor emeritus at Temple University (psychology of religion, mysticism), founder of P'nai Or (later renamed Aleph Alliance, outlined below), director of the "Spiritual Eldering Project". Schachter-Shalomi himself mentions various synagogue posts and a stint at the University of Manitoba. But soon he is speaking of Sufi legends and describing the "Ancient of Days" [a Tenach term for G-d] as "a thing... an archetype" that "is needed by our mother, the Earth". Similarly, in an interview promoting his 1997 book, _Paradigm Shift_, [the title itself being a favorite NA code] Schachter-Shalomi first speaks of creating the "Havurah movement" and _The Jewish Catalog_; he defines Jewish Renewal as "based on Kabbalah, Hasidism and other forms of Jewish mysticism." He mentions his appreciation for his Habad training. Reviewers of his book applaud his "love of Torah" (Dr. Moshe Waldoks) and his "contribution to the revival of Jewish spirituality" (Dr. Arthur Green). But then he urges us to "let go of the old paradigms rather than cling to obsolete ways of thinking." These obsolete ways are to be replaced by "newly emerging ways of looking at reality" which are not derived from Torah but from "the coming to an end of one era and the dawning of a new one"; this is what shapes his "recontextualization of Judaism".
Like the leaders of "CLAL" [see below], Reb Zalman justifies his "paradigm shift" by pointing to the changes Judaism underwent after the Temple's destruction, and like CLAL he makes the claim that "all of our practices and belief had to be reframed" at that time. [We will test this claim later.] But he goes farther: Judaism also passed through "paradigm shifts" with Abraham, Moses, Auschwitz, Hiroshima... and "the moon walk". [If you are wondering how you missed the shattering trauma that hit Judaism after the Apollo moon landing, you are not alone. Even the recovery of the Western Wall in 1967, as momentous as it was, didn't cause "all our practices and beliefs" to be "reframed".... However, be aware that man's brief hip-hop on the moon is high on the NA list of milestone events in human evolution. So is the first use of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, mentioned as a "shift point" by the JR leader but largely passed over by orthodox Jewish commentators.] From here, the Jewish Renewal rebbe heads straight for his goal to "delaminate our faith-treasures from earlier maps [of reality]" and paste them onto "new maps" which meet "the demands of our era". (Interestingly, the Reb's claim to formulating a "recontextualization" which "renews" Judaism is ridiculed by modern followers of the messianic pretender Sabbatai Zevi, who accuse JR of plagiarizing their 300-year-old heretical traditions.)
Where does the Reb look for his "new maps"? To a renewed study of Torah? Nope, to "feminism, human potential [another NA code phrase], ecology and Whole Earth thinking [also NA code]." A "new map" is also needed for the concept of Tshuvah (repentance): "one connects first the higher centers of one's being", [which in NA is the first stage of "antahkarana", or Rainbow bridge-building] then connects "with God", [the second stage of "antahkarana"]. It is only after this that "one implements what one needs from the tradition to round out one's life." [But as we have seen, once the Rainbow bridge is completed, one needs nothing from "outmoded Judaism" - on the contrary, one recognizes the need for its destruction.] He admits that fellow-Jews do not accept his "modify[ing] a long standing and Divinely revealed tradition". But as if to make sure enlightened readers appreciate his skill as a change agent, Reb Zalman describes how his disciples have "mainstreamed" his teachings into regular orthodox synagogues "without explicitly attributing the source", and have successfully "blended into the acceptable scene". As an example [and perhaps as yet another coded signal] he mentions the "rainbow colored tallit" he personally designed. [Watch below for how many leaders in various organizations turn out to be Reb Zalman disciples, and you will see his boast is not an idle one.]
Schachter-Shalomi's personal view of "Divinely revealed tradition" mirrors that of other Jewish groups discussed in this section. Similar to CLAL's ever-changing Torah, he proclaims that Divine revelation is still unfolding, well beyond Torah boundaries. And like the Kabbalah Centre, he doesn't hesitate to teach Kabbalah to students who have no grounding in basic Torah - he too is confident that if Jewish Renewal students "follow the inclination of their own inner core", this will compensate for the lack of Torah. Reb Zalman even castigates the old school of Kabbalah, "esoteric teachers [who] demanded that the seekers relinquish and deny their sacred encounters outside of the tradition [that is, required them to turn from idolatry] and begin basic [Torah] observances." [Schachter consistently uses "tradition" or "traditional Torah" where orthodox rabbis would say simply "Torah".] In harmony with this attitude, one of Schachter-Shalomi's main responsibilities is chairing the "World Wisdom Department" at the Naropa Institute, a private college where Buddhist meditation is required daily and "each class or degree program integrates varying degrees of Buddhist philosophies and traditions". Naropa's Fall 1997 course schedule listed Reb Zalman's "Core Texts of Jewish Mysticism", alongside studies of Aztec death celebration (student is instructed to bring an offering of flowers, bread and fruit), Yoruban ancestor-worship, Druid shamanism, Sufi trance music, Taoist religion, the "Shambhala Tradition" of meditation (taught by Naropa's founder), Kundalini Yoga, and about a dozen Tibetan Buddhist courses.
Other JR-related groups are springing up too fast to document. Here is a short-list of the older centers:
3a. Aleph Alliance for Jewish Renewal: This organization, centered in Philadelphia, is under the direct leadership of Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Prominent members of Aleph regularly appear in the forefront of the other groups listed in this section, especially Elat Chayyim. Conversely, the latter is promoted with equal fervor on the Aleph website. The 3-fold vision of Aleph Alliance explicitly calls for "Jewish spirituality" and never mentions any spiritual path outside of Judaism. Quite the contrary, the FAQ asserts: "It is an important part of Aleph's mission to make the 'hidden' treasures of Judaism known and accessible" to all those "spiritually sensitive Jews [who] have sought spiritual expression in other faith traditions." However, a brief survey of the Elat Chayyim faculty [see below] and Schachter-Shalomi's own spiritual journey [see also the summary above] will show that the "treasures" they themselves have studied and now offer are from many other faiths besides Judaism, principly from Buddhism. [Thus, instead of attracting Jewish seekers to authentic Judaism, they give added encouragement to look elsewhere for the "treasures", just as they have. Reb Zalman's allegiance to the Naropa Institute, whose "learning philosophy is rooted in Buddhist tradition", is alone enough to discredit historical Judaism as self-sufficient.] Aleph, like Schacter-Shalomi, clearly accepts the "universality of spiritual truths" and is proud of its "synthesis of these wide-ranging experiences", not to reaffirm Judaism but to create a "unique" teaching. [Actually, "universality" is used advisedly. The Aleph FAQ notes one exception to their acceptance of all spiritual paths: an entire heading is inexplicably devoted to their "position" on the miniscule sect of "Messianic Judaism", where the tone switches momentarily from free-spirited liberality to a rather prim disapproval of groups "which actively target Jews for recruitment" and which use "deceptive practices" to present Christian teaching in a Jewish context. A rather curious stand for a movement whose leader proudly "integrated" his Catholic studies into a "unique" teaching being sold as Jewish, and whose recommended list is topped by a "Jewish" Center teaching Eastern pagan practices.]
3b. Arthur Waskow: One of the most active Aleph leaders is this rabbi who heads what could be called the Green JR contingent. Waskow shifts the mission of the Jewish people as "light to the nations" from spiritual revelation of the only G-d, to saving and healing the Earth-as-God. His manifesto is embodied in his article, "And the Earth is Filled with the Breath of Life". Waskow's "re-invention" of Judaism goes beyond the usual JR revisionism, in that it works retroactively back to the very origins of Torah. The ancient Temple offerings were not in obedience to the G-d of the Covenant, but in honor of a pantheistic Divinity: "The earth, the rain, the sun, the seed, and our work -- together, adam and adamah, the earth and human earthlings, grew this food. It came from the Unity of Life; so we give back some of it to that great Unity." The purpose of the Jewish people is indistinguishable from the purpose of humanity in general, which is to attain union with the universe: "For the universe to continue on this journey toward self-awareness, there needs to be a species capable of self-awareness - made up of individuals who can reflect upon their own selves, and also able as a species to reflect upon itself and to see itself as part of the Unity of the universe - on which it is also capable of reflecting. That is what it means to live in the Image of God." Throughout the article, Waskow's choice of pronouns for G-d is "It". [Compare all these elements with Bailey and the "Hierarchy" on the solution to "the Jewish problem". Waskow has apparently tried to address every Jewish "fault" named in NA literature.] Key NA concepts are used freely, such as "leaps" in cosmic and human evolution (using the imagery of a spiral), the idea that "earth is Spirit" and the equivalence of Jewish "renewal" with "transformation". The "idols" to be avoided by Jews are not foreign gods adored by the nations, but "mere carved-out pieces of the Whole, things of partial value that we elevate to ultimates," anything short of the impersonal "great Unity". Prayer is directed to the "mystery of allness in the world" - not to the G-d described by Abraham as "the most high God, Maker of heaven and earth." The covenantal signs of the Jewish people like the Sabbath and kosher dietary laws are reassigned as ways to "heal the planet".
Of special relevance is Waskow's liberal [mis]use of a central pillar of Judaism - the Shema - in order to retrofit Torah to Earth-worship: "For example, look at the second paragraph of the Sh'ma, the one that says, 'And if you act on Torah then the rain will fall, the rivers will run, and the earth will be fruitful and you will live well. And if you don't act on Torah, if you reject it, if you cut yourself off from this great harmony of earth, then the great harmony will cease to be harmony and will cut itself off from you... and you will perish from all this good adamah that you grew up with.'" (emphasis mine) [All Jews who know the Shema will recognize a certain artistic license being exercised here, despite its appearance as a direct quote. But Waskow goes beyond paraphrase to outright misquoting. Compare his caricature with the real Shema as translated in the Hertz Siddur (with my emphasis to highlight the removal of G-d): "If you listen diligently to My commandments which I command you this day, to love the L-rd your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, I will give the rain of your land in its season.... Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside, and serve other gods and worship them; and the anger of the L-rd be kindled against you, and He shut up the heavens, that there be no rain... and you perish quickly from off the good land which the L-rd gives you." (Deuteronomy 11:13-17) Such misquoting by an educated Jew like Waskow can only be deliberate. It is an attempt to hide the fact that Torah condemns Jewish "Renewal". The question then is: If Torah must be mutilated to lend support to this system, why doesn't JR just leave Torah behind - as they actually have among themselves? For whose benefit is this pretense of a Torah framework?]
If the "re-invention" of the Shema is not enough, consider the Torah account of Cain murdering Abel. Waskow's "renewal" process "transforms" it into an example of G-d as the failing Parent, whose love is so limited He "can respond fully to just one brother." Waskow invites us to "share Cain's initial anger at his 'parent's' favoritism" which so provoked poor Cain that he could not express it verbally; "only his face flushed with anger gave a hint - and in the story, God had no more clue to what that meant than did the teachers and parents of Littleton [site of a horrifying student-led massacre]." On a par with the worst parenting of today, G-d cannot listen to His offspring: "God asks Cain the right questions but does not wait for an answer. And God does not notice when there is no answer. He responds only with a sermon." But there is hope: "The Bible teaches that even God, or especially God, can learn from mistakes." ("Cain at Littleton", _Moment Magazine_, Aug. 1999) [Before dismissing Waskow as a frum fruitcake with only marginal influence, consider that he is named by the UN as one of 40 "Wisdom Keepers" of the world - quite a distinction in a global forum crawling with mystics of all religions.]
