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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: June 01, 2011 09:05PM

Here are some basic guidelines regarding a potentially unsafe group.

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Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.

2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.

3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.

4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.

5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.

6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.

7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.

8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".

9. The group/leader is always right.

10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.

Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.

1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.

2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.

3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".

4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.

5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.

6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.

7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.

8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.

9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.

10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.

Ten signs of a safe group/leader.

1. A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.

2. A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.

3. A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight.

4. A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not vilify, excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.

5. A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.

6. A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.

7. A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.

8. A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.

9. A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.

10. A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.

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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 01, 2011 10:03PM

And---all the features of a safe group leader remain that way.

RRmoderator stated: " A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight."

A democratic arrangement is insurance against a leader, however excellent, someday being corrupted by the role. Or being replaced by another leader who takes your group in a cultic direction.

In addition to open elections, a board of directors can be part of the democratic process.

Members of the board should not be not be hand picked by the leader. There is too much risk that a leader will surround him or herself with flatterers, rather than persons who tell him what needs to be told.

Members of a board should be elected by secret ballot by members who pay dues and have been members for a specified period of time.

Members should serve time limited terms.

A very good arrangement can be if a member of the board has valued experience he or she can, at end of his or term, go to inactive status as a board member and after a year return to the board. During that time, the inactive board member should understand that if he or she learns anything that applies to the welfare of the group, that he or she should tell the active board members about it.

Problems with Leader Centered Groups

One problem is that a leader with a reputation for sanctity may designate a successor who is unfit for the role. If the deceased leader is considered infallible or a saint, members may hesitate to admit the the successor has become a scoundrel.

I know of a case (non Kabbalah) in which the leader had a reputation as a saint. However, he had a blind spot. This man, appeared to have an affection for younger men who were risk takers, who liked to flout convention. One of his favorites was another leader who liked alcohol women and threw tantrums. The saintly leader appointed a successor who also liked power, celebrity friendships, money and elegant living and who also liked to prey on women. Ten years later, the successor nearly ruined the community that the saintly person had started.

So a saintly leader who is genuinely great may have a liking for persons who act out impulses that the leader would not act out. This is why democratic restrains must be put in place even when one has a leader who seems saintly and accomplishes much.

That is why anything that centers around a leader and assigns infallibility and sanctity to the leader is potentially hazardous, for a virtuous leader may be fallible enough to appoint someone who later abuses the leadership role.

For, keep in mind that leaders may start out very well, but over time, these things might happen. A democratic arrangement is best.

Finally, there is some indication via social psychology research that the leadership role itself can elicit bad behavior even in randomly selected persons and have this effect in just a hour or two.

I call this The Stanford Cookie Experiment


Your leader may be targeted for flattery and takover by others who want access to the leader's disciples and finances. In his early years Maharishi Mahesh Yogi tried to take over a group in London that had been led by Ouspensky and was bereft by Ouspensky's death. The group had money, disciples and human capital. At the last moment, MMY was detected and thwarted, but he took some members with him. Later flattery by certain members who are ambitious and want to take over

They may succumb to flattery by New Age celebrities who are cultic and who look for allies and like to corrupt and suborn others. These richer celebrities will flatter, surround a smaller and less famous leader with attention and deference and this can spoil your groups leader and turn him or her into a tyrant. If your group is not democratic, there will be no restraints in place.

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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 01, 2011 10:15PM

Regarding the statutes

The requirements to attend lessons except for the most serious reasons:

Who is the Bnei Baruch 'Health Department?' is BB some sort of government in its own right? It turns adults into children to tell them they have to get approval of some group created 'Health Department." What if the Health Department is run by a person unqualified or who has become a tyrant?

Why cant a member be trusted to know when he or she is ill and needs absence for medical reasons. Why act like a slave and have to get permission to do something that one doesnt need permission for outside of the group>

This sounds like prison regulations. If someone is committed to Kabbalah or anything else, they should be trusted to have the desire to attend lessons. To make requirements so very heavy would, all by itself create an oppressive atmosphere.

