The latest unlikely convert is Victoria Beckham, who has adopted The Red String
(which protects against the "Evil Eye")...
Her husband David was photographed head in hands
after missing his Euro 2004 penalty kick last week.
On his left wrist was a red woollen string.
JEWISH KABBALAH HAS BECKHAM
"I was pushed into some situations and I have taken on some myself.
Unfortunately, this is now my life and my wife's life."
**UPDATE!! AP, Sep 1, 2007 - David Beckham's debut season in America is all but over now that the 32-year-old English midfielder is out six weeks with a sprained right knee, to go along with his famously injured left ankle....But losing the world's most famous soccer player impacts more than just America, though. Beckham will miss England's two Euro 2008 qualifying matches against Israel and Russia in London in early September, and possibly two more in October..... Associated Press, Sep 1, 2007
*UPDATE! BBC, Jun 29 2004 - Beckham's exhibition photo at the Royal Academy of Art is defaced
As the following stories attest something very serious has happened to David Beckham. He used to be the much-loved greatest soccer player in England - one of the best in the world. Then, like a slave, he was "sold" to another country and many corporations. His head's been shaved, he's got a tattoo of who-knows-what on the back of his neck, he can't kick a ball anymore, he's being framed in the tabloids, and he's joined a Jewish cult that has him wearing a red string around his wrist that seems to be sucking out his power. ~ Jackie Jura
EURO-BECKHAM HAS PROBLEM WITH NERVES. Reuters, Jun 26, 2004
BERLIN - England captain David Beckham has a problem with nerves when it comes to taking penalties in big tournaments, according to former Germany coach Franz Beckenbauer. Beckenbauer said after Beckham's failed spot-kick in the Euro 2004 quarter-final defeat by Portugal that he could not understand how someone who takes such dangerous free kicks could miss so many penalties. "It's quite possible that Beckham suffers from a mental block at big tournaments," Beckenbauer said in a column in Bild newspaper on Saturday. "He was sent off at the 1998 World Cup, and now he missed two penalties against France and Portugal. Beckham appears to have a problem with nerves." Beckenbauer captained and coached German sides to World Cup victories in 1974 and 1990.
MAY THE LIGHT BE WITH YOU. Telegraph, Jun 23, 2004
A form of Jewish mysticism has so captivated Madonna that she has changed her name - to Esther - in its honour. Other devotees include Gwyneth Paltrow and David Beckham. But is Kabbalah just another sect preying on the gullible? Charlotte Edwardes signs up for an initiation course:
The rabbi is pacing back and forth in front of the transfixed class. "So what does The Light do?" he asks in an American drawl. "The Light creates The Vessel!" we chorus. "Right!" he shouts, turning to the white board behind him. The pen squeaks as he scribbles a large L in a circle followed by a large V in a circle. "And how much light can you receive?" He answers this one himself, writing simultaneously: "As much as you desire!" He turns to pounce with his next question. The air is heavy with expectation.
I am in the middle of my first Kabbalah lesson at the Kabbalah Centre, an elegant townhouse in Bond Street, London, bought for £3.65 million with the help of a hefty donation from Madonna. The singer, who has renamed herself "Esther" after one of the Jewish matriarchs, has championed the movement, crediting it with "creative guidance" on her album American Life and saying it has influenced her "whole outlook on life". Kabbalah, Hebrew for "received tradition", was for centuries understood to be a form of ancient Jewish mysticism based on sacred texts. Orthodox rabbis would study for 20 years before even approaching its impenetrable central text, the Zohar, or "Book of Splendour". Today, for £180, you can attain enlightenment through 10 easy lessons at a Kabbalah Centre near you. Over the past 35 years, through the evangelical zeal and marketing acumen of one American rabbi, Philip Berg, the Kabbalah has been rebranded as a New Age touchy-feely mysticism open to all (or at least those who can afford it). Berg, 75, a former Brooklyn insurance salesman, reinvented himself as a spiritual preacher and opened his first Kabbalah Centre in Jerusalem in 1969: a place where an individual might escape the confines of organised religion and "become a better person". The flagship Los Angeles branch followed, which he now runs as a thriving business with his children Karen and Yehuda selling Kabbalah courses and merchandise. There are now 50 Kabbalah centres worldwide, from Chile to Japan, all teaching the same formulaic message - "Share the Light" - with the same repetitive techniques. London is the latest city to be swept up in Kabbalah fever.