3c. Elat Chayyim Jewish Spiritual Retreat Center: As mentioned briefly already, Elat Chayyim's teaching staff includes masters in Eastern religions. Besides the yoga and Tai Chi masters, there is a leadership trainer who describes herself as a "faithful Jew and a passionate Buddhist", an astrologer, a "Jewish shaman", a Jungian psychotherapist, a Zen Master and a veteran sadhu (Hindu hermit). One yoga teacher works mainly with children. [Those who think that these children are not being indoctrinated, and that yoga can be practiced without pagan worship, need to do a little homework. See my comments above.] Another teacher authored a book about the "myths of Genesis". At least 17 of the 69 Elat teachers are dedicated to promoting pagan religion, New Age, or some other system which clearly rejects Torah boundaries, making the "Retreat Center" definitely "Spiritual" but hardly "Jewish". The main attraction is Reb Schachter-Shalomi himself, whose profile explains that his "belief in the universality of spiritual truth led him to study with Sufi Masters, Buddhist teachers, Native American elders, Catholic monks and humanistic" teachers. His position at the Naropa Institute is proudly included in his qualifications to teach at this "Jewish retreat center".
Besides Schachter-Shalomi's direct teaching, his influence is felt at Elat Chayyim through the fact that nearly half the teaching staff (31 of 69) are networked with him in some way - having been personally mentored by him and/or serving on his "Aleph" staff. Another notable entry is Rabbi Arthur Waskow, considered by many to be Schacter-Shalomi's equal in JR - here we are told of his title of "Wisdom Keeper" at the UN. [Since the UN is clearly promoting New Age "Wisdom", this title does not bode well for Jewish fans of Waskow... or even for Waskow himself, if he should come to realize what this "Wisdom" advocates for all Jews.] The spiritual reach of Elat Chayyim extends to Israel through seminars conducted there by at least 10 of these teachers; three of them are actually based in Israel. Last, but certainly not least, "orthodox" teachers Yitz and Blu Greenberg are both happy members of the Elat Chayyim teaching staff [see below for the significance of this fact].
3d. Rabbi Rami Shapiro: (yet another teacher at the Elat Chayyim Center) Until recently the head of the now-defunct Rasheit Institute for Jewish Spirituality, Shapiro now heads a kindred group, Metivta (see next entry), and has a new website, called "Simply Jewish", where his goal of "reinventing Judaism" features innovations like "ethical monotheism" redefined as pantheistic globalism: "The oneness of God necessitates our allegiance to one world, one race.... There can be no authentic Judaism that fails to recognize the essential unity of all things."
This rabbi takes yogic practices and TM philosophies into Jewish prayer, claiming he has discovered this common ground in Kabbalistic meditation. But the parallel becomes contrived when, for example, he teaches his disciples that "Kavvanah is focused attention whereby 'a person empties the mind of all thought and sees the self within the greater presence of the Divine.' (Maimonides)" [Whether or not such a quote from Rambam exists is an open question, since Shapiro gives no proper reference by which to check it. But he completely clashes with the mainstream Jewish concept of kavanah, described as the elimination of all exterraneous thought and the awareness of standing before the presence of G-d (Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin, _To Pray As a Jew_, p.19, emphasis mine.) Notice how radical a change is effected by editing the two lone words which I emphasized here. The subtle alteration would go undetected by Jews with a thin background in Judaism.] Shapiro also has no scruples about mistranslating key Hebrew phrases to insert NA notions; examples are "Ribbon shel Olam" [sic], normally meaning "Master" or "Lord" of the Universe, is changed here to an impersonal "Source of the Universe". For recommended reading on the discipline of musar (ethical conduct), Shapiro's first title is _Krishnamurti's Journal_, guidance from a Hindu who became a NA channel for Maitreya. (From "MINYAN", Soul Craft Directory, no longer available on-line). In his "Brief Introduction to Jewish Meditation" (same site), Shapiro calls the Amidah prayer a form of rabbinic "yoga", citing unspecified "rabbis" who taught that the custom of bowing was not to honor G-d but "loosened the spine and opened the body to the flow of divine energy" (a clear reference to the Hindu kundalini doctrine). The Hassidic teaching of avodah be-bittul is defined as "self-annihilation - a Jew is no longer a Jew", or even a human being. [Since I am not sure what Hassidism teaches about this, I hope some authority will contact me to either verify or refute Shapiro's claim.]
In his more recent teaching piece, "The Virtual Rebbe", Shapiro takes bolder steps in promoting NA teaching. He interprets the verse from Psalms, "Be still and know that I am God" in the literal first person: "...then you would know that 'I' -- the self that you are this very moment -- is a manifestation of God." Progressing from being just a manifestation, he soon says "we are God manifest in time and place", and from there moves to "all things in God as God". Not just all good and holy things, but even "evil is a manifestation of God". [Compare this with Rabbi Ari Kahn of Aish Ha-Torah: "Despite the fact that evil was created by God, it does not emanate from God... not part of God." Quote from Kahn's Parsha List, "Mi-Oray-Ha-Aish - Re'eh", Aug.22, 2000] "Real" evil, for Shapiro, happens not when we act unfaithfully to our G-d and fellow-man, but only "when we act in ways that disrupt unity... promote divisions." [Compare with Bailey's teaching that "separation is the greatest evil", and that Jews such as Rami Shapiro are its personification.] Yielding to the yetzer ha-rah (evil inclination) is nevertheless necessary for "balance" in "a healthy world". [This is diametrically opposed to Jewish teaching represented by Kahn, that the "balancing" which is achieved by the evil inclination is in choosing to resist and reject its "self-deception and destruction". But Shapiro is totally in line with Gnostic and Hindu principles of "balancing the light and dark sides of the cosmic force", which in NA cosmology is the essense of the "Luciferic initiation".] The most glaring departure from Jewish teaching is Shapiro's assertion that the classic Jewish concepts of "souls" and "an after-life" are "horribly misguided" notions spawned by our "fear of death". [Compare with Bailey's comments on this as one of the four "world problems".] As for Judaism itself, Shapiro proposes "five pillars" of uniquely Jewish concepts, which he promptly destroys by asserting that "all religions are equally false" and that "Krishna, Buddha,... Krishnamurti are no less my [spiritual] ancestors than Moses, Micah, Hillel and the Baal Shem Tov." Torah is demoted from G-d's words to "the evolving wisdom of the Jews", no more meaningful than his own dreams, which he says "I study... as I would a text of Torah."
3e. "Metivta Center for Contemplative Judaism": Located in Beverly Hills, California, Metivta is currently headed by Rabbi Rami Shapiro, but the organization was founded by Rabbi Jonathan Omer-Man, a member of the JR dialog delegation visiting the leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama. At the 1990 meeting in Dharamsala, Omer-Man expressed interest in the Buddhist "meditational practice known as 'deity-yoga', wherein the practitioner visualizes an aspect of divinity and then proceeds to identify with the mind-created deity." (from the diary of delegate Nathan Katz, published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Mar. 1, 1991) Not surprisingly, Metivta offers a curious selection of books for "contemplative Judaism": not only Kabbalah and "Jewish meditation", but a "Shambhala Guide" to Jewish mysticism. [The concept of Shambala is anything but Jewish.] We can see the networking effect, as the names Rami Shapiro (see above), Melinda Ribner (author of _New Age Judaism_) and David Zeller (head of "Yakar", an Israeli Jewish Renewal center) are recommended by Metivta - all of whom also happen to teach at Elat Chayyim (see above).
3f. _Tikkun Magazine_: Recent contributors to _Tikkun_ include many featured in this section, for example Rami Shapiro, Arthur Waskow and Blu Greenberg. The Editor, Michael Lerner, was ordained as a rabbi by Schachter-Shalomi, but even before that he was a JR enthusiast who authored _Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation_ [By equating this Jewish movement with the most popular NA buzzwords available, Lerner was not only acknowledging the nature of JR but code-signaling his personal credo as well.] In this book, Lerner follows Waskow's initiative in "renewing" Torah retroactively by observing that Abraham's supreme act of faith in the Akedah [offering up his son to G-d] was actually a delusion.
In their editorial statement on "Spirituality", _Tikkun_ reassures readers that they embrace the pure NA concept of "a recognition of the ultimate Unity of All Being" and a "world [that] is filled with a conscious spiritual energy". On the other hand, many established religions "have little to offer in the way of spirituality" except for the "renewal movements... and TIKKUN tries to support them all." Lerner's "synagogue" in San Francisco is dedicated to "build this kind of spirituality within the framework of traditional Jewish religious practice." However, his "community is not specifically a Jewish community... it supports all religous and all spiritual communities which identify with Emancipatory Sprituality as described in _Spirit Matters_." This refers to Lerner's book, released in June 2000; his vision of "emancipation" includes repudiating the "reactionary spirituality that is given to veiling women and circumcising men." (as quoted in the Kirkus Review of _Spirit Matters_, found on Amazon) [Since circumcising men is the primary "traditional Jewish religious practice", the earlier reassurance is less than reassuring....]
In an excerpt from _Spirit Matters_ posted on the _Tikkun_ website, we are told: "The inner change that we need most to make is to recognize ourselves as part of the Unity of all Being, manifesting the goodness and love of the universe." This is accomplished by meditation and prayer; useful resources to get us there are suggested, none of them from mainstream Judaism. As for the Jewish G-d (unmistakably identified by the Tetragrammaton), we are instructed to relate to Him as "the omnipresent possibility of possibility" or "the Force of Healing and Transformation." Again, learning resources are offered: among them _Awakening the Buddha Within_ and other Buddhist/Hindu publications, but not a single Jewish title. In fact, the only Jewish models cited in this 5-page sample as worth incorporating into _Tikkun's_ brand of "spirituality" are philanthropy (honored with a single reference) and hospitality (the only value which Lerner attaches to his Shabbat experiences).
Compare this approach with Lerner's "Founding Editorial Statement" in the Fall 1986 issue, and we can see how far _Tikkun_ has drifted from its initial commitment: "The pressure to be 'universalist' and to reject a particularistic identity 'in order to be taken seriously' is the major way that Jews were oppressed in the United States.... America offered a seductive deal: 'give up those elements in your identity that make you stand out and be different and we will let you fit into the society...' It is no longer clear why we should accept this offer." Editor Lerner promises here that for those Jews who are "uncomfortable in the presence of another Jew who is 'too Jewish'... Tikkun's Jewish articles will be a source of embarrassment." [Apparently the value of Jewish particularism could not compete with the subsequent "seductive deal" of prominence in NA circles. Now _Tikkun_ is an embarrassment to the same Jews Lerner once pledged to represent.]