This heavy rule requirement would automatically trigger resistence within the soul of a person, just as the oppression of a jailor or a dictator triggers all sorts of quiet or overt rebellion within a prison. People in prisons will respond to oppressive rules by hiding things in their cells, smuggle in forbidden items, tell subversive jokes.

Persons in any group, even a Kabbalah group that creates prison like attendance requirements will also trigger resentments all the more powerful for being unconscious.

Attendence at classes at medical school is not required. It is assumed that those who want to become physicians will, within themselves have the desire to attend the lectures and clerkships without being ordered around like prison inmates.
One who enters the group has to take upon himself responsibility for the spiritual advancement of the whole group.
One who forgets about his friend even for a moment halts the advancement of the entire group.

"One who enters the group has to take upon himself responsibility for the spiritual advancement of the whole group.

One who forgets about his friend even for a moment halts the advancement of the entire group. "

This to me as a non Kabbalah member, seems guaranteed to induce anxiety that could well create suffering for the member and create an oppressive group atmosphere that would be slavery.

heavy pressure in and of itself. We have agency as individuals, but it invites anxiety and guilt to suggest that we have responsiblity for the spiritual advancement of an entire group.

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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 01, 2011 10:28PM

Even if this applies just to members of the advanced group, it can still have the effect of advanced group members being put under unhealthy pressure.

If a person is advanced enough for Kabbalah study to be a serious focus for them, one should not need all this regulation.

Again no one orders medical students to attend classes. Knowing that someday a person may have a heart attack and may rely on you is reason enough to show up for classes!

If you get bad grades on your tests thats enough to alert the professors that something is going on.

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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 01, 2011 10:35PM

Note: if there is an inner group of advanced students vs an outer group of non advanced members, the board of directors should be democratically elected by all dues paying members, not just those in the advanced group.

Otherwise the board of directors will only be answerable to an inner circle and not serve the entire community. And the board should not all be advanced members, either. A 50 50 split membership of the board between outer circle and inner circle/advanced members is the best insurance.

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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: June 01, 2011 11:03PM

After the group has made a decision, it’s preferable to err together with it than to be right alone.

(Corboy It is exactly this that led to the Shoah.)

• It’s necessary to keep up the spirits of the friends, even artificially

'artificially'--what does that mean?

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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: Igulim ()
Date: June 02, 2011 07:00AM

1 pay their share of the cost of keeping the facility operational (rent, utilities, etc)
2 participate in dissemination in some fashion
3 pay maaser, although there should not be any checking on this - it is between the person and the Creator

Best wishes,

1 There are no rules or proper regulations about that just so paying any taxes is avoided
2 "in some fashion" !!! I know of many people that do not have time to sleep properly let alone have social life of ANY sort . While I was involved in that insanity called "dissemination in order to advance",sometimes it would take 7-8 hours A DAY. You get blasted with different comities meetings , different uploads of that or downloads of this , writing articles, translating...and all of that for free from many people around the world . And guess what , you are told hat if you don't do it , you can not advance and cross this imaginary "machsom"...
3 Paying maaser IS NOT between a person and Creator !!!! That is Michael Laitmans idea of maintaining his cult , and again he is using G-d to push his agenda . No wonder the world is in the state that it is!!!!

Dear corboy , I can attempt to answer you question "'artificially'--what does that mean?"
It means constant phone calls, emails, text massages, telling them that there are here to "save the world"putting people in some really scary frames of mind, that a lot of them just are not equipped to handle.....

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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: Igulim ()
Date: June 02, 2011 07:07AM

Oh by the way they are creating "Kabbalah Singles Tea Lounge "
This is only couple of weeks old :

NOT FOR FACEBOOK dissemination

Hello, dear Friends,
The second part of the Singles workshop that was held at the We! Congress in NJ - creation of the We! Singles virtual place - is beginning to shape up. We have developed a plan to build a WE!Kabbalah Singles Tea Lounge on the Internet that will be a virtual place for all English speaking WE! Singles to meet. Our representative has recently discussed the idea of the WE! Singles website with Bnei Baruch English department and Rav Laitman inIsrael, and the project is approved. Now, there is work to do!

