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Madonna News - September 2004

Madonna is to play Ibiza ?

Great news for end-of-season holidaymakers – Madonna is to play Ibiza. The 46-year-old mum-of-two is expected to perform with Groove Armada at the closing party at Space nightclub on the island this week.
The Armada – who lit up the charts with I See You Baby – recently remixed Madge’s single Music. Our source tells us: “No one knows what they’ll be performing together but as long as the final arrangements are made then it’s sure to be a spectacular show.”
The mother of Re-invention strikes again.
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Madonna finds Safety and Spirituality in Israel

Whether she goes by Madonna or her recently adopted Hebrew name, Esther, a mere mention of the pop superstar’s name has the power to inspire a following throughout the Western world. Last week, Madonna did just that when she spent the Rosh Hashana / Jewish New Year of 5765 in Israel. Eager to study Kabbalah and experience the roots of its mystical tradition, Madonna made a pilgrimage to Israel along with 2,000 of her fellow students of Kabbalah from 22 countries.
Her visit included a quick stop at the Western Wall, a trip to the grave of the great Kabbalist Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag, and a special bequest of a Byzantine-era oil lamp and a coin by Israel’s Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra.
Madonna is flanked by Israel’s Minister of Tourism, Mr. Gideon Ezra (right) and Minister of Industry, Mr. Ehud Olmert. Mr. Ezra presented her with an antique coin and oil lamp from the Byzantine-era on Sunday.
“I would like to say how happy I am to be back in Israel,” Madonna said. “I couldn’t think of a better place to end my tour, and I promise not to stay away for another 10 years. To be perfectly honest, I was a bit hesitant to come here after seeing so many news reports about terrorist attacks and reading countless travel safety warnings about how dangerous it is to be here if you are an American. I realize now that it is no more dangerous to be here than it is to be in New York. And I would like to emphasize the fact that I feel very safe and very welcome. The most dangerous thing that I have encountered since coming here are a few very naughty paparazzi waiting outside my hotel.”
Dani Shahal, Director, Israel Government Tourist Office – Canada, commented, “I praise Madonna’s passionate comments about how warmly she was welcomed and how safe she felt while on her visit”?. Rami Levi, Head of Marketing Administration – Israel Ministry of Tourism, echoed Madonna’s sentiments and extends a welcome to other celebrities to follow in her footsteps. “We are thrilled that a cultural icon like Madonna chose to visit Israel, and that she felt secure, despite some initial apprehension,” he said. “Over the past year, we have welcomed Chris Noth, Richard Gere, Eric Braeden, and Whitney Houston, to name a select few. And upon their return, each has marveled at his or her profoundly, life-altering experience in the Holy Land. We will continue to embrace celebrities who come forth and testify to the magnificent beauty, hospitality and sense of safety that Israel and its people have to offer.”

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Paparazzi bring Madonna to tears in Israel!

Pop icon Madonna was reportedly reduced to tears after being hounded by the paparazzi during her pilgrimage to Israel, while her husband, British director Guy Ritchie, called the photographers “f-ers”.
Not only was she surrounded by photographers throughout her Kabbalah trip, she also had to cancel a visit to the Western Wall, which is one of the holiest Judaism sites in Jerusalem, and was forced to visit the tomb of a Jewish mystic in the middle of the night.
“Madge was in tears, she was devastated,” the New York Daily News quoted an insider as saying.
source : ani