4. Kabbalah as a NA Tool
The mystical side of orthodox Judaism is too complex for a complete analysis here. Suffice to say that Jewish Kabbalah has become a salad of gems mixed with impurities. This is the assessment of both the Torah and NA. From a Torah standpoint, what real insight there is to be found in Kabbalah is invariably based firmly on Tenach passages. They stand in contrast to questionable ideas which clash with basic Torah; these are not found in Tenach but are found in pagan religions. From the NA viewpoint, Jewish Kabbalah gets similarly mixed reviews, but for the opposite reason: its only value is found in teachings which are not Torah-based but are NA beliefs: reincarnation; soliciting help from angels, demons and departed human spirits; light and darkness, good and evil, uniting in balance to make "God"; self-induced trances resulting in visions or astral (out-of-body) travels; and harnessing of supernatural powers by pronouncing sacred names. [It is noteworthy that none of these can be supported by a clear (pashat or darash) Torah passage, while some are expressly forbidden; yet these are the best-known elements of Kabbalah among Jews today. The fact that these are accepted by so many otherwise knowledgeable Torah-keeping Jews, in spite of their dubious links to Torah, only weakens Jewish resistance to NA missionaries introducing other doctrines progressively farther from Torah.]
4a. There is an attitude among Kabbalists that a mekubal (Kabbalistic master) has spiritually advanced beyond the need to obey the above prohibitions in Torah, which are meant for the "average" Jew. [I confirmed this in dialog with an Israeli student from a family with a long line of respected mekubalim.] With the perceived freedom to explore the occult world, it is no wonder that anti-Torah concepts became integrated into Kabbalah. Helena Blavatsky had no difficulty locating quotes from Jews in the Kabbalistic tradition to show that they also admire Lucifer, aka Satan. For example, she repeats the "glowing" praises of "Kabalist" Eliphas Levi: "It (Satan) is that Angel who was proud enough to believe himself God; brave enough to buy his independence at the price of eternal suffering and torture; beautiful enough to have adored himself in full divine light; strong enough to still reign in darkness amidst agony, and to have made himself a throne out of this inextinguishable pyre." (Blavatsky quoting from Eliphas Levi, _Historie de la Magie, p.16-17, _The Secret Doctrine_ II, p.506)
The same admiration for this "Dragon of Wisdom" was celebrated in the destructive heresies of Sabbetai Zevi and the Frankists, which are thriving today in the form of the "Donmeh" whose well-educated members effortlessly connect nihilism (the benefits of destruction), Luciferian elements ("the Holy Serpent" and "The Treatise on the Dragons") and Gnostic teaching with Sabbatean and Lurianic Kabbalah. The blend harmonizes nicely with Blavatsky's teachings, particularly about the Serpent as God (_Secret Doctrine_, p.215.) As a curious side note, "Donmeh" leader Yakov Leib haKohain insists that Jewish Renewal springs directly from Sabbatean practice, and scoffs at JR leaders for "inventing a wheel for which there is already a 300 year old patent, while loudly congratulating themselves for their brilliant discoveries." ("Jewish Renewal, Hermetic Cabala, and Sabbatai Zevi", on the Donmeh website)
4b. The Kabbalistic doctrine of reincarnation is possibly the single most useful inroad into Judaism for NA. Consider the recent assertion by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (a former Chief Rabbi of Israel and a haredi leader with a huge Israeli following) that the six million Jewish Holocaust victims were reincarnated sinners sent into the Nazi death machine to pay for their past-life sins (_Jerusalem Post_, Aug.11, 2000). [The resemblance to Bailey's own pronouncement is either the coincidence of the year or impressive evidence of NA infiltration into orthodox thought. It is interesting that several response articles in the _Post_, emphasized the lack of Torah, Mishnaic or Talmudic foundation for the doctrine of reincarnation. I confirmed this in dialog with several Kabbalist students, who remained strangely undisturbed by this lack of support.] However, _Post_ columnist Amotz Asa-El's denial that reincarnation ever entered mainstream Judaism is clearly wishful thinking, considering the stature of the rabbi which prompted his commentary. And contrary to claims that only Sephardic (oriental) Judaism is prone to accepting Eastern influences, Chabad of California publishes a well-written and attractive magazine circulated worldwide among nonreligious Jews, and features articles which credit Kabbalah with the Hindu doctrine that "in future incarnations, we can fall to the vegetational life of trees or even the inanimate life of stones." ("Does a Stone Have a Soul?", by Laibl Wolf, _Farbringen_, Spring 1999)
4c. Why NA Loves Kabbalah: NA spokesmen applaud Jewish teachers for recently releasing Kabbalah from the restricted access imposed on it by past generations of Jewish sages, for making its teachings available to all (Jewish and non-Jewish alike), and especially for encouraging free exploration without rabbinic supervision. Even orthodox Jewish teachers of Kabbalah are hailed by NA as partners who are furthering the Plan. Whether they are deliberate or unwitting partners, it is anticipated that the results will be the same. Why? Because the freedom surrounding Kabbalah today has created an unguarded passageway between NA and Judaism, discarding the last shreds of orthodox Jewish discipline and Torah framework, and allowing the introduction of "new" guides who do not need Jewish community approval. Kabbalistic teachers can now include outright NA disciples, identifiable by their lack of concern for a Jewish frame of reference; the spiritism (contact with disembodied spirits) in Kabbalah is sufficient for achieving their goal of getting as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, into the spirit realm where the "Ascended Masters of the Hierarchy" await. The ultimate NA goal is to gain full control of Kabbalah in the Jewish community, taking it through successive "transformations" until it is finally severed from all links with the Torah, thus "recovering" its "purity". The many Jews who are captivated by Kabbalah [and who, like my above-mentioned friends, are not bothered by the absence of Torah links] will be led away from Torah with ease.
While in the past most Jews hotly contested the idea that Kabbalah had any kinship with New Age, some Jews are now promoting the idea that Jewish Kabbalah really does affirm NA teaching [which would imply either a gross ignorance of NA teaching and/or Kabbalah, or a knowledge of their commonality which escapes the average Jew]. This view is reflected in a book published in April 2000 by a Jewish company; its author actually proposes that Judaism take the credit for today's NA teaching: "Many people will be surprised to find that Judaism is fundamentally aligned with what we think of as the New Age. Many of the things we associate with the New Age are not new but are part of Kaballah." (cover text, _New Age Judaism_, published by Simcha Press). The only kind of "Judaism" which could "fundamentally" agree with NA is the Renewal kind, and predictably, both author and publisher turn up elsewhere in Schachter's Jewish Renewal orbit.
[This would be a good place to demonstrate how a concerned researcher can use the network effect to uncover hidden NA foundations. This book with its full title, _New Age Judaism - Ancient Wisdom for the Modern World_, has a seemingly positive goal: to show that Judaism already possesses what New Age religion offers, therefore Jews need not leave Judaism. However, the first thing we note is that it was written by Jewish Renewal teacher Melinda Ribler. Although her mentor, the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, recommends her as someone "who never forgets there is one God", and although she claims the endorsement of unnamed "prominent Orthodox rabbis", Ribler is on the faculty of the very unorthodox Elat Chayyim Center, whose curriculum clearly rejects any "one God" idea - except in the sense that He/It is everything. We also find Ribler's book promoted by the similarly eclectic Metivta Center. Moving one step behind this scene, we discover is that "Simcha Press", the Jewish-sounding publisher of Ribler's book whose official specialty is "Jewish spirituality", is actually a brand-new (June 2000) subsidiary of "Health Communications, Inc." Taking one more step backstage, we identify HCI as a "a full-service medical education and communications company... publishers of _The International Journal of Drugs, Devices and Diagnostic Research_". This seems strange after Simcha describes them as "publishing books in the realm of personal growth", a NA code signal. We probe further. Upon entering the HCI on-line bookstore, among the links we notice a tiny word: "Spiritual". Clicking there, we see the books offered by HCI include titles like _The Tao of the Ride_ and _Wings of Soul: Releasing Your Spiritual Identity_; featured are personalities like the Luciferian Barbara Marx Hubbard, billed as one of "the most brilliant thinkers" of today, and Hindu author Kauthilya, "the Aristotle and Machiavelli of India". Sampling one HCI book, _Golden Eggs: Spiritual Wisdom for Birthing Our Lives_, we find ourselves coming full circle, with the authors urging us to follow Carl Jung, Barbara Marx Hubbard and other teachers of "personal and global transformation"; by the end of Chapter One, the book has become nothing more than a hymn of praise to the gnostic goddess Sophia. Our possible conclusions: (a) The author of _New Age Judaism_, its publisher, the mother company and its market have all failed to notice that Ribler's orientation and book diametrically oppose the other "wisdom books" being promoted here. (b) Ribler, a well-meaning but naive Jewish writer is being used to lend legitimacy to HCI's new Jewish division. She is also being used by Metivta, Elat Chayyim and Jewish Renewal in general, while she herself is totally unaware that she is spiritually out of step with all her colleagues. (c) Ribler, Simcha Press, HCI and I are all assuming this book to be totally in harmony with NA idolatry. The only people fooled by the "Jewish" title, the "Jewish" publisher and the "orthodox" endorsements are the unsuspecting Jewish browsers at the Jerusalem International Book Fair where Simcha Press has a table.]
4d. The Kabbalah Centre and Rabbi Philip ("Shraga") Berg: As the most controversial promotor of Jewish Kabbalistic teaching, yet possibly the most successful, the Kabbalah Centre (KC) deserves a detailed report. The Centre has been strongly denounced as a dangerous cult by the Task Force on Cults and Missionaries (See "The Truth about the Kabbalah Centre" published by the LA branch). The orthodox community of Toronto, where KC headquarters are located, declared a harem on Berg (divorced him from community involvement). Unethical conduct and fraud, manipulation and violent intimidation, cultlike exploitation, hard-sell tactics and profit margins of up to 500% are included in the charges from different branches of the Task Force on Cults and Missionaries, Jews for Judaism and other community cult-fighters. According to the Los Angeles Task Force on Cults, some of his quotes from the Talmud and the Zohar are also fictitious. So is his "Yeshivah Kol Yehuda in the U.S." which he claims to head (reportedly an attempt to pose as a branch of a respected Jerusalem yeshivah by the same name). The KC was banned in South Africa by the Chief Rabbi and Rabbinical Association; but Canadian Rabbi Emanuel Schochet, who was instrumental in bringing this about, found himself being sued by the KC in Canada for libel as a result. Other rabbinical councils (possibly intimidated by R. Schochet's ordeal) have contented themselves with simply posting public warnings about Berg. Leading Kabbalists in Israel such as Rabbi Ovadia Yosef have reportedly joined in denouncing his conduct and teachings.
As a sort of response to all the above, the KC official website lists as one of the FAQs the question of why there is so much rabbinic opposition to them. [At least, they did until recently. The entire FAQ section has disappeared from their newly revamped site. Links are to copies in my private archive.] Their answer is revealing: Every pioneer bringing "positive and profound change" to human "civilization" has met with resistance; "the establishment" simply doesn't appreciate them. [This hints that their mission is not to affirm Jewish tradition but to challenge and "transform" it, for which they are willing to suffer persecution.] Yet in spite of rabbinic opposition, Berg has managed to amass a small fortune - in 1989 he registered a net worth of $9.6 million, with net gains of $6.1 million and gross profits of $2.5 million from sales of the 24-volume _Zohar_ ...at the New York Centre alone. New branches are springing up every year. Besides Toronto, the KC now has branches in the U.S. (NYC - Queens and Manhattan, Chicago, LA, Las Vegas, San Diego, San Fernando Valley, Philadelphia, North Miami, Boca Raton) and in Mexico City, Paris, Sao Paulo (Brazil), London, Santiago (Chile) and Buenos Aires (Argentina). Not to mention four branches in Israel (Tel Aviv, Haifa, Tiberias, Jerusalem).