The website is in the process of being built, and in the meantime, we are collecting the database (names, emails, and desires) that will become a foundation for the new virtual tea lounge.. We have finally put together a registration form for you to fill out. This form is designed to be the first step in building your profile, your representation, on the WE! Singles website.

The form is very different from those you may have seen on the Internet dating sites. Our form requires maximal honesty in order to make every member as transparent to the others as possible. Why so? because we want our friends, who are seeking spiritual marriages, to have the most realistic impression of the participants' characters and backgrounds. We feel that it will prevent disinformation and all kinds of problems in the future.

We would like to remind you that this is a site that was requested and developed solely by and for the students of Kabbalah who study with Bnei Baruch. Since we are all aiming at the goal of love and bestowal, our intention is to grow above egoism and learn how bestowal is done.

Therefore, we based the form's questions on what participants expressed during the WE! Singles workshop at the NJ convention. We hope it will help you learn about each other when you contact others on the webside.

The website will include profiles (for which pictures will be required), music, Kabbalistic passages, a forum for questions which will be moderated by professional psychologist (students of Bnei Baruch), chat room, news, updates, and more.

The site will be monitored and moderated by our team, who will make sure everybody is respected and welcome. We are trying to create a warm, fun, and sunny atmosphere for you so you may mingle virtually and find the love of your life-the true connection of the hearts.
The form is sent to the English speaking WE! Singles only; please don't post it on facebook :) Thanks!
The website was originally intended for the North American English speaking singles who study with us, but upon multiple requests, it has been changed to welcome all English speaking WE! around the world. :)

WE!Singles Team

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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: mellowchuck ()
Date: August 24, 2011 11:12PM

I would like to add some more about “Bnei Baruch Kabbalah” –

I was in Bnei Baruch for a little over 4 years, until I was excommunicated for, according to them, using marijuana (I do use it for medical purposes) and being hospitalized after a crisis I had. They circulated about 5 different horrible lies about me and told everyone in Bnei Baruch to stay away from me. They denied their “brotherly love” to me in the time I needed it most, and kicked me out even though their number one slogan is “love your neighbor as yourself.” I would like to note that I stopped paying their tithe of 10% of my salary, or “Maaser” as they call it (which they say is a spiritual action) shortly before they excommunicated me. Also a side note- in the “big” groups – Moscow, Brooklyn and Petach Tikva you are not even allowed to be a part of the group unless you pay “Maaser” or if you are a woman. This is hidden from the beginners. You are also not allowed to be a homosexual. Period. According to them, you have to ask “the Creator” or God to correct your homosexuality. This is deeply hidden from beginners; but I have heard these exact words from- Markos Zografos, Michael Laitman and Mutlu Meydan.
Anyways, before I go any further I want everyone to know that and re-emphasize that I've been in Bnei Baruch for over 4 years, have been to 9 congresses, have attended a lot of their secret meetings and have been to the Groups in Petach Tikva, Israel - Jerusalem, Israel - Brooklyn, New York - and lastly, the group I started, the Washington, D.C. Bnei Baruch Group. Yes, regrettably I started a group in Washington, D.C. because I believed I would enter spirituality. I believed in their initial lies of doing well for humanity and uniting the whole world in brotherly love. I believed they were all about brotherly love and caring for each other.

Now, I'm not sure exactly if they are a cult but it's definitely a very, very dangerous and brain-washing group. They also very happily take your money. However, my entire family believes it's a cult. I have told them a lot more of what happened than I will in this post, and they saw from a third party perspective. There is no doubt in my Family’s’ minds that this is a cult.

