On Kabbalah Pilgrimage, Pop Icon Madonna Meets Peres

Singer who attended Jewish mysticism conference visits President at Jerusalem residence.

Pop celebrity Madonna met President Shimon Peres on Saturday during a visit to Israel to attend a conference on Jewish mysticism. She was seen entering the home of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate in Jerusalem after Jewish New Year festivities finished sunset Saturday.

Madonna had requested the meeting with Peres, who presented her with a copy of the Old Testament. The meeting was closed to the press.

Madonna joined in a Kabbalah conference on Friday in Tel Aviv to celebrate the Jewish New Year.

She sang Jewish songs with the crowd of hundreds at the David Intercontinental Hotel where the conference on Jewish mysticism was being held.

At one point she pressed another participant - apparently a friend of hers - up to the front where he danced excitedly, making her and the crowd giggle and clap enthusiastically.

The 49-year-old diva was wearing a black jacket with elbow-length sleeves held at the waist with a belt with a large buckle. She also donned a baseball-type hat in red and black with her hair in a ponytail.

The singer arrived in Israel Wednesday night on a private visit and did not speak to the media. The Kabbalah conference she attended was closed to TV cameras. Madonna's husband, Guy Ritchie was photographed swimming in the sea in front of the Tel Aviv hotel where the couple stayed.

Actress Demi Moore and her husband, Ashton Kutcher, were also attending the conference in Tel Aviv, and were seen out on the city streets Thursday night.

Other U.S. celebrities in attendance included TV personality Rosie O'Donnell and fashion designer Donna Karan. Karan was also photographed on a Tel Aviv beach during her stay.

Madonna Louise Ciccone Ritchie was raised a Roman Catholic, but she has become a follower of Jewish mysticism in recent years, raising the ire of many Orthodox Jews who see the adoption of Kabbalah by non-Jewish pop figures as an abomination.

The singer has taken the Jewish name Esther, and has been seen wearing a red thread on her wrist to ward off the evil eye. During her visit she plans to visit sites sacred to Kabbalists.

Madonna paid her first visit to Israel three years ago, on another Kabbalah-centered trip.

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