But our main interest in this report is KC's teaching about Kabbalah itself, which strongly follows NA thought. According to the KC website, their brochures [I have one in Hebrew] and their salespeople [I have met two at my door], studying Kabbalah brings life-changing benefits on all levels: cures for any illness, domestic harmony, wealth, career success, relief from emotional problems, spiritual enlightenment, answers to all life's questions, supernatural powers, divination of the future, elimination of war and hatred. Actually, Kabbalah is just another spiritual path which unlocks one's limitless human potential: "It is important to understand that the spiritiual [sic] knowledge of our universe is already known within our souls. The act of learning Kabbalah is merely the instrument that stirs and awakens this knowledge from within us." [from the FAQ] Not only that, but the KC is not even about Kabbalah really: "Unfortunately, division and separation does cause severe damage. Once again, the sole purpose of The Kabbalah Center is to remove these negative and destructive barriers and to look for ways to unite." (from the website FAQ, emphasis mine) This single-minded determination to end "separation" [commanded by G-d for the Jews but forbidden in the NA] comes from, of all places, Kabbalah itself: "Kabbalah teaches us that unity can only occur through diversity."
To benefit from the KC's "unity found in diversity" [a clear code phrase mentioned in the FAQ and used by NAers everywhere], participants need not accept Judaism. Torah and the mitzvot are optional and need not enter the equation at all. Berg's students, Jews and non-Jews alike, may come from any spiritual background, absorb whatever they find useful at his Centre (for a hefty fee), and continue on the spiritual path of their choice. In every city where KC has offices, the _Zohar_ is sold door-to-door by Berg disciples, without regard for whether the buyer is a Jew or non-Jew, monotheist or pagan (In Israel, the sales efforts range far beyond the immediate vicinity of their offices). Berg admits that most students (and some teachers) cannot even read Hebrew, but no matter. Not only is basic Torah study not required, or identification with Judaism, but one doesn't even need to read and understand the _Zohar_ itself - just staring blankly at it by day and putting it under your pillow at night will bring you spiritual fulfillment. This is Berg's interpretation of "open study of Kabbalah," and he cites Kabbalists such as Rabbi Abraham Azulay for support. He could have also cited Kabbalists Sabbatai Zevi and Jakob Frank, as the Task Force article observes.
And what is Berg's personal commitment to orthodox Judaism, which he says he embraces? "Judaism is not concerned with conforming to a strict religious way of life [involving] certain ritual tasks. On the contrary, the goal is to connect to metaphysical forces through which we can fulfill our Desire to Receive.... To say that a particular deed or action is 'halachically incorrect' is not to say that one is doing wrong, is not an observant Jew or is not fitting into the mainstream of Judaism. We are merely making the observation that the particular action in question is not properly connecting with the energy pattern available to it." (_The Kabbalah Connection_, p.43,44) Thus the object of Berg's "Jewish" worship moves from G-d to the familiar NA "forces", and "Jewish" conduct becomes an issue of energy alignment rather than obedience to Divine commands. As for the Torah, its purpose is to "completely fulfill all our needs" - and the _Zohar_ is its magic charm. Berg dismisses out of hand the Torah references to G-d rewarding those who do good and punishing those who do evil: "We are taught from childhood [this idea]. Never believe it." (_The Wheels of the Soul_, p.46) [Compare this with Bailey's call to rid the world of this and other "primitive" ideas, as well as the call by NA educators to shed our poisonous childhood teachings.] Freed from the Torah prohibitions against divination and communing with the dead, Berg is accustomed to using astrology and seances as often as Torah and _Zohar_ to "counsel" his disciples.
5. Undermining Orthodox Judaism From Within
In contrast to the above mutants of Judaism which are self-proclaimed breakers and re-makers of Torah, this segment deals with leaders and groups who claim (and are believed by many) to be working for change within the parameters of Torah. While Jewish Renewal rabbis will identify themselves as "post-denominational" or "flexidox", this group will unflinchingly say "orthodox Jew". It takes patient probing to peel off the public image and the "kosher" teachings, revealing where their inner loyalties lie.
[Separating the Baby from the Bathwater: Under these conditions, misjudgments are easy in either direction: to mistake fifth columns for pillars of the community - or the opposite. The key is to make a distinction between legitimate protest and covert sabotage. It's entirely proper to say that Judaism can benefit from changes in ways permitted by Jewish law, and to point out the many options which are not being utilized. It's also right and necessary to criticize areas of Judaism which have deviated from Torah, with the intent of bringing Jewish practice more in line with both the letter and spirit of the commandments. But it's quite another thing to say that Judaism can benefit by "freeing itself" from the Torah.]
[Some orthodox factions view any criticism of today's orthodox Judaism as subversive - any demand for change is a sinister plot, and any exposure of corrupt leadership is a betrayal. This attitude ignores both the message of the entire Tenach (which obligates small and great to the same standards of righteousness) and the historical development of Judaism itself (which has periodically changed to reflect new situations and disagreements among the sages). In fact, I submit that it is this orthodox refusal to clean house which has alienated so many Jews from the Torah community, and has allowed NA to become so overpopulated with Jewish disciples. Leaders who deny real sins in the orthodox world think they are protecting the reputation of Torah Judaism, but they are actually harming it. Not only are they failing to deal with malpractice of Torah which is to blame for those sins, but pretending that the community's Torah-keeping is above reproach gives credibility to the NA claim that it is Torah itself which is to blame for those sins. They are driving honest, disillusioned Jews into the arms of the NA infiltrators named below, for example in dealing with the "orthodox feminist movement". Perhaps some of the NA infiltrators themselves have embraced NA transformation in reaction to the see-no-evil attitude of orthodox leadership. If so, they are Jews who can perhaps be brought to repentance, but only after orthodox Judaism repents and stops excusing its own Torah-breakers.]
Following are some influential leaders and organizations identifying with orthodox Judaism, who are actually working for the "liberation" of Judaism from the confines of the Torah. [The real tip-off is when the supposedly "kosher" names keep turning up in organizations diametrically opposed to what orthodox Judaism stands for. Another tip-off is the recurrence of well-known NA phrases repeated by ostensibly orthodox Jews. This throwing about of phrases is a recognized method of "networking" and "code-signaling" among NA "change agents" who are trying to avoid public detection while communicating with one another. If the collusion is energetic and the pool of NA leaders is relatively small - the situation we have in the Jewish community - it produces what I call the network effect: the same handful of names and phrases keep turning up in an unexpected variety of places and contexts, signaling a covert connection. Earlier, I showed how the network effect can be used to spot NA missionaries in the Jewish community. The effect is even stronger in the smaller orthodox community.]
5a. Rabbi Irving ("Yitz") and Blu Greenberg: No other "change agents" can match the credibility and influence attained in the orthodox community by this husband-wife team. Between them are so many credentials, chairmanships, speaking tours and books that an entire section could be devoted to them. [We'll have to settle for a small sample.]
The main thing worthy of the reader's attention is the strategy employed by both Greenbergs. When speaking in the orthodox world, they themselves stick to statements which are sometimes daring but always kept within boundaries acceptable to orthodoxy. As a result, they are viewed as representing the orthodox community in many Jewish frameworks, including Bnai Brith, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Hadassah and various university courses on Judaism. For an example of Blu's "kosher" statements, one can pick up one of her excellent books, _How to Run a Jewish Household_, or read her statements as President of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. When speaking to a wider, more receptive audience, however, they hint at their agenda but take care to use terminology which cannot be pinned down as subversive. In time-honored NA fashion, they use ambiguous code words which are interpreted in different ways by initiated and uninitiated listeners. Examples are seen in the context of "dialog" with the Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama. [This purposeful ambiguity used by many "change agents" is exemplified in the NA universal prayer, "The Great Invocation".] Clearer hints of the Greenbergs' NA sympathies are found in those leading the organizations they have founded and still help to steer - while the well-groomed and charismatic personalities are publicly promoting NA teaching, Blu and Yitz remain nearly invisible in a background supportive role.
[Watch for this methodology used by others, which is tremendously successful in preserving an image of respected orthodox leadership. Don't just analyze their public pronouncements - check the views of the editors whose magazines feature their articles, the philosophies of the educational facilities inviting them to lecture, the beneficiaries of the fundraisers they attend, whose Boards they serve on. If you find mutually exclusive identities being silently supported by the same person, you can suspect either a NA infiltrator or someone about to be humiliated by his/her own naivete. There are cases where a respected name in the community is recruited for simple PR value, and he/she lends support based on a superficial review of an enterprise which seems to have good references. Community leaders, please take personal responsibility to check the affiliations and worldviews of a group before you let them use your good name. It is no longer enough to know that some other reputable leader has endorsed them - for all you know, your colleague may be totally relying on the endorsement which preceded his... and so on... back to the "change agent" who benefits from all of you!]
The best evidence of the Greenbergs' true inner orientation is the ease with which they team up with overt NA leaders and organizations: they seem to see no problem with teaching, writing and otherwise working for the success of enterprises totally at variance with monotheism - not to mention orthodox Judaism. Only on rare occasions are they found "slipping": personally espousing views that would be considered heretical by the orthodox community. Such stray quotes are not given wide coverage. An example is one of Blu's comments in the _Genesis_ PBS TV series, where like Arthur Waskow she "re-invents" Torah: for her, the Flood "story is not about the accountability of human beings." Rather, "God was a perfectionist. In desperation, God would rather destroy His creation than accept it as less than perfect." (The entire statement is quoted with approval by an obscure Episcopalian vicar, but is not found at the _Genesis_ website where Blu's quotes on that episode are recorded.) Another example is her following statement in a BBC radio interview which was apparently never transcribed.
5b. The "Orthodox Feminist" movement: BBC's World Service radio program, "Focus on Faith" (Feb. 20, 1997), featured Blu Greenberg in an interview [this was the first time I heard of her or her husband]. She was already known as a prolific writer, guest speaker and prominent spokesperson for orthodox women, but she was identified here only as "the wife of an orthodox rabbi" [which was all I knew about her when writing my original article, "Masters of the Blinding Light"]. The topic was an upcoming International Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy, a forum on "women's equality in the context of Jewish law." Greenberg was advocating wider participation in synagogue prayers, a greater teaching role and other modest reforms. A minute later she was heard to say that because the Torah contains laws that "foster male domination and portray a masculine God... it's time to ask if the Torah is divine after all." [It's hard to imagine why someone who doubts this central pillar of orthodox Judaism would remain in it, except to enlist support from those inside to remove the offending pillar.] As it turned out, Greenberg's Feminist Conference itself drew more fire from the mainstream orthodox community than her anti-Torah statement on the BBC. [Either that, or none heard that broadcast except myself. Unfortunately, I was told by the BBC's Religious Programming Department that a transcript was not available. After a survey of Greenberg's public statements, I have concluded that this was a rare occurrence for her, and was possibly a comment to the reporter not even meant for inclusion in the broadcast.]