Moving on, the reason I believe I got sucked into this group is because I have been diagnosed by my doctors as having Bi Polar II, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Severe Depression. Their group seemed to be some sort of answer to why I was suffering, and they offered relief to this suffering. They offer entrance into the spiritual world and a connection with God, and they lure you in by offering most (not all as they claim) of their materials for free. They also offer “Brotherly Love” also known as “Mutual Guarantee” and “Arvut.” I gave and gave and gave and gave, and got nothing back. I’m ashamed and utterly embarrassed to even admit on here how much time, money, effort and mental strain I put into their organization.

My main concerns about their groups are as follows-

1) Contradictions
Homosexuality- They teach it’s okay to beginners. To intermediates they teach that it’s a mental disease and you are not allowed to be part of physical groups and can only participate online or virtually. To the innermost and advanced students they teach that you have to be married to a woman. No Exceptions. If you are gay, you have to ask God or “the Creator” to correct your homosexuality and find a woman to marry or you will not be admitted into the “big” groups.
Physical Actions don’t count- Nothing in this world is spiritual. However, giving Bnei Baruch Money is Spiritual!!!
You don’t have to tithe if you don’t want to- In order to cross the “Machsom” and be a part of the “big” groups you absolutely have to pay tithing or “Maaser.” They even keep lists of people who do and people who do not.
Verbiages- “Machsom” is nowhere to be found in any Jewish or Kabbalistic Text besides those edited or published by Bnei Baruch; any Rabbi from any synagogue will tell you this. “Arvut” (more like communism) has never been in any authentic text.
Religion- They say you can belong to any religion and still study with Bnei Baruch; however, a lot of their teachings directly contradict every religion out their except for maybe Judaism. As you progress and become a part of their internal group(s) they progressively try to pull you away from all of your religious affiliations.
The Zohar- When I first started with Bnei Baruch, the Zohar was forbidden to study unless you were in spirituality. Now it’s allowed, for everyone, but only their (Michael Laitman’s and Chaim Ratz’s) translation is correct!!!!
2) Money
I have asked on multiple occasions to receive the tax deductible forms they supposedly give for donations and never received them. I asked for how much money I donated in total and finally they gave it to me after 2 years of asking for it. I have asked them multiple times to provide information as to where the money went however, and I got no response. I contacted all of the leaders of their groups and have to this date received no response. After I was kicked out/excommunicated, my mother read an article about some other Kabbalah group in L.A. the FBI was investigating because the funds they received from celebrities were not going where they said they were going. I brought this up to Bnei Baruch and they never responded to this either.
3) Their Leadership
According to Bnei Baruch, there is no one leader. This is not the case at all. Michael Laitman commands every single thing to the last detail. Everything goes back to him. They have groups and commities, but they all in some way or another report to Avihu Sofer who is Michael Laitman’s right-hand (con)man. Michael Laitman gives all of the orders and everything circulates back to him.
4) Michael Laitman
Michael Laitman is the only person who openly and publicly admits he has crossed the so called “Machsom.” He is therefore closer to God than any person in the world and has a direct connection to God. He also speaks with “the Creator.” All of his commands come from God, therefore if you don’t do what he says, you are not obeying “the Creator.” He is treated as God-like in the Petach Tikva group in Israel. As a human being (which we all are) he is pompous, arrogant, demanding and most definitely in charge of the entire organization.

5) Active Members of Bnei Baruch
I have met almost every person who is in Bnei Baruch and would say I know about 70% of all their members personally in one way or another (I have been to 9 of their “congresses” or “conventions” as they call them). There are some sincerely nice people in the organization, but they have no leadership roles and they were sucked in as I was. They were also quite new and all of the most sincere and loving people I have met have since left Bnei Baruch. As a side note, I would say 50% of the people in Bnei Baruch have some sort of mental illness in one way or another and they look for their relief in this group. This is how they draw in crowds.

