29 November 2003

ISFSP Praises U.S. Government in Denial of "Kabbalah Centre" Trademark


Contact: [email protected] [ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS HERE 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]

The International Society for Sephardic Progress (ISFSP) praises the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the U.S. Commissioner for Trademarks and Henry S. Zak, examining attorney. Together the aforementioned have refused to allow a quasi-Jewish cult in Los Angeles known as the Kabbalah Centre to trademark and exploit a traditional item of the Jewish religion.

The Kabbalah Centre operated by Philip Berg (formerly Feivel Gruberger) and his wife Karen, applied for a patent and trademark on "red string bracelets." Their application demonstrates they planned to exclusively own red string bracelets--then would sell them for profit. Though they sell in Israel for about $.20 cents (1 Sheqel), it was recently reported the Kabbalah Centre in Los Angeles sells them for an incredible $26.00 USD each.

Similar stunts exploiting Judaism have been committed before. Berg exploited the Zohar, a holy book of Judaism which was revealed to the world in Spain by a Sephardic Jew named Moses de Leon in the 14th century. Berg would sell an expensive set of the books to his "students," then he would teach them to scan the book with their finger tips. The Zohar, written in Aramaic, is read according to the Kabbalah Centre by looking at the letters without needing to know their meaning. The Kabbalah Centre also invented allegedly curative drinking water called Kabbalah™ Mountain Spring Water which is said to be "blessed" by Berg.

It should be known the Chief Rabbi, the Bet Din [Jewish religious court] of Johannesburg, and the Rabbinical Association of South Africa, also "issued decrees of condemnation against the Kabbalah Centre." The Toronto Vaad HaRabanim [rabbinical council] and the Queens Vaad HaRabanim "issued statements to the public about avoiding the learning in Kabbalah Centres as well as purchasing books which were on the market." The New York Jewish Community Task Force on Missionaries and Cults, the Canadian Jewish Congress, and the Cult Clinic Hotline of New York have all received complaints and/or cited problems with the "Kabbalah Centre".

Most importantly, in Israel, the world's leading Kabbalist, Harav Kadouri shelit'a, issued a statement saying, "Whomever is supporting Mr. Berg financially or otherwise, or any of his affiliated organizations is endangering his soul."

The International Society for Sephardic Progress thus commends the decision of the United States Government to turn down the application for trademark #76/490387. The decision was a wise one, a sensible one, and a practical one.


The International Society for Sephardic Progress (ISFSP) is a Jewish agency developed to serve the Sephardic community--the descendants of the Jews of historic Spain, Portugal, North Africa and the Levant who share both common religious and cultural bonds. Although based in the United States, the ISFSP is an advocacy organization representing Sephardim internationally. The ISFSP also functions to produce high quality Jewish educational projects which will educate the public on the rich Sephardic Jewish communities, past and present.

The ISFSP is a a non-profit organization.


An official primer and fact sheet on what Kabbalah actually is, produced for the media by an authentic Jewish organization

U.S. Commissioner for Trademarks

Kosher Kabbalah

Kabbalah Center Watch


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