Rabbi Philip Berg, rabbi to the stars and dean of the Kabbalah Centre, died on Monday, the new age center for Jewish mysticism announced on their website. According to the Kabbalah Centre he was 86-years-old, though the Los Angeles Times reported that he was in fact 84.
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Rabbi Berg, born in New York, began studying Judaism in Israel but became active in the U.S. in the 1960s. He was appointed head of the Kabbalah Centre in 1969. His unique strength lay in his ability to simplify the complex knowledge of kabbalah.
He wrote books outlining Kabbalah Centre founder Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag's thoughts in simple language, and developed a system of study of kabbalah for individuals who did not come from a religious or academic background.
"Kabbalah teaches that the body is an instrument to do the work of the soul in this physical reality," the Kabbalah Centre wrote on its website. "When the body's work is done, the soul travels to the upper worlds to serve without limitation. Today we believe the Rav has begun to share with us from above, and we will all happily remain connected to and inspired by the Rav's soul and his vision."
Over the years, pop icons such as Madonna, Donna Karan, Brittney Spears, Demi Moore, David and Victoria Beckham, Mick Jagger, and Jerry Hall have learned the spiritual teachings of the Zohar from Rabbi Berg.