We’ve heard Madonna talk about it, we’ve seen Britney Spears show off her T-shirts and now Kabbalah has hit closer to home as more and more MSU students are showing an interest in this ancient Jewish mysticism of self-healing.
Kabbalah means at which has been received. People have begun studying it as a way to balance out their lives in four main areas: physically, emotionally, mentally and spitually.
The goal of learning these mystical teachings from the Old Testament is aimed at enhancing the good, eliminating the negative, quieting, restructuring and reprogramming the mind.
However, learning the ropes of Kabbalah does not commit one to converting to Judaism. The teachings use words from the Old Testament to form a 12-step course. Another way to look at Kabbalah is as a method of increasing brain capacity and organizing thoughts.
For Sarah Levin, audiology and speech sciences junior, Kabbalah has made a significant change for the better in her life. “I have noticed a change in myself all together,” Levin said. “It is hard for me to pinpoint one exact aspect of my life that has changed. I’m just generally happier.”
Not only are adults educating themselves in Kabbalah, but students here at MSU are actively participating as well. Karen Greenberg, a Kabbalah instructor in Ann Arbor, travels to MSU to teach a group of ten girls. They meet at someone’s apartment for three hours, once a month, for a year.
“Since I’ve been doing it, I’ve realized how to make myself happier. I figured out what my faults are and what I need to do in order to solve them effectively,” said Amy Cosola, a communications junior and member of a Kabbalah class.
[hard] “Once someone has achieved this balance, it is likely they will grow to lead a happy, successful and prosperous life,” said Greenberg.
Although, the teachings of Kabbalah are from ancient Jewish mysticism, it does not mean that it is for Jewish people only. It is the study of the tree of life which makes it universal and great to share with everyone.
“Kabbalah being a Hollywood trend is weird, yet interesting,” Kirsten Fermaglich, assistant professor of history and Jewish studies, said. “I look at it as a different entrance into Jewish life.” Greenberg agrees that people seeing Kabbalah as a way to help their life is a good thing, and celebrites such as Madonna and Britney Spears are only publicizing it.
The red string is one of main components of people participating in Kabbalah. A $26 red string bracelet blocks out demons and potential threats. \”The purpose of the Red String bracelet is for protection,\” Greenberg said. \”The idea of it is to protect against danger, evil and negativity. Nobody really knows how long it has been around but many believe that it has been passed down by old traditional scholars.”
[holly] Currently, there are no designated Kabbalah centers here in Michigan, but there are other alternatives to finding that inner peace. Barnes and Noble, 333 E. Grand River Ave. in East Lansing, has a large selection of books, DVD’s and CD’s that can help to enhance your learning.
As for whether or not the “trend” of Kabbalah weakens its integrity, it does teach a person how to go through life in different steps. “If you obey the steps, you see the changes,” Cosola said. “Every month you seem to get more spirituality out of it. It’s really amazing, a great thing.”
Whether Kabbalah is a fad or the real deal, it is aimed at everyone. It requires self-discipline and dedication. Whether you read about it, listen to it or take a class on it, there is nothing wrong with wanting to organize and improve your life. So, go ahead, get a red bracelet and find yourself.

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