Is Kabbalah the Answer?Karen Berg, the woman who pushed to make the spiritual teachings available to women and author of God Wears Lipstick talks to wOw about the power of spirituality, why celebrities are drawn to Kabbalah, why sex is better between Kabbalists and more.
Editor's Note: Karen Berg is credited with her husband Rav Berg as the driving force behind the national and global expansion of The Kabbalah Center. For the last 40 years, Karen has become a visionary spiritual leader and an inspiration to a countless number of people around the world for her passion about the spiritual teachings and her devotion to children's organizations in the U.S. and abroad. Here, she talks to wowOwow about how she is changing the world -- one child at a time. She also addresses several aspects of Kabbalah -- including misconceptions, celebrity appeal, how it can help a recent pink-slipped executive and why sex is better between two believers.
KAREN BERG: Hello.
wOw: Hi, Karen. I'm glad I finally get to speak with you. I've heard you've been very busy. What have you been up to?
KAREN: We have centers all over the world, and my job is to sort of do peace-making among them, as well as doing other things, you know, Spirituality for Kids, and things that I really love to do. So I was in Israel, and from there, to Los Angeles, and from Los Angeles to Miami, and from there San Paolo, and Rio, to open new centers. And that's what I'm up to.
wOw: You just spoke about Israel. Spirituality for Kids Foundation had a big opening recently in Israel.
KAREN: In Israel there's a Spirituality for Kids program that we call Kids Creating Peace, which puts together Arab Jews, Jews and Christian kids. And basically it's a program to have dialogue among the different branches, to teach kids that children are the same, and to try to integrate the ideas of human dignity so that they can work together and play together. We do it through a play program. There's something new. This is something that I'm telling you, that it's just an idea that's brewing and hasn't happened yet. Jerusalem is sort of the spiritual center of the world for most peoples of the Christian world - certainly for the Jewish world and for the Muslim. Everybody has always fought over this little piece of land. Our idea is to form a foundation particularly for Jerusalem in which we can build a center of like-minded kids and people to work together through sports, through entertainment, through activities. And to bring Arab Jews and Jews and all the kids together, but in Jerusalem. That's a new thing. This is something that we haven't done before. It's just an idea that I hope will flourish into something really beautiful.
wOw: And these would be Palestinians and Israelis?
KAREN: Yes. Palestinians, Israelis ...
wOw: Jews and Muslims?
wOw: And what do you hope to achieve with this? Do you foresee the children growing up to be adults, and as adults, they would be respectful of one another?
KAREN: Can you imagine what would happen? Let's say one of our kids becomes a Palestinian leader 15 years from today, and he has learned and worked together with Jewish kids in the same place, and they find like-mindedness. Or one of them grows up to be a leader in Israel? It can change the way they look at each other and their appreciation for each other.
You know, we never know how far one life can go. So that's the idea: to approach and to create a place where children can work together regardless of their racial differences, or religious differences, that, you know, we do believe that God is one and his light is in everybody. And each one has to be mindful and respectful of that light, regardless. And that's part of the idea of what we call "the good guy inside." We teach the kids that there are two parts - you know, one is the good guy and the other guy is the "Take it. Take whatever you can." And they learn through discussions, through games and through playing with each other, that children are the same. I'll just give you an idea. We once had a camp, a few years back (every year we do a camp), and we take children from all over the world and bring them together at different places to do a kids' camp. So one year it was in Israel and there was a Jewish kid -- I think it was a Jewish kid -- who didn't want to play with the group because of the prejudices of his parents. And through the coaxing of the teachers (our teachers are Arab, too) his perspective changed. You know, we have our teachers - we have Jewish teachers, Arab teachers, who not only teach but lead our groups. And we also work with the Boy Scouts of Israel. It took a week for this child to feel like he became part of the group. At the end of the week he went over to his teacher and said, "You know, this is sort of like rain - you know, clouds - and then rain, and then rainbow." So the teacher says, "What are you talking about?" He says, "Well, you know, sometimes when you have clouds and they bang together, and we get rain, and then after the rain there's always a rainbow." He says, "Can you imagine if me and our friends here really work together and maybe we'd learn to live together and, who knows, maybe we'd even have peace."
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Rinse and repeat.