A sampling of the Jewish press covering the Feminist Conference indicates that Jewish leaders who sensed something was wrong did not dig deep enough to discover the NA roots. Controversy remained at the surface, revolving around the various proposals tabled for female community leadership (some halachically prohibited and some not). Even at that level, rebuttals from the orthodox leadership were hasty, contradictory, and appeared to be less concerned with Jewish women's needs than with justifying the status quo, right or wrong. [A condition I noted earlier - perfect for the agenda of NA "change agents". I would suggest that NA missionaries noted this achilles heel in orthodox Judaism years ago, and planned how to exploit the standard defensive reaction which fears to acknowledge any shortcomings.] Through articles bearing titles like "Seeking to Silence Women" (_The Jewish Week_, Mar. 7, 1997) and "Ban on Women's Prayer Groups" (_Daily News Bulletin_, Feb. 5, 1997), the orthodox feminists were portrayed as a second-class group challenging an inflexible power clique which is too threatened to even implement reforms permitted by Jewish law. The Rabbinical Council of Queens made matters even worse when they issued a hasty ruling only to change it a few months later, and then justified the "mistake" of their earlier ruling by pleading ignorance concerning the discontent among orthodox women: "We looked at this as a local issue. We never dreamt it would be an international cause." ("Queens Rabbis Affirm Ban", _The Jewish Week_, Mar. 7, 1997)
Closer to the heart of the matter, haredi (ultra-orthodox) writer Levi Reisman ("Feminism - A Force That Will Split Orthodoxy?", _The Jewish Observer_, May 1998, p.37) astutely recognized the potential danger in this movement to erase vital Torah boundaries. Yet he gives similarly mixed signals by trying to blacklist feminism across the board: denying any halachic support for various proposals to expand female leadership, while dismissing each [non-existent] halachic support as either a minority opinion, or a temporary endorsement later retracted, or just irrelevant. But to his credit, Reisman notes that any orthodox traditions which tend to "diminish" women are not in keeping with true halachah (Jewish law); he urges, "We need to communicate this message not only to our women but to our men as well." He also agrees with the feminist charge that minyanim (quorums for public prayer) are not easily available to women, and criticizes women's sections in orthodox synagogues as "too often cramped, uncomfortable and totally isolated". [I add to this my own discovery that some synagogues in Israel have no women's section.] He cites with approval two haredi synagogues which responded to the feminist challenge by prompting finding creative solutions for their own women. [If enough orthodox leaders would follow suit, as well as crack down on abusive husbands and other Torah-breakers in matters relating to women, the "orthodox feminist" cause would lose much of its appeal for Torah-observant women.]
Having gotten the message that change was not forthcoming from the Torah sages, observant Jewish women came flocking to Greenberg's call to initiate change themselves. The first Feminist Conference expected 300-400 participants and were overwhelmed by over 1000; a year later, Feb. 1998, the second Conference planned for 1400 and over 2000 women showed up. Moreover, the original backing by a handful of orthodox leaders was supplemented the second year by prominent names like Dr. Mandell Ganchrow (President of the Orthodox Union kashrut authority), Rabbis Haskel Lookstein (Cong. Kehilath Jeshurun), Adam Mintz (Lincoln Square) and Shlomo Riskin (Efrat, Israel). Their support seemed only to confirm Blu Greenberg's comment, "We're part of the mainstream now." ("Orthodox Feminists Move From Fringes", _JTA_, Feb. 17, 1998) The formation of a new "Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance" was a direct result, and response has been strong and multi-national. So far, rabbinic leaders in the opposition have failed to offer an alternative, and in some cases have further betrayed the trust placed in them, compounding the dilemma for women who want to remain submitted to rabbinic authority. A case in point is the open letter to haredi criminal Rabbi Aryeh Deri, written by influential orthodox writer Naomi Ragen: "The noted rabbis who stood beside you at the prison gates, blessing you and comparing you to [Biblical] Joseph, undermined any reason for women to continue honoring a partriarchy whose male leadership behaves so disgracefully." ("Hiding Behind the Torah", _Jerusalem Post_, Sep.8, 2000) [How sad that this writer, whose novels always portray both the negative and the positive of haredi life, is so provoked by rabbinic whitewashing of a convicted Torah-breaker that she plays right into feminist hands, actually supporting the NA agenda to dismantle orthodox Judaism. How sad that no response was published to answer her reasonable challenge. The NA missionaries win this round by default.]
In the midst of all the smoke and noise over whether women have adequate opportunity within today's Orthodox Judaism to express their (feminine) Jewishness, nearly all of the community is missing the more covert [and far more destructive] "orthodox feminist" agenda. Blu Greenberg only hints at this larger program, commenting that the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance "plans to network with women from Judaism's other denominations", from whom she says "I learn a tremendous amount." ("Successful Conference Spawns New Orthodox Feminist Alliance", Jewish Telegraph Agency, Jul. 3, 1997) Blu does not elaborate on how she deals the goals of those other Jewish feminists which are militantly hostile to orthodox Judaism. But the organization founded and still guided by husband Yitz Greenberg, CLAL, promotes these anti-Torah goals in their "Encore" archival collection. An example is "Feminism: Giving Birth to a New Judaism", a 1981 essay published in the 1990s by CLAL and promoted in 2000 on their website. In it, feminist Martha Ackelsberg shares a "new vision" of a "Judaism" purged from the "patriarchal" and "sexist" language of "traditional Jewish liturgy" [Since nearly all traditional Jewish liturgy quotes directly from the Torah, Prophets or Writings, the offensive Bible will have to go also.] The "New Judaism" must reject "the image of God expressed in it [this liturgy, and by extension, Torah] and the relationship between God and the people of Israel conveyed through it" as similarly tainted. Ackelsberg emphasizes that a sexless translation of Hebrew prayers will not suffice [certainly not for those who pray in Hebrew, where gender is unmistakable...]; it will take nothing less than "new modes of religious expression which incorporate the femaleness of God", and eventually "a liturgy which can address a genderless, non-personal God." [Thus, the efforts of the Greenbergs combine to promote an "alliance" in which Orthodox Jewish women are encouraged to "network with" and "learn from" visionaries of a "new Judaism" that is neither new nor Judaism. Either Blu and Yitz are living light-years apart spiritually and never noticed, or we have here a masterful smokescreen for NA infiltration which has fooled thousands of earnest Torah-observant women - and a few good rabbis as well. Even those who have challenged the orthodox feminist movement have failed to realize the true nature of the threat they are confronting.]
Orthodox-Buddhist "dialog": Assuming that the participants and rabbinic backers of the Orthodox Feminist Conferences are aware of the interfaith dialog which Blu and Yitz Greenberg are maintaining with Tibetan Buddhist leaders, they may have accepted it as the Greenbergs present it: mutual encouragement of two peoples dealing with exile. But the fact that the rest of the dialog team is solidly in the JR (Jewish Renewal) camp reveals that the real agenda is that of Zalman Schachter-Shlomi: to "renew" Judaism and make it "relevant" to modern society by incorporating Buddhism into Jewish thought. The documentary film, "The Jew in the Lotus" (written by Roger Kamenetz, directed by Laura Chiten, winner of the Outstanding Personal Vision Award at the 1998 New England Film Festival), shows the Greenbergs standing with Reb Zalman as "Jewish Renewal icons" (from a review at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, July 7, 1998). Kamenetz also documents ("Partners in Exile", World Tibet Network News, Dec. 27, 1999) some of what Yitz Greenberg shared with the Dalai Lama when the Buddhist leader asked for the secret of Jewish survival: "The reinvention of Judaism by the rabbis [who] changed it from a temple-based cult to a religion of memory." This answer sums up the main rationale of the JR movement for claiming the right to "reinvent" Judaism once again.
[But read that quote again. Whereas JR is known for discarding orthodoxy, Greenberg as an ostensibly "orthodox" rabbi is presenting a version of rabbinic history which defies explanation. The first flaw here is that the rabbinic prayers are not merely "in memory" of the Temple cult, but explicitly look forward to a complete and literal reinstatement of Temple-based worship. The second is that Judaism as a "religion of memory" was not a rabbinic "reinvention" but was mandated as far back as Sinai - or at the Exodus if we consider the "memorial" of Passover. More basic than either of these, the Torah states continually that it is G-d who is the secret of Jewish survival - the only Reason why the Jews outlived those dark times when we not only neglected our "religion of memory", but we made a religion out of trying to forget! How awful that instead of the amazing truth, an inquiring non-Jewish religious leader received an answer from an "orthodox rabbi" which cannot even stand up to the facts of basic Judaica, let alone explain the mystery of Jewish longevity. But most relevant to our examination is the serious question of Yitz Greenberg's right to call himself either "orthodox" or "rabbi".]
Another account of the same interfaith meeting presents an interesting contrast. Nathan Katz, a dialog team member who kept a journal (briefly mentioned above) of this 1999 encounter, expresses misgivings which one would expect from an orthodox Jew (he identifies himself only as a "committed Jew"). Among the things that he challenges is the delegation's answer to the Dalai Lama's question about Jewish survival (offered mainly by Greenberg, quoted above). Katz: "One idea was being overlooked, I offered, the belief that G-d's providence ensured Jewish survival." He writes that Schachter-Shalomi did not respond directly, except to mention a need to answer "how" the Jews survived (origin) as well as "why" they did (purpose). [This non-answer was apparently to pacify Katz rather than to enlighten the Buddhist leader, who never did hear about G-d's role in Jewish survival. Nathan writes three days later: "Listening to the Dalai Lama talk about us, one gets the impression that we Jews survived by an act of will."] Another astute observation was the dilemma posed by the Dalai Lama's customary title, "Your Holiness", which Katz feels can "imply that he is divinity, an idea which would compromise an observant Jew." Katz, recognized as a "scholar of South Asian religions including Tibetan Buddhism", was drawing on a well-informed background. He notes that a "discussion" of this issue took place, but although he records the Greenbergs' apprehension over how to keep kashrut (dietary laws) in such a venue, no worry on their part is mentioned over possibly idolatrous titles. Witnessing the spectacle of orthodox Jewish intercourse with a foreign religion brought Katz to muse: "This sort of dialog must raise issues of avodah zarah", a term meaning worship forbidden in the Torah - although Katz only knows it as "a derogatory term meaning 'other people's worship'". Katz knows that this is "something to be avoided by observant Jews. Is Tibetan Buddhism avodah zarah, or is it another name of G-d?" This was properly a question for the Greenbergs to grapple with, but apparently Katz was the only one troubled by the possibility. In fact, even Hinduism posed no conflict for the "observant Jews" in the group; a Jew turned Hindu guru completed their minyan (minimum quorum) for synagogue prayers.
