The London Kabbalah Centre has seen much growth this year, and as a result, has held several ambitious events, with many more planned for the rest of the year. From participating with Karen Berg’s Peace Through People to putting on multi-faith peace seminars to covering the city with Zohars in anticipation of this summer’s Olympic Games, the London community is truly stepping up to the next level.
In late March, the London Centre welcomed Michael and Monica Berg, completing the portrait of the entire Berg family’s presence in the city in early 2012. The pair was there for Shabbat Hagadol and to share kabbalistic wisdom with an eager community. Karen and the Rav Berg, along with Yehuda and Michal, had just been in London in February. Michal gave a parenting class that attracted many first-time visitors to the Centre, and the family joined the local community in celebrating Shabbat Yitro.
This Shabbat Yitro was a memorable event indeed. On the evening of Friday, February 10th, 300 guests were in the Centre, and as Karen entered the room to begin the connection, the lights in the entire building went out. Demonstrating great resourcefulness, candles were lit and everyone continued with the Shabbat; in fact it turned out to be a fantastic experience, according to those students who were present. Student and staff member Carolina recalls, “It was the most spectacular Shabbat connection! The community had never experienced such energy. It felt warm and secure; very intimate and soft.” Right after the connection was finished and everyone was trying to make their way out, in the dark, for Shabbat dinner, the lights suddenly came back on again – allowing people to see where they were going.
A few weeks after the Rav, Karen, Yehuda and Michal’s visit, Michael and Monica alit in London to begin their activities in the city. “Authentic Happiness” was the title of Monica’s lecture at the London Centre on March 29th. “Monica asked whether it is possible to be consistently happy regardless of your circumstances,” says Tamaryn, a student, and one of 210 people who came out for the event, “She asked us to really look at how we quantify happiness, and gave specific and easy-to-implement tools on how to achieve happiness.” The next evening, while the men were doing the Friday night Arvit connection, Monica decided to hold an impromptu Q&A session with a group of mostly female Kabbalah students. In an intimate atmosphere, she answered questions about the role of women, relationships, and spoke about forgiveness and responsibility. “Monica inspired us with her love, humor and kindness,” Azade, a London student, says, “It was very special.”
On Saturday the 31st of March, which happened to be the first sunny day of the year in London, Michael and Monica celebrated Shabbat Hagadol with the London community. Michael read from the Torah and gave an inspiring lecture about the energy we can receive on Shabbat Hagadol. Student Mayling shares, “Michael’s lecture made me realize how much we need to be aware of where we are supposed to be in our spiritual path and the spiritual work we need to do in order to get there. He was a huge channel for me as I felt the words he mentioned were precisely the ones I needed to hear.”
The London Centre has been invigorated by hosting the Berg family these past few months. Longtime student Cassandra notes, “Seeing Michael and Monica, it’s a reminder of how accessible the family is – and that is part of their beauty. You can be part of the Shabbat connection and hear Michael; you can approach him after the Torah reading.” This inspiration was used to hold a Peace Through People (PTP) seminar at The Centre in early May. Thirty local spiritual leaders, each influential in their own way in their communities, came together for this event. For 4 hours they held workshops, shared stories and interacted with people of different faiths. The seminar served as a pilot for an even bigger PTP event, also at the London Centre, scheduled for June 26th, in which 80 spiritual leaders of many different faiths will unite to create awareness of universal spiritual principles that foster deep connections between diverse groups.
The local Zohar Project team is also supporting the PTP events by approaching synagogues, mosques and Hindu temples. As the Olympics approach, the London Zohar Project team has focused on protecting the city through the dissemination of Zohars, especially the area near and around the Olympic Village. The entire London community is planning to support the Zohar Project during the actual games, as it is a great opportunity to introduce the Zohar to people from all over the world.
As the London Kabbalah Centre continues to grow, having doubled the number of POK 1 classes to meet demand and witnessed several students stepping up into leadership roles, students are coming together more than ever. Through the efforts of this amazing community, the London Centre is working hard to bring unity to the UK and the entire world.