Nov 012010
Authors: Vashti Batjargal

Followers of Kabbalah can be found wearing a red bracelet with the purpose of warding off the “evil eye.”

Often celebrities who self-identify as disciples, like Madonna, Britney Spears, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, wear the red bracelet as part of the superstitious teachings of Kabbalah.

“The Kabbalah Center (of Los Angeles) takes the superstitious elements of Kabbalah and popularizes them,” said Ben Newman, rabbi of Congregation Har Shalom.
Newman presented “The Ancient Wisdom of Kabbalah” to a crowd of 18 students Monday as part of the Fort Collins Theologian in Residence Program.

The presentation, co-sponsored by CSU’s Jewish ministry Hillel, is the third in a series of four speeches attempting to show students that faith and university life can come together.

“The mission of our organization is to unite faith and reason and to show that the university and church are compatible,” said Jared Orsi, an associate professor of history and president of the Theologian in Residence Program.

Kabbalah literally translates to “that which is received” or “receipt” from Hebrew and is a form of mystic Judaism that refers to the esoteric wisdom that provides a connection between the individual and God.

It’s the core of Judaism, said Orsi, and it explores the relationship God has with the universe.

Having a direct experience with God is a form of enlightenment, he said. In order to experience that enlightenment, there must be a balance.

“God flows through the four worlds of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual self,” Newman said. “If there is a block, (it can result in a person) becoming unbalanced and unhealthy.”

“I’ve heard variation of the same idea through Judaic studies,” said Debi Schrimmer, a junior apparel and merchandising major and president of Hillel.

The ability to balance the different aspect of life and put equal energy into developing the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual self, Schrimmer said, is an idea that can resonate with students across the board.

“It’s about balancing the animal side of me with my spiritual side,” Schrimmer said. “It’s about expressing things in another way than in the vulgarity of an animal –– to channel that in a more positive way.”

Staff writer Vashti Batjargal can be reached at

  • What: “Shopping for God: The Challenges to Christianity of our Consumerist, Technology Driven Culture”
  • Who: Richard
  • When and where:
  • 9:45 to 11 a.m. on Dec. 5 at Blessed John XXIII University Student Commons, 1220 University Ave.
  • 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 at First United Methodist Church, 1005 Stover St.
  • Noon on Dec. 6 on campus
 Posted by at 5:49 pm

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