October 4, 2013 |
Madonna dares to reveal one very personal truth in an essay for "The Daring Issue" of Harper's Bazaar: When she was young and trying to make it in New York City, she was raped at knifepoint. The pop diva tosses off the information almost as an aside, as if it's something she has compartmentalized over time. "New York wasn't everything I thought it would be," she writes . "It did not welcome me with open arms. The first year, I was held up at gunpoint. Raped on the roof of a building I was dragged up to with a knife in my back, and had my apartment broken into three times.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 17, 2013 |
On a trip to Israel in 1964, Philip Berg, a high-flying insurance salesman from Brooklyn, crossed paths with an aging rabbi renowned for his grasp of kabbalah, an esoteric strain of Jewish mysticism. Neither Berg nor kabbalah would ever be the same. The organization he founded after returning to the United States, now known as the Kabbalah Centre, transformed a field once reserved for the most elite of Orthodox yeshiva scholars into a lucrative pop culture phenomenon. His new-age repackaging of the ancient wisdom of the Torah was embraced by many gentiles and celebrities, including Berg's most famous student, Madonna, but his approach was derided by mainstream Judaism as superficial and inauthentic.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 3, 2012 |
Federal authorities have taken over an investigation into the management of an elderly heiress' fortune by a key figure at the Kabbalah Centre, police said Tuesday. A supervisor with the Palos Verdes Estates Police Department, which had led a criminal probe into the handling of the housebound widow's affairs, said the department turned over files concerning her longtime business manager, John E. Larkin, to federal agents last month. Sgt. Steve Barber declined to name the agency but said its focus was "financial activities" involving the 88-year-old heiress, Susan Strong Davis, and Larkin, a veteran Hollywood business manager who helps oversee the Kabbalah Centre's money.
June 1, 2012
"Hatfields & McCoys" fired off its last rounds with another ratings record. History's three-part miniseries about the 19th century clan feud starring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton drew 14.3 million viewers for its final episode Wednesday night, making it the most-watched scripted entertainment program in the history of basic cable TV, according to Nielsen. In fact, all three parts of the miniseries now occupy the Top 3 spots in the cable record books. Monday's premiere drew 13.9 million, while Tuesday's middle chapter gathered a clan of 13.1 million.
April 9, 2012 |
Susan Strong Davis, an 87-year-old widow, spends the day inside her Palos Verdes Estates home, tended round-the-clock by nurse's aides. For company, relatives say, she has her dog, the television and, on increasingly rare occasions, memories of the glamorous socialite's life she once lived. "She definitely has some sort of dementia," said Viki Brushwood, a niece who visited from Texas in December. "I don't know if it's Alzheimer's or what. She is somebody who is not making decisions anymore.
October 18, 2011 |
Jewish mysticism is the spiritual bedrock of the Kabbalah Centre, but its finances are built on real estate investments, donations and the marketing of religious books, classes and merchandise. As a tax-exempt religious organization, the center is not required to disclose any aspect of its finances, which are under investigation by the IRS. But public records, lawsuits and a former high-ranking employee's resume all provide glimpses of its balance sheet and business dealings. An online resume posted by Nelson Boord Jr., a former chief financial officer who left the center in 2009, said it had annual revenue of $60 million, a $60-million investment fund and $200 million in real estate holdings around the world.