Madonna meets Israeli regime in Jewish Kabbalah cult visit
Madonna meets Israeli president in show of Kabbalah faith
Madonna has toasted the Jewish new year with Israeli President Shimon Peres and declared herself an "ambassador for Judaism".
The singer, who is not Jewish, met Peres at his official Jerusalem residence on Saturday evening, and the two exchanged gifts, with Madonna receiving a lavishly-bound copy of the Old Testament.
[Madonna is considered "not Jewish" but taking formal steps to convert to Judaism. She currently attends a synagogue, wears the Star of David, observes the Sabbath, has taken on the Hebrew name Esther, studies under a Rabbi (Philip Berg), etc.]
She presented Peres a volume of "The Book of Splendor," the guiding text of Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah, inscribed, "To Shimon Peres, the man I admire and love, Madonna," according to a local newspaper.
[Photo] Getting to grips: Madonna gets up close and personal with Israeli President Shimon Peres
Madonna and A-list pals Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher headed to Israel on Wednesday on a Kabbalah trip.
The Material Girl reportedly planned to 'cleanse' the souls of her children during the pilgrimage to celebrate the Jewish New Year.
She and husband Guy Ritchie, 39, will take Lourdes, 10, Rocco, seven, and 22-month-old David to a river to cast off their sins.
[Photo] Committed: Kabbalah follower Madonna in Tel Aviv
[Photo] Joined by husband Guy Ritchie at her meeting with the Israeli president. Madonna is said to be responsible for his converstion to the faith.
Kabbalah follower Madonna, 49, has told them they must collect all their bad thoughts and send them away down the flowing waters.
One can only wonder what the Malawi adoption authorities looking after young David's interests will think of the ritual.
Each child will have symbolic pieces of bread in their pockets to represent their sins.
They empty their pockets into the river, thus cleansing their souls.
Our well-placed source said: "This is a sign that Madonna is increasingly becoming more committed to Jewish customs.
"She was adamant Guy and the kids travel to Israel with her, it's close to her heart and she wants to share it with her family."
[Photo] Pilgrimage: Demi and Ashton in Tel Aviv
The Queen of Pop is also accompanied by her A-list pals Demi Moore and husband Ashton Kutcher, who have already arrived in the country.
During the 10-day trip, Madonna and her family will take religious lessons and visit holy sites in Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Galilee.
[Photo] Making a splash: Guy Ritchie was spotted taking a swim after landing in Tel Aviv
Police in Israel have deployed an extra 2,000 officers after reports that religious extremists could disrupt the visit.
Source say Madonna is now so steeped in the Kabbalah sect that she is on the verge of going through the full converting process to Judaism.
The insider added: "She has too much work on at the moment to take that final step, but Madonna is very keen to totally convert as she takes the religion and its customs very seriously."
London Lite, "Madonna meets Israeli president in show of Kabbalah faith", p4, 17 September 2007.
About.com, "Madonna's New Hebrew Name", 23 June 2004.
Although she is not Jewish, Madonna wears a Jewish star, says she attends synagogue, performs with a version of the prayer accessory known as tefillin and with Hebrew letters flashing across a screen, and has let it be known that she won't have concerts on the Jewish Sabbath. Now Madonna has taken on the Hebrew name Esther.