I have signed up for The Power of Kabbalah (1), with 40 or so other students, most of whom are well-groomed, middle-class women. The organisers clearly identify a lucrative market in insecure women. Among the other courses on offer are "12 Steps To Lasting Love" (£180 for 10 weeks), "How To Date Your Soul Mate" (£91 for six weeks) and "Kabbalah and the Modern Woman" (£91 for six weeks). The latter offers to aid "climbing the career ladder, finding the right guy, raising children, keeping fit, maintaining good health". The blurb gushes about the "awesome power of feminine spirit". On my table there are four women: a banker, a designer, a public relations executive and a French housewife with a Cap d'Antibes tan, blow-dried bouffant and large, flashing diamonds. We are all identified by stickers: "Hello! I'm Charlotte". Hanging on the wall is a graph of the 72 names of God (we are told to scan this "powerful formula", as revealed to Moses, even if we don't read Hebrew). We are grouped around five tables decorated with roses and lilies, in what once would have been a grand Georgian drawing-room. Its centrepiece is a marble fireplace in front of which our rabbi, Chaim Solomon, now paces, keeping us on our toes with incessant questions.
"OK, so who wants to be first to share some amazing event this week?" he asks. "Something you can attribute to what we learnt about acknowledging the limits of the five senses and recognising where they blocked you from achieving consciousness." The room is silent as we struggle, as usual, to make sense of Kabbalah-speak. Finally, a confident young man with a pencil moustache sticks up his hand.
"Yes? And, please, your name."
"Hi. I'm Luigi," he says in a New Jersey twang.
"Hello Luigi," we chorus obediently.
"Rabbi," he says cockily, "doing one week here, I realise there is definitely a good side to this Kabbalah thing - you go home and try and think differently."
"Yes," says the rabbi.
"But sometimes I get this feeling, you know, a dead fish-type feeling, where I don't feel anything at all. And I want to feel, you know, emotion."
"Why isn't happiness considered an emotion for you?" the rabbi counters solemnly.
"Because I get used to it," Luigi says, rocking back on his chair. "It would be nice to feel something else, you know, like maybe how you do when you are arguing with somebody."
The rabbi mulls this over for a moment and then looks around the room. It is clear that Luigi has just made A Classic Mistake - did any of us notice?
"Your choice, Luigi," he shrugs. "But didn't we say last week that we would like to be happy and fulfilled all the time?" Everyone mutters agreement. "Wouldn't that be a goal that you would like to strive for?"
Rabbi Solomon takes a deep breath. "Of course, there's a part of us which feels that if we don't have extremes of emotional turmoil, then we aren't really living life. But do you really want to live life on an emotional rollercoaster? No!" (The rabbi loves his rhetorical questions.)
Ups and downs in life are bad, he tells his cowed, frantically note-taking pupils. This is what Kabbalists call "the one per cent" of experience. Our goal, as novice Kabbalists, is to "work more in the 99 per cent", striving for a monotonous consistency they call "endless happiness". Everyone looks mesmerised by this idea. Am I the only person in the room who thinks it sounds like opting out? Luigi's mobile starts ringing the theme tune of The Godfather. I had come expecting scholarly debate. Instead, the hour-and-a-half lesson stretches ahead like a yawn. What modern Kabbalists appear to be doing is complicating some very simple (and not altogether original) ideas. For example, Lesson Three: if someone slights you, turn the other cheek. Or, Lesson Two: share your good fortune. Sharing is a central tenet of Kabbalism. Sharing with the Kabbalah Centre is especially encouraged - so much so that it has been accused of preying on the vulnerable and wealthy. One young British businesswoman has claimed that a London rabbi, over a friendly cappuccino, asked her to donate £65,000 so that she could buy the centre a new Kabbalistic Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) and honour her late parents' memory. Jerry Hall recently left the centre after being asked for money, saying, "I didn't realise that in order to go through a door of miracles, you had to give 10 per cent of your income." Cases like this prompted Dr Jonathan Sacks, the British Chief Rabbi, to issue a public warning about the movement: "We wish it to be known that this organisation does not fall within the remit of the Chief Rabbinate or any other authority in the UK recognised by us." The Kabbalah Centre dismisses such criticisms. "Organised religions deal only in dogma," our rabbi tells us in class. Most complaints, he later says, are from people who are "jealous or sceptical".
In all my classes, the subject of money crops up with alarming regularity. "Do you know people who have things?" the rabbi asks. "Cars, houses, fame etc, who are not fulfilled? When they have money, they don't feel fulfilled, right?" (One course topic spells it out: "Sharing: the spiritual law of prosperity.") "People who come into instant wealth go through bizarre emotions," the rabbi tells us. "If you don't share it, you won't have fulfilment." Sharing, we learn, can ultimately bring greater prosperity. If someone has an inheritance, I ask, whom should they share it with? "Give it to charity," he says. "What's your name, by the way?"