The only real confrontation came over the great numbers of Jews leaving Judaism to join Tibetan Buddhism. But again, the one who spoke up was not the orthodox rabbi or rebbetzin, but the academic expert Katz. And, speaking "on behalf of us all", his complaint was not that Jews were being compromised in their covenant with their own G-d, but that "we suffer from a brain drain on a community level." It was the Dalai Lama who returned the issue to a spiritual level, where it belonged. His response began with a recommendation for Judaism to imitate Buddhism, but he ended with a challenge to basic Torah Judaism to prove itself: "If you have these spiritual values [as we do], then there is no reason to fear; if you have no such values, then there is no reason to hold on." In other words, if Judaism is spiritually satisfying, Jews should feel no need to tack on pieces of another religion. If not, then it would be better just to abandon Judaism for a more satisfying religion. Then, with keen insight into the fatal flaw of Jewish Renewal, he added: "If you cannot provide spiritual satisfaction to others and at the same time insist on holding on to them, then that is foolishness." If Judaism is not adequate as itself, all attempts to "renew" it as a way to keep Jews at home will fail. Why hold people to something that has failed them? Why not let them move on to pure Buddhism? [According to Bailey's spirit guide, Buddhism is indeed scheduled to replace Judaism, and even become aggressive in supplanting other religions.]
"CLAL - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership": This organization was founded by Yitz Greenberg in 1974, ostensibly to reach out to marginal Jews and bring them into a Jewish framework. In reality, CLAL is busy doing the opposite: breaking down the historical Jewish framework in order to include the NA spirituality which the marginal Jews have accepted. The key question would be: Is CLAL engaged in naive compromise to appeal to all tastes, or deliberate efforts to undermine traditional Judaism? We have a pointed answer from CLAL, set apart in its own paragraph for added emphasis: "Transformation has always been integral to CLAL's mission." (CLAL Update, Fall 1997) [Watch as we run into some of the most popular "blinds", or code words used in NA. By repeating terms like "transformation", "higher wisdom", "new era" and "new paradigm" - terms foreign to Jewish thought but basic to NA teaching - the "change agents" are signaling their presence to other like-minded colleagues. The unitiated, meanwhile, take the phrases at face value and translate them based on their own definitions.] The CLAL faculty affirms that "the Eternal Torah means not the 'Never Changing Torah', but rather the 'Eternal, Never-Stopping Revelation'... a Higher Wisdom, an Ultimate Wisdom, is 'out there,' like the radio waves that fill the cosmos. We only need to 'tune in'." (Rabbi Natan Margalit, "New Paradigms for Revelation", CLAL Spotlight, July 1998) [Orthodox Jews will to be shocked to hear that the Torah entrusted to us at Sinai is in perpetual flux, and that G-d is composed of impersonal, unfeeling waves of energy floating "out in the cosmos". But New Agers will nod in agreement.] Yitz Greenberg handed the reins of CLAL to his disciple Irwin Kula in 1997, but he continues his mission of "mentoring emerging rabbinic leaders in our CLAL Fellowship Program." (Update)
The current President of CLAL, Rabbi Irwin Kula, is proud to acknowledge Rabbi Greenberg as his mentor. Kula, described in the 1997 CLAL Update as a talented speaker who "dazzled" his audience, is firmly in support of Jews who are "redefining Judaism", because "the 'journey' into the future has 'different roadmaps' for different Jews." (interview with Jewish Telegraph Agency, "Focus on Issues", Nov. 18, 1997) In a definitive article called "Jewishness in a New Era: Continuity, Discontinuity or Transformation?", Kula dismisses community worries about a crisis of lost Jewish identity; what Jewish leaders take for assimilation is merely "normalization of the Jewish condition". Today's Jews, he says, have merely switched their "modes of expression": from the "institutions and practices created in another era" to a shedding of "boundary-maintaining Jewish behaviors" which no longer make sense. Not that Jews have "become like everyone else", but they are finding "new forms that are appropriate to their full and equal participation in a broader human community." And what are CLAL's red lines in the "re-imagining of Jewishness"? There are none - not from Torah or even from CLAL itself: "The assumption that any one of us knows exactly what it is that needs to be preserved from the past becomes problematic. A new context inevitably will demand far-reaching changes in the very nature of Jewishness." How far-reaching? As far as creating "new kinds of Jewish community that are more attuned to the era in which we live." In a nutshell, whatever practice or principle in Judaism is "too circumscribed for this new era in Jewish history", we are free to trash if we want - actually, the new era "will demand" it.
Like Yitz Greenberg, for justification Kula points to the rabbinic cancellation of animal sacrifices after the Temple's destruction. He smoothly draws the parallel: the forced abandonment of that practice due to calamity is just like today's wholesale abandonment of the 4000-year Jewish framework for its being "less attuned" to our age. [More amazing, here is a "rabbi", trained by another "orthodox rabbi", who thinks that Rabbinic Judaism left behind both the Temple sacrifice and "the belief in its continued importance". Can it be that Greenberg never taught Kula the many rabbinic prayers which anticipate the restoration of the Temple sacrifice? But since Kula insists on this parallel, let him follow it. We should now expect CLAL to compose Tisha-Be'Av-style kinotfor this new and wider abandonment they are witnessing, so much like the abandonment of the Temple.] As a preview of what Kula's ideal of "Jewishness in a New Era" might look like, we can consider that in this 3-page article, there is not a single occurrence of the words "Torah", "covenant", "commandments", or any reference to the G-d of Israel in any form.
Elsewhere, CLAL shows scant respect for Torah-keeping Jews, as well as an evasion of their challenges. A commentary by Andrew Silow-Carroll, spotlighted by CLAL from among "the latest thoughts and reflections by CLAL faculty and associates", quotes Orthodox writer David Klinghoffer who asks why anyone would embrace Jewish religion if they don't believe it is from a Divine Source. Rather than grappling with the question or offering an alternate religious anchor, Silow-Carroll simply rejects Klinghoffer for his "dismissal of the various ways some 83 percent of North American Jews live their Jewish lives," implying that the question of whether Jewish religion can survive without a divinely ordained Torah, or any other objective "Truth", is unworthy of a response. Then, as if to deny the possibility of "Jewish lives" without Jewish religion (a reality which Klinghoffer apparently recognizes), Silow-Carroll claims that secular Jews practice a religion of their own. He offers a list of "seemingly secular behaviors" which he knows a Torah-based Jew will call "substitutes for Judaism" but which he prefers to call a "re-invention" of Judaism. Included in this list of "religious" activities: discussing common (Jewish) acquaintances, eating lox and pastrami, scanning news reports for "Jewish" names, and idolizing the Jewish comedians, lawyers and professional wrestlers. Jewish doctors are to be "our modern priesthood". [One teeny problem. After discarding traditional Judaism, he fails to "re-invent" a way to identify "Jewish" habits and heroes, leaving us to fall back on circular reasoning: they are "Jewish" if we decide that they are.] Silow-Carroll sees these behaviors as a more than adequate replacement for the Sinai Covenant. Well, almost... his list of "secular behaviors" also includes suspiciously traditional-sounding activities: Bible classes, eating matza on Passover, Shabbat celebrations, wearing kippot, and even engaging in "Midrash, creative retelling of classic Jewish texts" - in short, many of the same behaviors practiced by Klinghoffer's narrow-minded community and so resented by Silow-Carroll.
How influential is CLAL? Most of CLAL's faculty members are simultaneously teaching at other institutions (both overtly NA and conventionally Jewish), and/or leading one or more congregations/study centers, and/or publishing and lecturing, which greatly amplifies the scope of this one organization's influence.
6. New Age Missionaries in Israel
As a stronghold of Jewish identity, Zionist nationalism and monotheism, Israelis must be viewed by NA change-agents as totally hopeless, and we would assume that our tiny homeland would be avoided by NA teachers looking for disciples. On the contrary. Israel has become something of a plum pie, where NA cults are jostling one another for bigger shares. And it has proven to be easy pickings, as long as no one mistakes them for Christian missionaries. While Christians would be deported for the tricks these NA zealots use, the latter enjoy apparent immunity here and lavish support from abroad. They have unobstructed access to Israeli Jews (even among the orthodox and children) to openly teach various brands of paganism -- often charging top price for it. Some of these neo-pagans will even castigate the Jews for rejecting Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, the guardians of Jewish identity in Israel do nothing.
6a. Our Dangerous Double Standard: Following are two examples.
A magazine for religious Israeli youth (Otiot, Aug. 8, 1997) accepted a full-color, full-page ad for an animated movie based on famous tales of a man who did exploits as the "son of God". Produced in the U.S., was voice-dubbed in Hebrew [just for Israeli kids] and was shown all over Israel. The movie was advertised and screened for almost the entire year. If it had featured Jesus Christ, the country would have erupted with protests; but the star was "only" Hercules. [Now stop and ponder why the god-man revered by Constantine and the Christians is a dangerous threat, while the god-man revered by Antiochus and the Hellenists is only an amusing fairy tale. The Maccabeans, who gave their lives to resist Hellenism, must have turned in their graves. Score one easy success for New Age indoctrination, thanks to our double standard.] We should note that Hercules is not a fairy tale in NA thought, but a sun-deity from the Grail legends (_The Occult and the Third Reich_, Jean & Michel Angebert,, p.263 note 7) and respected "ascended master" to whom one can pray for enlightenment. Blavatsky not only identified Hercules as a sun-god, but also as an image of Satan. (_Doctrine_ II, p.237, note) [After that great movie, Israeli kids will certainly remember the name of Hercules with affection as they grow.]
A group of sweet-faced, modestly dressed girls filed into a large Tel Aviv company several years ago. They went from desk to desk offering books for sale. Most workers glanced at them curiously, thinking they were an orthodox group, and returned to their work. Some bought books. Only one worker noticed the Krishna picture inside the book. He approached some of the girls and asked where they were from; they smiled without answering and glided away from him, continuing their activity. When he alerted his nearest colleague, an orthodox Jew who had just bought a book, she looked at him blankly. The "Jews for Krishna" left the building at their leisure, without being challenged, and with more funding for their next missionizing campaign. This happened the same week that a mass-mailed Christian tract "HaShalom" was being zealously gathered by orthodox community leaders for burning. (Source: my husband, the one who recognized the Krishna photo)
Lesson to be learned? Israel has become an oasis for NA cults because of the one-track mentality in dealing with missionary activity. The word has gotten around the Aquarian network.
Following are only a few NA mission-minded groups currently enjoying freedom in Israel, while teaching Jews (including children) doctrines which are idolatrous, racist, anti-Torah, and/or just plain fraudulent.
6b. New Acropolis: Haifa and Tel Aviv.
This philosophical society is better known in Europe and South America than in North America. A movement founded in 1957 by Argentinian-born Italian Blavatsky disciple Jorge Agel Livraga, it is today headquartered in Brussels with thriving branches in Spain, Turkey, Italy, France, Brazil, Chile... and Israel. [If you click on the Israel site, be sure to look at their "pictures of... activities in Israel", one of which shows off their new Hebrew book promoting Helena Blavatsky.] NAer Bernardino del Boca, considered by some to be the founder of the New Age movement in Italy, once called it "one of the great hopes of the Aquarian Age." (quote supplied by a European watchdog group which requests anonymity) "New Acropolis" presents itself as an intellectual anti-racist club at the beginner level, but as disciples advance the lessons become more militaristic and mystical, a blend of Fascist romanticism which was emulated by the SS of the Third Reich. In Spain, a flyer authored in the 1970s by the New Acropolis leader in Turkey is entitled [translated from Spanish]: "For Madmen Only: The Virtues of the New Man", followed by a quote from Adolf Hitler and comments in defense of his vision for the New Humanity. According to Dutch researcher Michiel Louter, New Acropolis is considered by authorities in France, Belgium, Italy and Germany to be a dangerous cult working to undermine democracy. [More accurately, New Acropolis wants to return "democracy" to its original "purity". Students of Plato will remember that the classical Greek concept of a "utopian Republic" is a democracy ruled by an elite citizenry, which regularly weeds out weak or unproductive members, and honors the practice of homosexuality, pedophilia, eugenics, euthanasia and infanticide. The unrecognized fact is that the values of "democracy" so sought after in today's society - compassion for the weak, an impartial justice system and the equality of all men before a Supreme Being - are in reality derived from the Torah and were despised by the original "democrats" as intolerable weakness.]
