Madonna Eyes Site for N.Y. Kabbalah Center

By Juliet Lapidos

Published April 13, 2007, issue of April 13, 2007.
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Madonna, the Queen of Pop, is gracing the gossip pages again. She’s not announcing a new album. And no, she’s not performing her classic ballad “Live To Tell” while suspended from a giant mirrored cross, as she did during the summer of 2006. As rumor has it, she’ll be making the trip from London to New York this week to tour 179 Ludlow Street, where she plans to develop a three-story Kabbalah center. According to The New York Observer, monthly rent for the space will hover at around $45,000.

The singer-cum-actress’s real estate gambit is but the latest development in her turn toward Jewish mysticism. In the 1989 music video for “Like a Prayer,” Catholic-born Madonna dances in a field of burning crosses, displays stigmata after cutting her palms and kisses a saint. Less than a decade later, Madonna discarded her birth religion and became a devotee of The Kabbalah Centre. She even stopped performing on the Sabbath.

Details about the proposed center are scarce for now, but it’s sure to attract a fair share of celebrity trendsters. Madonna introduced Britney Spears to Kabbalah, and Lindsay Lohan (a deep brooder if ever there was one) has been spotted wearing a red string around her wrist. Perhaps Britney and Lindsay will find the center’s proposed Lower East Side location especially enticing: After dinner and drinks, they can stumble over to Ludlow Street for a late-night study session.

One person who probably won’t be making an appearance is Roseanne Barr. The talk-show host once told USA Today that she recites kabbalistic meditations while sitting in traffic. Recently, however, she used her blog, Roseanne World, as an outlet for a long-winded rant about Jewish “separatism”; “abusive cult-programming that is done to Jewish children, beginning with genital torture,” and “woman hating.”


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