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New York Post vs. Kabbalah Centre

The New York Post had a package on Sunday taking aim at the Kabbalah Centre.

Allan Nadler, director of the Jewish studies program at Drew University, wrote an piece slamming the take on Jewish mysticism being sold to and sold by celebrities:

It is a vulgar distortion and shamelessly self-promoting abuse, by Hollywood’s Kabbalah Centre, of an ancient, noble and highly esoteric canon of Jewish mystical teachings.

Real kabbalah followers quietly devote themselves to the study of the sacred Hebrew and Aramaic texts of the Torah and rabbinical literature, and their profound teachings about the nature of God.

The two most prominent principles of real kabbalah, shared by all devotees, is a strong reticence, bordering on secrecy, and a stoically unforgiving denial of the basest yearnings of their egos, to say nothing of their loins.

Hollywood kabbalah is directed to our basest and most narcissistic impulses – its barely literate books and Web site are filled with breathless promises of eternal bliss and every imaginable form of personal gratification.

However well reasoned and written, Nadler’s piece will probably do little to slow the Kabbalah Centre. But the other main article – shining a light on the center’s 10 free parking passes – could prove to be quite a nuisance:

There are about 400 permits given annually to clergy and houses of worship, but religious groups usually get just one or two such passes – not 10. So far, the city has no plans to cut the number of placards given to private groups as prescribed by city law, a City Hall spokesman said.

But with the city slashing the number of placards given to its workers, it’s time to take a hard look at other groups who get the benefit, said Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group critical of placard abuse.

“There really can’t be any rationale for giving parking perks to private citizens,” Norvell said. “It doesn’t make sense. These sorts of permits should be at the top of the chopping block.”

City officials initially denied that religious institutions, including the Kabbalah Centre, got the plum passes.

“They have to be fakes,” a spokesman insisted.

The following day – after The Post provided photos of the parking permits in cars left outside the center – officials admitted that the center was given the permits.

Several of the cars sat outside the center for nearly six hours, violating the permits’ three-hour limit.

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