According to two former Acropolis members [names withheld], the supreme source of their philosophy is "the Masters of Wisdom", who they believe were the architects of the Third Reich; Hitler's failure was due to his disobedience to "his Masters". High-ranking members are taught that the "Manu" [who Bailey identifies with Sanat Kumara] will aid them in destroying undesirable races. [One ex-member commented that he couldn't make sense of this kind of talk, but for my readers who have persevered this far these references will need no explanation.] They also report that special areas of the Acropolis schools had Nazi literature available, among them _Mein Kampf_ and _Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts_ (The Myth of the Twentieth Century_). Other required reading for the Inner Circle is Miguel Serrano's _Adolf Hitler, el Ultimo Avatar_ which presents Hitler as a sun god. [Compare this with Savitri Devi's Hindu version of the same.] Higher-ranking members are taught the Nazi salute, as evidenced in the members-only magazine for the "New Acropolis Security Forces" [sic].
New Acropolis is not a newcomer to Israel; the group has been free to attract Israelis to its ranks for more than a decade. One former leader reports that the New Acropolis International Conference held in Rome in 1990 included Israelis, all of them dressed in black shirts and saluting an imperial Roman eagle, legionnaire style. Courses are regularly held in Israel on "The Key to Inner Wisdom" (all in Hebrew). The "Eastern Wisdom" category is Hinduism, Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism; "Western Wisdom" is largely Greek Platonic and Stoic philosophy. "History" combines Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Hindu thought. Only in "Sources of Wisdom" does one find a brief pass at Judaism via Kabbalah, in the company of Greek mythology and New Age principles.
6c. The Theosophical Society: Tel Aviv.
That Helena Blavatsky has an Israeli following is remarkable, not only because of her antisemitic writings, but also because of her vast ignorance of Jewish history: "The name YHVH was unknown to Moses or any Jew before David. Neither David nor Solomon recognized the Law of Moses; they built temples [sic] along the lines of Venus worship... The Hebrew Bible exists no more. There is much dishonesty surrounding even the writing of the Septuagint (the original Tenach, from which all Hebrew copies are made); yet people persist in talking of the ancient Hebrew as if one man alive knows one word of it!.... Scholars do not carry the now-known Hebrew letters beyond the 4th century AD." (from a collection of quotes sent to me by a NA acquaintance, unreferenced) [Madame HPB could be forgiven for her 19th-century ignorance, but what possesses modern Israelis to accept her as a teacher of wisdom? And what kind of wisdom did her spirit Guides display here?]
6d. Association for Jewish Renewal: Kibbutz Lotan, Sinai (temporarily).
Over the last two years or more, JR leaders have been fostering a nascent community of Israelis, with direct involvement by American JR Rabbi Shefa Gold and local leader Yoram Getzler. Devotees include mostly Israeli seekers just back from India, who gather for spiritual encounters in the desert. A band called "Sheva" plays trance music from India and Sufi tradition. (See "The New Believers", _The Jerusalem Report_, Apr.2, 1998)
Other Jewish Renewal activity is not official or centralized, but consists mostly of seminars offered by visiting JR teachers from the States. [For an overview of JR beliefs and activities, see the entry above.] The most obvious involvement is through the large number of Elat Chayyim teachers who conduct seminars in Israel on a regular basis: Moshe Budmor, Lynn Gottlieb, Blu and Yitz Greenberg, Eve Ilsen, Carol Kestler, Leah Novick, Gershon Winkler. A few Elat Chayyim faculty are based in Israel: David Friedman (Tsefat), Mordechai Gafni (unspecified), Menachem Kallus (Jerusalem), David Zeller (Jerusalem). Only Zeller has his own organization, "Yakar", which he describes (in a personal letter to me) as "orthodox renewal, still within the bounds of halacha with the most liberal and loving applications". He matches the Blu Greenberg strategy in this self-definition as well as his associations. While he prefers to identify with Shlomo Carlebach, Zeller expresses an affinity for Schachter-Shalomi's teaching.
6e. Waldorf schools/Anthroposophy: Jerusalem.
There are 600 Waldorf schools in 32 different countries, including Israel. All are dedicated to teaching the philosophies of Rudolf Steiner, a German occultist who joined the Theosophical Society and then broke away to form a rival "spiritual science" which he named "Anthroposophy". In the U.S., a supervisory association monitors all 125 American Waldorf schools to ensure that they all "stay true to the teachings of Steiner." His worldview (received through channeling) is a blend of theosophy, gnosticism, holistic earth-worship, and racism.
Concerning the last, Waldorf schools include the study of "racial ethnography", where children learn from Steiner that the Nordic and Aryan races are the "best section of mankind... skillful and intelligent," while dark-skinned races have large bodies and small, underdeveloped souls and "are all stupid". ("Special Ed?" _The Daily Northwestern_, Oct.17, 1997) Black Africans "have the peculiarity to suck off light and warmth from spaces around them" which causes their skin to turn black from the heat. All that absorbed energy results in the "fact" that "the negro has strong urges... as if he is boiled up from the sun itself..." (translated for me by German researcher Robert Jesolowitz from a 1923 Steiner speech in Dornau, Switzerland) During this course, children at the Waldorf school in Evanston, Illinois practice drawing blond children walking in bright sunlight; black children ("moon people") walk in the weak light of the moon, and black souls are drawn as babies. ("Special Ed") Steiner opposed interracial marriage, since "mixing of blood causes the force of clear vision to die" in the higher species of humanity. (translated from German by Swedish researcher Fredrik Bendz, unreferenced)
Waldorf schools are coming under attack in the U.S., Holland and Germany for their racist and occultic orientation, as well as for deception concerning their religious nature. (See "Are Waldorf Schools 'Non-Sectarian'?", _Free Inquiry_, Spring 1994) Waldorf schools are also haunted by more than a little superstition: modern technology is so evil that pupils may not visit science museums, and computers are an "incarnation of the evil spirit Ahriman". (David B. Black, _The Computer and the Incarnation of Ahriman_, p.35) This evil deity has its origins in Zoroastrianism, an esoteric religion dating from the 6th c. BCE which is enjoying a comeback in NA circles. [One could make a case for Steiner adopting more than just Ahriman from that ancient Persian religion; Zoroaster was also decidedly hostile to the G-d of the Torah - see the Nazism section for details, and for the common ground between Theosophy and Nazism.]
Concerning the Jewish people in particular, Anthroposophists in Germany quote Steiner in singling out the Jews as the group most clearly demonstrating the undesirable "Gruppenseelenhafte" or "Group Soul Qualities" (Steiner disciple Irene Diet in _Das Goetheanum_, Nr.20, May 17, 1998) A broadcast by the German news program "Report Mainz" (Feb. 28, 2000) revealed that antisemitic and racist teachings are widely promoted in today's Waldorf schools, to which the President of the Zentralrat (Central Council of Jews in Germany), Paul Spiegel, replied: "I have been receiving [such reports] for the past one and a half years," and added that until now parents were afraid to identify themselves. The information which left Spiegel "shocked" is currently being documented. ("Wortwechsel", Germany's Swedwestfernsehen, Mar. 19, 2000)
A Waldorf school in Jerusalem also got some bad press when it briefly came under attack a few years ago. But judging from media reports, the only issue investigated was whether it was a Christian mission, after which it was "cleared" to carry on its activities without interference. A Waldorf kindergarten in Jerusalem, "Gan HaShemesh", also received mixed reviews in a _Jerusalem Post_ article on parenting (June 16, 1999), mainly for its "stress on the magical" and its diet of violent fairy tales, but no mention was made of the international controversy raging over the Waldorf curriculum.
6f. Kibbutz Harduf: near Shfaram.
Another brainchild of Steiner was "biodynamic farming" (not to be confused with ecological techniques), which resembles farming methods of Findhorn, the famous New Age mecca in northern Scotland. For biodynamic farmers, the earth is an organism which breathes twice a day and has a spiritually alive soil. To nurture it, different homeopathic concoctions are applied to transfer the "astral forces" of the ingredients to the crops. Or, if something more potent is preferred, Steiner advises old-fashioned witchcraft: "You catch a fairly young field mouse and flay it... We take the skin, when Venus stands in the sign of Scorpio, and burn the skin... Now take the ash which results and sprinkle it out on the fields." (translated by Bendz)
Israel is one of the few countries which hosts a community completely run by Steiner's philosophies. Kibbutz Harduf, producer of health foods and host to Steiner seminars, has been a member of the United Kibbutz Movement since 1985. Members embrace Steiner's teachings without reservation, and see themselves as offering "a better alternative to the hazara b'teshuva [return to Torah Judaism] movement." (_Jerusalem Post_, Aug. 1, 1986) Accordingly, their vegetarian restaurant does double-duty, generating income and serving as a front to "to spread the word" of Steiner's gospel. The _Jerusalem Post Magazine_ gave two positive (if perplexed) critiques of Harduf ("Community of Spirit", Aug. 1, 1986; "In Steiner's Footsteps", Nov. 19, 1999). Anthroposophy was presented as a legitimate alternate Jewish lifestyle, referring to Steiner's teaching with a superficial rosiness that gave no real information.
6g. Scientology: Tel Aviv.
One of Steiner's early occultic colleagues, L. Ron Hubbard, started his own cult of "dianetics", which teaches that all human misery was caused by the space-tyrant Xenu, who transported people to Earth 75 million years ago, dropped them into volcanoes and exploded hydrogen bombs on them. Hubbard identified himself as the new Maitreya (competing with Theosophy's choice at that time, Krishnamurti), chosen by the "ascended masters" to bring mankind the solution. [For a full treatment, see "Pseudo-Buddhism in the Form of Scientology", Dialog Center International, Denmark.] This spiritual solution (which can set you back as much as $50,000 a year) developed into the "Church" of Scientology, now a multi-million-dollar global enterprise known for ruthless exploitation and intimidation, especially by lawsuit. The Church's "fair game law" targets any critics who becomes a threat as fair game, at which point every method, legal or otherwise, is used to destroy them. _Time Magazine_ labeled Scientology "the cult of greed," and Cynthia Kisser, former Director of the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), called it "the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic... lucrative cult the country [U.S.] has ever seen." Kisser should know; she experienced their tactics first-hand when Scientology, through a string of bogus but financially draining lawsuits, forced CAN into bankruptcy in 1996 -- and then in late 1997 bought the organization (rights to the name, logo, and case files, including those against Scientology!). All CAN staff have been replaced with Scientology church members. (For the whole story, see the transcript of the "60 Minutes" production with Leslie Stahl, Dec.28, 1997) [It is not known how this affects the CAN office which is said to be located in Israel. I have not been able to locate them.]