Despite their claims of not having a leader, Michael Laitman is definitely the head-honcho and what he says goes. Period. No exceptions. If he told everyone to go out and kill everyone who doesn’t study Bnei Baruch Kabbalah I’m sure 60% of their world network would go out and do it. I have seen this first person and seen it in action. I have also heard how this operates- they have hidden lessons on Friday Nights (EDT/EST – East Coast Time; “Shabbat” in Israel) that you can access on a program called Team Talk with a username and password. This is where a lot of their hidden agenda is spewed and they hide all of these conversations from beginners. They also do not post these lessons on any of their sites. They claim this is because the Jewish people in Israel would be very angry with them if it wad found that they operate on Shabbat, but this is not the case. This is where they give their hidden lessons for people who were in as long as I was. If you go onto their forums and ask what the Shabbat lesson is or ask to access it you will get the response “What Shabbat lesson???” or “There is no Shabbat lesson by Bnei Baruch.”

I know Mike Kellogg personally and he is a pompous, stuck-up person. He has also admitted and thinks he has passed the "Machsom." The "Machsom" or "Barrier" in English is something not found in any Kabbalistic text (or Jewish according to my Rabbi at my local synagogue) besides those of Bnei Baruch. It is, according to them, the cut off point between our world and the spiritual world.

Just as a reference for staying safe, here's a list of very dangerous (sociopaths; all 4 types of passive-aggressiveness signs) and deluded/deranged people in Bnei Baruch who think they have crossed the “Machsom” and have admitted it (not to mention this makes them better than anyone else in the entire world)-

Tony Kosinec (Toronto, Canada Group)

Avihu Sofer (Petach Tikva, Israel “Headquarters”)

Mike Kellogg (St. Louis, Missouri Group)

Olga Levkovich (Was a Washington, D.C. Group Member; not sure what she’s doing now but I’ve heard through the grapevine she’s active in Bnei Baruch)

and last but not least, the leader of it all - Michael Laitman (Petach Tikva, Israel “Headquarters”)

6) Lack of Responsibility for anything bad or immoral according to this day and age’s modern somewhat civilized society
Any wrongdoing on their part is responded to with the phrase “There is none Else besides Him.” God does everything and Bnei Baruch is not responsible. I’ll give a couple of examples- I was treated very badly by a group of individuals in Bnei Baruch and was harassed and my girlfriend at the time (who was also in Bnei Baruch; they tell you to date and marry only someone else in Bnei Baruch so you can advance in spirituality) cheated on me more than once with other members in their groups. She also stole some items from me and locked them in her room at one of the congresses. I, being in sound and right mind, called the police to retrieve my items since no one would assist and she would not comply to my requests. Everyone was furious with me and treated me like garbage. I was a piece of sh-t to everyone for the rest of that congress/convention. It was entirely my fault of all of this. I brought this to the attention of Bnei Baruch and their various groups in letters and their response was that God does everything. The Creator did it. “Rise above it.”
They didn’t “rise above it” when I called the police to retrieve my items (maybe they don’t want authorities around so they will find out about their brain-washing and illegal activities?????)
These people were not excommunicated as I was (they, however, follow all the rules and pay money and volunteer their time to the organization). I was excommunicated for my actions; no one said the Creator did it, no one “rose above it.” There are also a lot of existing members in Bnei Baruch who smoke marijuana for recreation purposes but either they pay “maaser” and can stay or they hide it very well.

7) Relationships
You are told to only date and marry within Bnei Baruch because this furthers your spiritual advancement.

I’m getting tired of typing and don’t really want to think about this horrible group anymore, so I will end with this-
All in all, they are a contradictory, double-standards group. I would stay away from them if you want to stay mentally healthy and not have all of your money and time wasted. Stay away, stay away, stay away!
If you are a part of their organization I would say leave now while you can.
If you are a part of t heir group and plan on not leaving, be very cautious! Call authorities if needed, keep a cell phone on you, and have a lawyer handy. If you have mental illness, get help from a psychologist and a psychiatrist! DO NOT BELIEVE THEY WILL HELP YOUR MENTAL ISSSUES. They teach Kabbalah will cure this, but it will only make things worse.

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Re: Bnei Baruch anyone?
Posted by: focus123 ()
Date: September 17, 2011 02:20PM

Hi MellowChuck so you must have known Montie? Also how do I access Team Talk do you have a username and password?

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