The controversy over Madonna’s August Slane concert took a new twist last week when it emerged she may be giving some of her huge profits from the concert to a controversial Jewish cult.
Madonna is to be paid €4.2m for her August 29 gig. This extraordinary deal has ensured that ticket prices for the concert have rocketed to over €100 each.
However, the UK’s Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks has issued a statement distancing his office from the activities of the London Kabbalah Centre.
The new London centre, it has been alleged, was part-funded by Madonna and her husband, film director Guy Ritchie.
The £3.6m London Kabbalah centre is controlled by an American rabbi, Philip Berg, and is part of the worldwide Kabbalah Centre movement organised by Berg and his family. The movement is based on readings of a mystical Aramaic commentary on the Torah, called the Zohar. The new movement has attracted the interest and support of celebrities including Madonna, Britney Spears, Demi Moore, Winona Ryder, Liz Taylor, Barbra Streisand and Mick Jagger – and Jerry Hall, until the latter became disenchanted with the constant demands for donations.
Madonna, formerly a Catholic, is apparently one of the centre’s most devout followers. The National Parents’ Council has backed the criticism by Slane locals of the fact that the concert is being held on Sunday rather than Saturday in deference to Madonna’s new found quasi-Jewish beliefs.
They point out that in moving the date Madonna and the concert promoters MCD are showing scant regard for the religious sensibilities of local Christians. Meanwhile, the prospect of Madonna performing her earthy concert in the grounds of Slane’s Protestant manor on a Sunday is not just upsetting the mass-going residents – it may also be breaking an 18-year-old legal agreement hammered out with Lord Henry Mountcharles.
Documents issued by Lord Henry’s lawyers in the wake of disturbances following Bob Dylan’s now-legendary appearance in 1984 at Slane state clearly that no concert will ever be held on a Sunday.
“All our clients . . . agree that they will not under any circumstances hold a concert on a Sunday,” a letter to residents from Steen, O’Reilly & Co solicitors says.
It is understood no time limits were put on the final deal, agreed in 1986.
One local resident, Eddie Hudson, said he did not object to the Sunday concert on religious grounds.
“What I find difficult to stomach is that here we have a man who is breaking his word,” he said.
Lord Henry could not be contacted for comment.
It is understood he has cited the breaking of another undertaking – that only one concert would be held per year at Slane – as a precedent to break the Sunday ban.