In Israel, Madonna Finds Little Solitude

Madonna wanted to see Israel, and Israelis yearned to see Madonna. But in the end, each side managed only a glimpse of the other.
Madonna came to Israel with some 2,000 fellow followers of cabala, a form of Jewish mysticism, and spent most of her five days here holed up in the luxury David Inter-Continental Hotel, across the street from the Tel Aviv beachfront.
Her planned tour of Jewish holy sites was curtailed, most notably in the early hours of Sunday, when her heavily guarded convoy pulled into the stone plaza near the Western Wall in Jerusalem around 1:30 a.m. Despite the hour, a large gathering of Jewish worshipers were taking part in prayers linked to the Jewish New Year, which fell last week. In addition, several dozen photographers were prowling the grounds. Madonna looked out the darkened windows of her van for several minutes as the crowd gathered around. The van then drove off without Madonna’s ever opening the door.
Secular Israelis have been starved for big-name international acts in recent years and were ready to embrace Madonna, who sang here in 1993. But she came to pray, not to perform. She and her husband, the British filmmaker Guy Ritchie, took part in cabala sessions in the hotel’s conference room, which was converted into a synagogue, with segregated men’s and women’s sections.
Madonna’s only formal public appearance came Sunday night, when the Los Angeles-based Kabbalah Center, which organized the trip, staged a children’s program at the hotel that featured Jewish and Arab youths and drew more than 1,000 guests, including Israeli government officials.
“I was a bit hesitant to come here after seeing so many news reports about terrorist attacks,” said Madonna, wearing a low-cut dress with a black and white leopard print. “I realize now that it is no more dangerous to be here than it is to be in New York.”
Madonna has been exploring cabala since 1997 and now dresses and often performs with symbols of Judaism and cabala. She sometimes wears a Jewish star and often has a red thread on her wrist, a cabala trademark intended to ward off the evil eye.
When she visited a Tel Aviv restaurant, she wore a glittery necklace with a large letter E, apparently a reference to her recent adaptation of the biblical Jewish name Esther. But Madonna said she was not representing a religion. “I’m here as a student of cabala,” she said. “A cabalist sees the world as a unified whole. A cabalist asks why. A cabalist believes that he or she has the responsibility to make the world a better place.”
The Israeli government seized on the singer’s visit for tourism promotion, and Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra presented her with a Byzantine-era oil lamp and a coin on Sunday. Earlier he had suggested that it would be helpful if Madonna would pose for a picture with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, though there was no sign that this materialized.
Madonna arrived in Israel on Wednesday night, at the beginning of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and organizers had announced planned visits to several religious shrines. But whenever she tried to venture out, she found herself surrounded. After the Friday night dinner in Tel Aviv, two of her bodyguards were arrested after scuffling with and injuring two photographers.
Just after midnight Saturday, she made a pilgrimage to the Jerusalem grave site of the cabalist sage Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag. Madonna and her husband, with police and photographers in tow, spent more than an hour inside the stone mausoleum. She prayed, chanted and placed candles on the tomb, and shortly before leaving wiped tears from her eyes.
Afterward, she made her abbreviated trip to the Western Wall, the holiest site for Jewish prayer. Other planned visits, including a trip to the tomb of the biblical matriarch Rachel, which is in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem in the West Bank, never took place.
While Madonna has studied cabala for seven years, there are still plenty of skeptics questioning her commitment to a form of study traditionally reserved for men over 40 who have mastered the Torah and the Talmud. “It is forbidden to teach a non-Jew cabala,” Yitzhak Kadouri, a leading cabalist, recently told the Israeli newspaper Maariv.
But the Kabbalah Center says the cabala is open to all.
source : nytimes

Let’s end the hatred

Madonna’s visit to Israel goes on making the headlines on newspapers worldwide. This comes from the London edition of Metro
“Madonna called for world peace yesterday at a conference on Jewish mysticism in Israel. The Kabbalah devotee and her husband, film-maker Guy Ritchie, attended the event in Tel Aviv as part of a five-day visit to the Holy Land with 2,000 students of Kabbalah.
She admitted to the 1,000-strong gathering she was hesitant to come to Israel ‘after seeing so many news reports about terror attacks’ and reading official travel warnings.
‘I realise now that it is no more dangerous to be here than it is to be in New York,’ she said. Madonna said the people she met during her visit ‘have one thing in common – we want to create peace in the world’. She added: ‘We want to put an end to hatred with no reason.’
Earlier, Madonna made a pilgrimage to the grave of a Jewish sage and saw the sacred Western Wall. Israel hopes the star – the biggest pop celebrity to visit in years – will revive tourism battered by four years of Middle East violence. But some have opposed her visit and involvement in Kabbalah, a type of Jewish mysticism that has a growing celebrity following. Critics say the raunchy, materialistic values the singer has promoted in the past are contrary to religious values.
Madonna, who has adopted the Hebrew name Esther and wears a Kabbalah red string on her wrist, insists she is serious about her belief.”
source : metro

Madonna to receive Byzantine period gift from Israel

Israeli Tourism Minister Gidon Ezra is planning to present American singer Madonna with an oil lamp and a coin from the Byzantine Period in honor of her current visit to the country. Madonna’s name and that of her husband, director Guy Ritchie is inscribed on the box holding the rare items, according to the Tourism Ministry. The icon is here with thousands of other Kabbala devotees for a 5-day learning seminar based in Tel Aviv organized by the Kabbala Center. The Tourism Minister said that Madonna’s visit to Israel is very important for promoting tourism to Israel and that attention to her visit in the international media will strengthen the flow of tourists to the country and awareness of Israel as a tourist destination. Late Saturday night, Madonna and her entourage made a pilgrimage to a Jerusalem cemetery, holding a mystical candlelit ceremony at the grave of a Jewish sage. Following her graveside visit, Madonna went to the Western Wall.
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Madonna’s Pilgrimage Plea for World Peace