Today's Kabbalah is unique among New Age philosophies in actively promoting capitalism. Indeed, the movement generates its wealth by that very principle. By an ingenius stroke it has created a branded range of essential Kabbalah accessories.
First, the Kabbalah water. Spot-lit shelves of it greet you as you walk through the door of the London centre. Miriam, a young and pretty volunteer, encourages me to buy some, explaining, wide-eyed, that if I drink it all the time I will "never feel ill again - it has a complex structure like no other water. It actually changes your cells." (Madonna is so convinced of the water's healing powers that she sends for supplies from London when filming in Europe.) After paying £3.50 for a litre bottle, however, I am disappointed to read the disclaimer on the side: "The producer and distributor of this water do not claim any specific physical benefits which might be achieved by using it. Persons suffering physical ailments are urged to consult with their physician."
There is also Jewellery (Tree of Life necklace, £39); "Kabbalah Cures" (Headache Relief Ointment, £5.50); astrological charts (£170) and baby accessories (crib set complete with Hebrew lettering, £152).
Most essential (and marketed under "Spiritual Tools") is The Red String. The slick packaging tells me that the string will protect me from: "Bitter boyfriend, nasty cab-driver, dirty looks, big fat liars, that person who wants your shoes, that person who wants your life, jealous co-workers, that so-called friend, rude waiters . . ." This wording strikes me as fuel for paranoia, but I join the queue of professional women and hand over my £17 for a length of red wool. This is the badge that has identified the famous as followers of Kabbalah: Elizabeth Taylor, Barbra Streisand, Gwyneth Paltrow, Demi Moore, Winona Ryder and Sandra Bernhard. In Britain, Naomi Campbell, Normandie Keith and Sabrina Guinness are paid-up devotees.
The latest unlikely convert is Victoria Beckham, who has adopted The Red String (which protects against the "Evil Eye") after revelations of her husband David's affair with Rebecca Loos. He was photographed head in hands after missing his Euro 2004 penalty kick last week. On his left wrist was a red woollen string.
The most ardent "celebrity endorsement" has come from Mr and Mrs Guy Ritchie, who now give the 10-week courses as birthday presents to their friends. David Collins, the interior designer, and the nightclub owner Piers Adam, who was best man at Guy and Madonna's wedding, are just two to have been dispatched for self-improvement this year. Guy Ritchie's appraisal of Kabbalah is simple: "It's just about being a decent person. Put it like this: I have never met a Kabbalist who is a c---." Ritchie has even endorsed one of our set texts, The Power of Kabbalah. "This book should come with a warning," he says. "Danger of Enlightenment." Unfortunately, the book doesn't live up to this promotion. Most of the ideas are readily recognisable from the teachings of Jesus Christ, Marx and Plato, among others. I ask Rabbi Solomon about this and he smiles knowingly. "That's because these people were Kabbalists." Newton, Plato, Pythagorus and Shakespeare were also Kabbalists, he explains. It seems that any historical figure who has challenged conventional thinking has been claimed by the movement as one of its own.
A month into the course, I am still learning how to "Share the Light" - or, how not to lose my temper. But I am struggling. Can it really be right to respond to every situation life throws up with a beautific smile? Is this a realistic philosophy for modern life, or a panacea for the self-obsessed and insecure? "So," says our rabbi at the start of the next class. "Who managed to do their homework - to transform a negative situation?" Maria, a plump woman in her mid-twenties wearing a fishnet catsuit beneath designer T-shirt and shorts, shoots her hand up. She is clearly agitated. She had a problem trying to "share the Light", she says, scratching her thigh with an electric-pink false nail. "I mean, how can you not show anger when you walk in on your boyfriend in bed with another woman?" The rabbi is momentarily slack-jawed. "Right," he says recovering. "Uh, let's deal with that in another class." Maria didn't wait to find out. She didn't come back.
STRAIN OF LIFE TAKES TOLL ON BECKHAM. Telegraph Jun 27, 2004
As David Beckham was doing his best to defend himself against accusations that football had become an afterthought in his diary behind celebrity interviews and sponsorship photo shoots, several of his interrogators were sipping from Pepsi cans emblazoned with an image of him dressed as a gladiator. Such is the confusion that arises when you try to distinguish between Beckham the brand and Beckham the man and even he finds it difficult to explain or differentiate. On the one hand, he seems to crave a life away from the paparazzi lens but on the other, he has consented to so many endorsements that you can no more escape his image during a cosy chat in a Lisbon suburb with the man himself than you can at Bounds Green underground station.