Reactions outside the U.S. to Scientology? The Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, after hearing evidence against this group, had strong words: "Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally and socially." (Justice Anderson) Germany's courts are currently examining several charges against Scientology involving human rights abuse and anti-democratic activities (and Germany is also suffering from the church's "fair game law" - in a well-funded publicity blitz, Scientology has likened the government's investigation to Hitler's persecution of the Jews). Some societies will never need to react to Hubbard's mega-church, like black Africa and China, due to his opinion that Zulus belong in a "madhouse," and that "the trouble with China is, there are too many Chinks there," and similar assessments on India, South Africa, Arabs, American blacks, and "yellow and brown people" in general.
What about Israel? Scientology is alive and well, free to run its "College of Dianetics" at 12 Shonzino St., Tel Aviv. Scientologists regularly accost people in Israel's business district with literature in several languages, pressuring them to take their "personality test," the first step to draw seekers into the long, expensive process of "recovering" from the ancient cosmic disaster.
6h. Transcendental Meditation: Hararit, central Galilee.
The Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of TM, is a charismatic guru who manages to convince initiates that he promotes a non-religious "technique", despite the fact that the mantras are names of Hindu deities and the puja (initiation ceremony) is a hymn to at least 20 Hindu gods. [See "The Steps of Initiation into Transcendental Meditation", a transcription of the standard puja, the exact wording of which must be perfectly memorized by TM teachers. Then go to to the line, "Teacher performs puja" and check out the translation provided to see the list of deities.] In 1977, U.S. courts finally caught on and ruled that TM was a religion, which removed from it the legal right to be taught in public schools there. Germany's High Court in 1989 ruled that TM is neither religion nor science, but a destructive cult. In India, the Maharishi's huge NOIDA ashram was plagued by scandal when workers went on a 3-month strike, protesting malnutrition, unsanitary conditions and neglect which resulted in the deaths of several ashram children. The TM leader resolved that unpleasantness by closing the ashram for "a vacation", firing or transferring all 200 teachers, and turning the children loose to find their way home across India (some of whom never made it). [See the testimony of Indian physician Govind Sharma.]
The Maharishi's "technique" nevertheless continues to generate millions of dollars for his organization, with Israelis being the largest national group among his trainees. Journalist Esther Hecht notes that the Israeli TM disciples, including educated professional people, treat their guru much the same as Habad devotees treat their Rebbe Shneerson: having his picture in every room and on every publication, and invoking his name repeatedly in everyday conversation. ("Peace of Mind", _Jerusalem Post_, Jan.23, 1998. Also source of other details in this paragraph.) As of 1997, "His Holiness" had hoped to exit Holland (which was pressuring him to take his "dangerous activity" elsewhere) and relocate personally to Israel, setting up court at his pilot TM village of Hararit. To date he has not done so [perhaps the Interior Ministry is being stubborn about proof of Jewishness...] At that time Hararit had a long-term plan to also absorb 7000 sidhis (advanced meditators) to effect cosmic changes and help usher in the "dawn of the Age of Enlightenment". This plan was blocked by the Israeli watchdog group, "Forum Against Cults". However, the TMers did manage to form a new kibbutz, "Yahad", and an Ayurveda (TM-based medical) clinic.
6i. The Kabbalah Centre: Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv.
Philip Berg's black-kippahed, fast-talking salesmen make the rounds door to door on a regular basis, trying to sell the Zohar to religious and secular, Jews and non-Jews, housewives and teens, promising instant spiritual profit (and collecting healthy profits of the more worldly kind). [See the main entry above for more details.]
As is clear in this handful of examples, NA missionaries to the Israelis are equally comfortable in Eastern garb, Western business suits, or kippah and tsitsit. The fact that they have found easy entry into Israeli society, in spite of other countries rejecting them, indicates either high sophistication on their part or astonishing naivete on the part of Israel (or both). [But what their success really shows is the persistent spiritual hunger among Israelis, who are grabbing at every new spiritual fad that drifts by, one after another. Why do they fall for them - manipulative mystical con games, deceptions that promise enhanced Jewishness while systematically destroying every reason for being Jewish? That which sustained the Jewish people for thousands of years, and has seen us through every attempt to erase us, is still available. But many Israelis - out of disappointment, anger, or ignorance - have given up on Torah and gone on a restless search for a substitute for Jewish faith in the Jewish G-d. Yet the reason they keep switching "spiritual paths" is that they will never really be satisfied with anything less than that for which they were created. This constitutes both a challenge and a hope for our future.]
6j. Israeli Media and Entertainment
None of this takes into account the daily indoctrination coming through the myriad "healers" and channelers offering peace and enlightenment on the streets of Israel, who receive mostly positive publicity in local papers. And we have yet to mention the government-sponsored Israeli TV, especially children's entertainment. A casual sampling of Israel's "educational network" will show a steady diet of heroes who rely on psychic powers, alien helpers, personal transformations (symbolized in physical changes) and even actual pagan deities. From "Digimon" to Disney, from "X-Men" to "X-Files", in 10-minute cartoons and full feature movies, in fantasy plots and real life plots, NA religion is being aimed at Israeli children aged 1 to 18. These programs are usually dubbed in Hebrew, and appear most often during the hours when working parents are away from the home. The same thing can be said for the movie and home video offerings, after-school activities, computer games and bestselling Hebrew books, and even acquisitions at the public library. [Imagine the predictable Israeli reaction if Christian missionaries were to target Jewish children using any one of these methods, and we see how well NA has done its work - Israeli kids sit in front of the TV cheering for spirit-guide heroes, devour library books full of pagan mythology in Hebrew, or trot off to yoga classes where they bow to Indian deities, and no one notices.]
7. The Goal of Converting the Jews to NA Thinking
All these tremendous efforts to bring both secular and traditional Jews, diaspora and Israeli Jews alike, over to NA doctrine have but one goal, judging by NA sources. It is not in order to "liberate" Jews from their identity so as to receive them into the spiritual family of Man [although that would be bad enough]. As we have seen, the Jews as a group are flatly considered unsuitable material for the New Age. The goal of converting Jews is to make them voluntarily accept the "cleansing action" which is to remove them from this "physical plane of existence". [See the end result of "right human relations" in the "Views on Jews" section.]
In accordance with Alice Bailey's analysis on the Holocaust, other NA spokesmen continue to preach that the Jews always bring on their own suffering. In other contexts (such as Christian denunciation of the 'Christ-killers') this is highly offensive to any Jew. But after accepting the twin NA concepts of reincarnation and some form of "karma" [such as "tikkun", a Kabbalistic doctrine which only differs from standard karma in teaching that G-d rather than a cosmic force sends a Jew into multiple lives to repair mistakes or cosmic imbalance], it will begin to sound logical that if Jews are being repeatedly singled out for suffering and untimely death, they as a group must indeed owe some collective karmic debt. The NAers are confident that Jews who accept the karmic view of suffering will also accept the karmic requirement of passive submission to whatever befalls themselves and their loved ones - especially if appropriate spirits of their "luminaries" [the ranking system for advanced practitioners of Kabbalah, corresponding to the NA ranking of their "Iluminati" or "enlightened ones"] appear to them with promises of a favorable future life as a reward for voluntary submission. Such visitations will be credited by NA teachers to the activity of Maitreya - his merciful contribution to help ease the passage of the Jewish race from this dimension.
7a. A NA-Manufactured Messiah
For those who cling tightly to Torah-from-Sinai Judaism, even "Messiah" is scheduled to appear, to command them to obey Maitreya whom he also serves. Leading occultist Peter LeMesurier, in his book _The Armaggedon Script_, outlines the "script" for a simulated arrival of the Jewish Messiah (p.231-233) tailored for Jewish acceptance. He is to arrive in Israel incognito, and devote himself to studying everything expected of the Messiah: Tenach prophecies, Dead Sea Scrolls, current Jewish expectations, prophecies from other religions. He must then harness the science of earthquake prediction to show up on the Mount of Olives during an earthquake. He will proceed to Jerusalem from the east, accompanied by a procession in shining white, enter the tomb of King David, and come out miraculously dressed in perfumed royal robes, as David reincarnated. His ascension to the Temple Mount to be crowned King of Israel will be a matter of course, given his popular support. What about resistance from suspicious Jews and/or Christians? "The massed forces of the Old Age, however, will be unable to check their headlong onrush. In large measure they will go on to destroy each other in a massive, mutual venting of long pent-up aggression." (p.237) [This confident assumption shows awareness of the NA plan to keep Jews and Christians mistrustful of each other. Or perhaps it refers to the ongoing conflict between Jews and Moslems, which more accurately displays a seemingly unstoppable "aggression"; that rift also serves the Plan.] Meanwhile, this messiah will go on to lead the "youth of the world" in "spreading the already developing ideas and values upon which the New Age is to be founded.... It is for the soul of man that the New David will have to fight."
Was LeMesurier's "script", written in 1982, taken seriously by anyone? Major publishers in the U.S. and England snapped the book up, as well as a British book club which made it a featured selection. A group of 125 prominent Carl Jung disciples met the following year to discuss the plan's feasibility - from a Jungian viewpoint, acting out the "messiah myth" might help release humanity's "collective unconscious" from its long fixation on the "apocalypse idea" which is holding back spiritual enlightenment. Among the attendees were Dr. Robert Jay Lifton of Yale, leading Jungian scholar James Hillman and Wolfgang Giegerich of the Jung Institute in Stuttgart. (See _New Age Journal_ Sep. 1983, cited by attorney Constance Cumbey, _A Planned Deception_, p.11)
This nod to ancient Jewish tradition is considered a final strategy to wean the Jews away from the religion of their forefathers. In view of all the NA missionary efforts directed at Jews, the preferred scenario is that before leaving the scene, the Jews would first put their G-d to death by admitting that their faith and its Object are flawed, outdated, unsatisfying, incapable of real life without injections of pantheist spirituality, or even a total fiction. As Bailey wrote (_A Treatise on Cosmic Fire_ IID, p.948), the "Law of Karma" dictates that the "gigantic thought form", the G-d which the Jews were responsible for introducing to the world, "has to be dissipated by those [humans] who have created it." A Jewish effort to terminate their own G-d would mean a more complete payment of karma as far as NA is concerned. As far as the priorities of the Hierarchy are concerned, it would mean a final victory in their "Spiritual War", which is actually more against the "Dark Force" behind the Jews than against the Jews themselves.
But the Hierarchy has expressed fear of telling their disciples too much about that "Force", which gives us a hint that - even after all the investment and boasting - the outcome of this War is not really under their control.
This concludes Segment I. [next segment, please...] [Back to Jerusalem SearchLight]
Last Update: 15/dec/02.
Links to the rest of the series: THE RAINBOW SWASTIKAINTRODUCTION FOR READERS PRO AND CON
A. HOW BIG A CONSPIRACY?
B. HUMAN HISTORY PER NEW AGE
C. THE GODS OF NEW AGE
D. 'THE PLAN' OF THE NEW AGE
E. VIEWS ON JEWS AND JUDAISM
F. NAZISM AND NEW AGE
G. THE TRANSFORMATION OF SOCIETY
H. EDUCATION IN THE NEW AGE
I. MISSIONIZING AMONG JEWS
J. WHAT TO DO: A JEWISH RESPONSE