Israel’s biggest newspaper “Yediot Aharonot” featured a four page article and interview with Yitzhak Sinwani where he discusses Kabbalah, the Confessions Tour, and of course, the Queen of Pop herself.
Our dear friend and contributor David Kawena was so kind to provide the scans of the four page spread you can see below, and also took some time to translate the long interview with Isaac for the English-speaking Tribers.
Here is the first part – that you can start reading below and continue by clicking the Full Article link below. The second part is coming soon.
“Yediot Aharonot”: Isaac Interview
By Modi Kreytman | Photos by Anthony Daoton
English translation: David Kawena exclusively for MadonnaTribe.com
“The Yemeni chants that he sang at the Kabbalah center in London – got Madonna into joining Yitzhak Sinwani, 32, to her world wide Confessions Tour.
With a Turban designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and armed with a Shofar, the former Tel-Aviv resident, went on giant stages in Tokyo and NewYork and sung “Im ninalu”.
Now he tells us about holy waters behind the scenes, the relationship between Madonna and Guy Ritchie, the high affection the star has towards Israelis, and sums it up: “She’s a perfectionist and tough, but also a good soul”.
Last week, Guy Oseary, Madonna’s professional manager, called Yitzhak Sinwani, 32, in London. From the hills of success as a guest spiritual-eastern singer who accompanied her world tour, Oseary offered him to record an album of soul-songs for dancing in eastern-western way. Oseary is checking out the options, and if everything goes well, Shalom Shabazi songs will be the next hottest thing in Los Angeles’ and London’s night-Clubs. Madonna – by the way – is not likely to take part in the project. These days she’s hard working on the preparations of getting her adopted Malawian child under the Brith-Milha (ritual circumcision) of our forefather Abraham.
Over at the kabbalah center in Los Angeles there’s a professional Mohel (circumciser), who can perform the job on 14 months old, David Banda. But it all may have to wait, at least until Malawi’ high-court will finish the hearing of the petition against the adoption, that was put together by human rights coalition against Madonna.
A little like baby David Banda that was taken from the orphanage on the border of Zambia straight to the home, that’s worth 10 million dollars – So did Sinwani got taken from the Kabbalah Center straight to the worlds most famous stages, and found himself singing and chanting next to – Madonna!
It all started when the young Israeli got discharged from his military service after a year of standing army at the Israel Defence Forces’ computers unit and medicine unit, when he went to a lecture at the Kabbalah center in Tel-Aviv. Sinwani loved what he heard, and took a flight to Los Angeles for a continuing education program with the founder of the center, Rabbi Philip Shraga Berg. After 2 years in the U.S.A he came back to the center in Tel-Aviv, where he stayed for 4 years, then, 2 years ago he moved to London. One Friday night, about a year ago during the traditional Shabbat dinner that takes place at the center, with Madonna and her husband, Guy Ritchie, Sinwani sung some songs he learned from home. A few months later he went on to sing side by side next to Madonna in her world tour, “Confessions”, and sung 3-4 songs with her in Hebrew (Paradise/Not For Me).
Continue reading the great interview with Yitzhak Sinwani by clicking the Full Article link below.
Special thanks to David Kawena who has taken his time to translate this interview for the readers of MadonnaTribe.com.
Dressed up like a Taliban warrior – with galabya, turban and a scarf – accompanied by a female dancer inside a big cage, Sinwani walked up on stage, blow a giant shofar and started singing “Im ninalu”. To the background of the oriental sounds along came Madonna and joined him to a duet, up to the happy end when the female dancer is getting out of the cage and the catharsis is accomplished.(to) The song, by the way, Madonna titled “Isaac”, in the name of Sinwani. In an interview before her world tour she said that when Sinwani sung her the song for the first time, she was overwhelmed with emotions and started to cry, even though she couldn’t understand a word. “After he translated the lyrics for me”, she said, “I cried even more”.
“Thank you, Neshama”
In simple jeans, and an American baseball hat as head covering, Sinwani, who got back to work at the Kabbalah center after the tour, appears noting like a pop-star. As for the Kabbalah center, from the foundation of Rabbi Michael Berg, that Madonna gave millions for being built, hundreds of review articles have been written about. The BBC even made a research of it, with a conclusion of it being nothing but money stiller. Even Jerri Hall, ex-wife of Mike Jagger, made complaints about the center trying to get money out of her. In spite it all, the controversial center is prospering and blooming, and the spoken tongue there is Hebrew. “Thank you, Neshama” (kind soul) says one of workers to the guy who opened up the door for her when it was raining. The entrance hall is used as giant store offering all kinds of goods to all those who interested – from the Zohar books to Kabbalistic jewelries and Madonna children’s books. The latest hit is of course the red string Madonna wears on her hand. Everybody wants what they refer too as “the Madonna bracelet”.