Pop diva Madonna today called for world peace at a conference on Jewish mysticism a highlight of her five-day pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
Israel hopes the star the biggest pop celebrity to visit in years will revive tourism battered by four years of Mideast violence, and government officials were on hand at a Tel Aviv hotel to share the spotlight, the glory and the photographs.
Madonna, wearing a low-cut dress with a black and white leopard pattern, said she was hesitant to come to Israel after seeing so many news reports about terror attacks, and reading State Department travel warnings.
“I realise now that it is no more dangerous to be here than it is to be in New York,” she told the gathering.
At the gala event, an Israeli childrens choir and a Palestinian sang to the gathering of more than 1,000 people. Israeli Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra presented Madonna with a small gift and praised her for coming to Israel.
Ezra told Israel TV that he looked forward to sitting next to her at dinner and hoped “she will say nice things about us”.
Tourism officials hope the singer’s well-publicised visit to Israel will calm fears that have kept many potential tourists away from the Holy Land, despite its religious and other attractions.
Speaking without notes, Madonna said the people she met during her five-day Holy Land trip have one thing in common we want to create peace in the world.
We want to put an end to chaos and suffering, she said, but most of all we want to put an end to hatred with no reason.
The singer said she was not representing a religion. Rather, she said: I’m here as a student of Kabbalah. A Kabbalist sees the world as a unified whole. A Kabbalist asks why.
While many Israelis welcomed the singer and her entourage, others were uncomfortable with the mission.
Over the years, observant Jews have considered Kabbalah a powerful, even potentially dangerous undertaking to be tackled only by the most qualified and learned men. Now, many Orthodox Jews reject the adoption of Kabbalah by non-Jewish pop figures as a desecration of the holy.
Earlier today, Madonna went to the Kiryat Shaul cemetery outside Tel Aviv to visit the grave of a famous Jewish mysticist.
Guarded by police, Madonna and husband, Guy Ritchie, walked past rows of tombstones to the grave of the Kabbalist sage Rabbi Yehuda Ashlag.
Polish born Ashlag is the renowned author of the Sulam, the ladder, a commentary on the core Kabbalistic text, the Zohar. He died in 1954.
Madonna, wearing jeans, a black and grey checked sweater with a matching cap and a large diamond encrusted letter E on a chain to symbolise her adopted name Esther, spent more than an hour inside the stone mausoleum, placing candles on the tomb, praying and chanting.
Led by a rabbi, Madonna and her small entourage recited blessings over food and wine, drank from small plastic cups and circled the raised stone grave. Toward the end of the ceremony, Madonna wiped tears from her eyes.
Adherents of Jewish mysticism believe that praying at the graves of sages can help achieve one’s wishes. Millions make pilgrimages every year to the more than 100 of these burial sites across the Holy Land, praying for health, children or to find a mate.
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Ultra-Orthodox prevent Madonna from visiting Western Wall

Since landing in Israel to attend a Kabalah conference, mega-star singer Madonna has managed to stir quite a bit of commotion. Last night, hundreds of ultra-Orhotox Jews prevented her from visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
While approaching the area, her convoy was surrounded by hundreds of Orthodox men who chanted Shabbis (Sabbath in Yiddish). Police did not take any chances and refused to allow her passage. Thousands of religious Jews pray at the Wall every night ahead of Yom Kippur (day of fasting to repent sins).
Madonna’s private Boeing 737-800 arrived in Israel on the eve of Rosh Hashana (Jewish new year). She was then escorted to the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv.
The majority of her visit is defined as private, but tonight she is expected to take part and perhaps even deliver an address before an official event of the Children’s Spirituality Fund, which is to take place at her hotel.
Over 2,400 people, including Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie, attended Sabbath prayers. She was also present during Torah reading, the blowing of the Shofar and her spiritual mentor’s lecture.
On Friday, the conference’s participants performed the ritual of Tashlich, but Madonna or Esther (her Kabalah name) did not take part. However, her husband, Ritchie, joined the worshipers.
According to the organizers of the event, Madonna’s presence isn’t causing a great deal of commotion as expected. Fellow conference participants are acting as usual while organizers insisted there have not been any special problems.
However, during a visit to a Tel Aviv restaurant, a brawl erupted between Madonna’s bodyguards and several paparazzi photographers who tried to get close. As a result, several photographers sustained light injuries and were evacuated to a Tel Aviv hospital for further treatment.
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