Even so, it was difficult to withhold all sympathy as he described a lifestyle that, he says, prevents him driving his two sons in the park without a fleet of photographers for company, an existence now more in keeping with Madonna's than that of an England football captain. But having allowed that to evolve, he accepts that the genie cannot be put back in the bottle, nor for that matter, the Pepsi in the can. Beckham said: "I don't actually do as much as people think. But I was pushed into some situations and I have taken on some myself. Unfortunately, this is now my life and my wife's life. You either lie down and let everyone batter you with it or you come out fighting and this is what we will all do as a family.
"The move to Spain has meant a new environment where people are not used to me. In Manchester, I was able to walk around the Trafford Centre with my family but now, my biggest problem is working out how to get to the supermarket without being photographed. That takes time and energy. You have to think and plan everytime you go through the front door. "The intrusion and invasion into my life is tough. I have got children and I want them to enjoy their lives. People say why is he complaining? Well I am not, I am just explaining how it is."
Despite much photographic evidence to the contrary, with various pictures of his wife, Victoria, in New York and on shopping expeditions in Knightsbridge, he claims that she spent more time in Spain last season than was reported. And now that he has committed himself to at least another year at Real Madrid, his eldest son, Brooklyn, has finally enrolled in a local school. His failure to attend last season was also misinterpreted, says Beckham. The real reason was that his team-mate, Zinedine Zidane, warned him against it, telling him that during his children's first two months in a Madrid school, they were regularly filmed in the playground. As well as invasion of privacy, such actions would arouse concerns about kidnapping. Beckham says: "I am not prepared to put my children in that situation and if that case arises, I will take a long look at it. I am very protective of them. They say I do photo shoots with my children but I never have and never will. I protect them as much as I can."
What Beckham does not seem to comprehend is that the majority of England supporters could not care a jot about his celebrity lifestyle, his alleged affairs and whether or not his family opt to live with him in Madrid or with Posh Spice's mum and dad in Hertfordshire. They care only about the toll those problems have evidently taken on his football career, leaving him not only visibly drained on the pitch but a shadow of the inspirational captain he once was for his country.
Throughout Euro 2004, he denied any fitness problem and perversely, his obvious inability to shuffle up and down the right wing led some observers, those always ready to admire the emperor's radiant new outfit, to conclude that he was deliberately restraining his attacking instincts for the good of the team when the truth was that he was simply worn out.
He admits: "We don't do as much conditioning work in Madrid as we did at United. I didn't feel as fit in the second half of games as I did the season before and maybe that spilled over into this tournament. I have overcome hurdles in my career and my life and I am not saying Euro 2004 is one of them but it is a big disappointment. I am man enough and strong enough to come through this and forget what has happened and so are the team." He is aware that knives are being sharpened. But nooses were being tightened around his effigy after he was sent off against Argentina in France 98, another game lost on penalties, and he reasons that if he could recover from that to become a national hero, his recent difficulties should not prevent him reinventing himself again. Like Madonna.
He says: "I have sensed that people are looking for me to quit as England captain. I am not going to do it . I am not going to lie down and take criticism. People don't realise how strong I am. If they want to write me off, I will keep coming back until I have won. "It has been tough on and off the pitch because of certain situations, but I have got to be strong because I have two little boys and a wife to look after. When I am down they pick me up and when they are down, I pick them up. My family are number one and football is number two. That's the way it is and will always be."
Demonstrating that he is a modern, loving husband and father undoubtedly helped to win round the public after 1998. But by far the most important factor was the sheer brilliance of his football and the obvious enthusiasm he brought to the captaincy. David Beckham will not be remembered or judged by anyone for taking his children to the park but for his own exploits on it and he might be a happier man if he addressed that part of his life rather than the supermarket run.
PRINCE CHARLES & SONS WEARING STRANGE BRACELETS. Glasgow Mail, Jun 27, 2004
Prince Charles and his two sons are wearing Kabbalah-style friendship bracelets as a symbol of their love for one another. The next three heirs to the throne have been spotted sporting mysterious matching bands on their right wrists. The string-like bracelets bear a striking resemblance to those worn by the followers of the trendy cult Kabbalah. Kabbalah, a mystic offshoot of Judaism, is the favoured faith of the London and Hollywood A-list. Followers Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Britney Spears, Demi Moore and David Beckham all wear a wool band round their wrists.