Sinwani, who’s being thought of as one the main “supporting walls” of the center, is also the one responsible of “embassies” of the Kabbalah center in Sweden and Greece.
He lives in London, 20 minutes walking distance from the center. His wife, Nehama, of a Russian family who used to live in the Israeli city of Eilat, whom he meet at the Kabbalah center in Los Angeles, is also working in the center. The couple got married in London 3 years ago, “We wanted Rabbi Berg to do the wedding”. They have a 2 year old girl, name Rachel.
How have you got involved with Kabbalah?
“After I finished my time serving in the army I came across a Kabbalah center brochure, from the type the spread in Shenkin (street in Tel Aviv).
I went to a lecture, and all of a sudden everything made sense. The minute I walked in I felt like home. In 1997, after a year in Kabbalah center, I flew to L.A. because I wanted to be close to Rabbi Berg, founder of the Kabbalah center in Israel, and I wanted to be a part of those spreading the knowledge. For Israelis it is a lot easier, as they know Hebrew. For example, we translated all the texts of the Zohar into English”.
Have you completely abandoned the computers field?
“Not entirely. Some of the time I spent in Los Angeles I was programming computers”.
What are you doing in the Kabbalah center?
“Oh, it’s a hard work. From 09:00 to 21:00. There’s a huge market for Kabbalah right now. I’m responsible to our centers in Greece and Sweden, and that means lots of phone calls, and at least once a month flights to Stockholm and Athens”.
Who goes to the center in Stockholm, Swedish Jews?
“No. Swedish-Swedish. Some are coming in because of Madonna and some because they have heard of the Kabbalah. As they say, our forefather Abraham started the belief in one god. The first Jew was created only after we got the Torah. Therefore the knowledge belongs to everyone, not only the Jews”.
What was the most drastic change you’ve been through since you got into Kabbalah?
“I have more trust in myself. I have faith that I’m really capable. People have uncertainty in life; (they) don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Even in Sweden, a very supportive country, there’s no reassurance to people that they will have something to eat tomorrow. They ran out of financial stability for instance”.
And what draws a woman with such great financial stability such as Madonna to Kabbalah?
“People find out that fortune is not enough to really fill them. Even when I had money – When I got out of the army I made a lot of money from computers – something was missing. Fortune is not enough”.
But it looks like she had a lot of self-confidence too.
“Why? Every person has his own “show-offs”. She got into the Kabbalah center in L.A. through her friend about 10 years ago. For a Kabballists there’s a great responsibility, and they decide who is worthy for passing the knowledge to. Kabbalah is like atomic force you wouldn’t like to share with everybody, but Madonna studies today with Kabballist Rabbi Berg”.
You can say that ever since she joined the center – Kabbalah became a world wide trend.
“The thing is not to get excited about the subject because it’s a trend, but taking it seriously, which to us means being skeptic. I say to everyone who comes to the center – Don’t believe me. Try it for yourself and see if it works. Those who come because of Madonna eventually are not the ones who stay. Here, for once, the fans don’t come to see her walking into the building. They respect her privacy. Once in while there would be this paparazzi waiting outside, but the British aren’t like that. In Rome for example, hundreds came and stood outside of the hotel and searched for her in every corner. There are some who takes curses because of Madonna, and don’t get connected to it, there are many who buy the red string because of her. In the U.S.A, during the confessions concerts, I was walking around the crowd and saw quite a few people with red sting or Kaballa T-shirts”.
Do you teach Madonna Kabbalah?
“Sometimes, She has her own teacher, Eitan Yardeni, but sometimes I get to talk to her, mostly about Parashat HaShavua. She studies Parashat HaShavua from the Zohar and asks questions”.
What’s her deal with the name Esther, Is she in the process of converting (into Judaism)?
“Esther is a name that’s connected into the inner-being. The Kabbalah says that a name, which comes from the (Hebrew) term of “soul” (Neshama), connects to certain energy. Actually in the show she comes on stage over a big cross. To study Kabbalah one doesn’t have to be Jew. Most of our students are not Jews. She feels more of a Kabbalist then a Jew”.
When she comes to the center, dose she sits in the crowd like everybody else, or is she geting a private lesson?
“(she) Sits in the crowd like everybody else”.
And there are no embarrassing moments with “undercover” fans?
“Sometimes people come here and want to talk to her, or giving her things. There was this one Israeli girl who came to give her a tallit she designed. But Madonna refused to take it”.
To be continued…