Prince Charles, 55, who has said he wants to be the defender of all faiths, was pictured wearing a string band. Similar bracelets were also clearly visible on Prince William, 22, and 19-year-old Harry's wrists earlier this month, when they attended the funeral of their grandmother, Frances Shand Kydd. Wills' band was visible under his sleeve during the service in Oban.
Why the trio wear the bands remains a mystery although one Royal biographer last night said they are 'friendship bands'. Royal author Ingrid Seward said the bands may be a secret bond among Charles, William and Harry. She revealed it is also possible the boys had given their father a bracelet as a token of their love for him. Ingrid, author of the bestseller William and Harry, said: 'The significance of these friendship bracelets rests on the colours used and the way they are plaited. For instance, yellow means friendship and red, love. How they are woven also has significance. 'It is not given lightly to somebody. It may be a symbol of the bond between them or a lucky charm for polo. 'But it is certainly interesting Charles as well as the boys is wearing them.'
As the future head of the Church of England, the Prince is unlikely to attach any religious significance to the bands. But HRH is known to take an interest in Buddhism and is a good friend of the Dalai Lama. Last night, a spokeswomen for the Palace said the bands were gifts to the Princes but denied they had any spiritual significance. Prince Charles' ex-girlfriend Sabrina Guinness is a follower of Kabbalah. The drinks empire heiress, who is one of the religions most avid followers, appears on the website for the Kabbalah Centre in LA.
50-ft poster of David Beckham in underpants ad. Daily Mail, Jun 12, 2009
This is quite a scene. Inch by wonderfully buffed and oiled inch, David Beckham is being unveiled to thousands of screaming women, and quite a few extremely excited men, in the street outside Selfridges in London. First, there's a glimpse of a muscular hand clasping a thick, hairy rope. Then a heavily tattooed arm, a bit more rope, the top of his new, dark, slicked-down hairstyle and fantastically moody brows. Next, in almost indecent haste, come eyes, nose, sultry mouth and the craggiest of chins, followed by the smoothest of gleaming shoulders, a few more tattoos which probably say something mystical in ancient Hebrew script, and a truly astonishing set of abs - 'that's not a six-pack, that's an eight-pack', screams the middle-aged woman clutching a John Lewis bag standing next to me....
Madonna: The Kabbalah foretold Obama presidency. AllNewsWeb, Dec 12, 2008
PEOPLES' PRINCESS & PRINCESS'S PEOPLE
** Oh Becks! America hardly knew ye. AP, Sep 1, 2007
CARSON, Calif. - So much for David Beckham's debut season in America. It's all but over now that the 32-year-old English midfielder is out six weeks with a sprained right knee, to go along with his famously injured left ankle. His absence not only dampens U.S. enthusiasm for soccer — already on life support — but leaves England's national team without its former captain for a crucial stretch and threatens to deflate the Hollywood hype that elevated Becks and his Spice Girl wife to A-list celebrities...For his time — 310 minutes in six of 12 possible games — Beckham earned $20,967 a minute from a yearly salary of $6.5 million. His minutes in three MLS games totaled 198, worth $32,828 a minute....Beckham's inability to play will impact everyone around him, according to marketing consultant Ryan Schinman, president of Platinum Rye Entertainment. "The Galaxy, the stadium, the city, the concession stands, the merchandising will all be affected. And the networks showing the games," said Schinman, who works with music and sports celebrities. "You want the guy out there, where he's visible, every week." But Brand Beckham — which includes his endorsements for fragrance and apparel — will hold up despite his setbacks...."Beckham's injuries have not altered the fact that he's an incredibly handsome and attractive man," he said. "These injuries don't impair how he looks when he's photographed."...But losing the world's most famous soccer player impacts more than just the Galaxy, though. Beckham will miss England's two Euro 2008 qualifying matches against Israel and Russia in London in early September, and possibly two more in October....
* Beckham exhibition photo defaced. BBC, Jun 29, 2004
The words "you loosers" were scrawled in red pen across the five-foot high picture of the England captain at the Royal Academy of Arts' Fifa 100 show. The words "Beckham and Meier, you loosers" were also scribbled on a wall opposite a picture of Pele.The graffiti is an apparent reference to Swiss referee Urs Meier who disallowed a last-minute England goal in their quarter-final against Portugal. The misspelling of 'losers' may have been a reference to Rebecca Loos, whose claims of an affair with Beckham made headlines earlier this year.
10.The Rulers and 35.The Brotherhood and 17.Falsification of Past
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