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Group Information
Title Bnei Baruch: Kabbalah Education Center*
Founder Michael Laitman
Description

Bnei Baruch is an organization based on alleged Kabbalah teachings and one of the largest of its kind in Israel and around the world. The leader of the group, Michael Laitman, immigrated to Israel from Russia in 1974. He claims that he acquired a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Kabbalah from the Moscow Institute of Philosophy. He calls himself Rabbi; however there is no evidence that he was ordained. He insists that the Rav in front of his name is to signify and mean teacher. However former members consider the title to be intentionally ambiguous. There have been accusations made that Laitman's teachings misrepresent the Jewish faith. 

 
 
The Bnei Baruch indoctrination is based on two notions. Kabbalah is science and accepted within the scientific community, and that Laitman speaks for all of Kabbalah, that he is the sole authoritative representative of its' teachings. His teachings present an unfounded history of the Jewish people not supported by traditional and accepted Jewish heritage. He disseminates the dogma that Kabbalah has been around for thousands of years when in fact, all scholarly research supports that it originated around the 13th Century or so.
 
 
Lessons by Laitman are broadcast daily via a live stream on the Internet, for at least three hours (3am-6am Israel time). Male members who live outside of Israel in different time zones are instructed to tune in and attend the lessons in real time. In addition, there are numerous extremely time consuming workshops, and as a result, they cause a crucial disruption in ordinary daily life, put strain on social and emotional relations and negatively affect the functionality of the individuals and their family members. 
 
 
The members spend enormous amounts of time disseminating information about the group's ideology, for example, going to the "Occupy" movement gatherings and distributing flyers to the participants and passersby.
 
 
 
Criticism of the group is harshly condemned, which manifests itself in different ways. According to a member, at the group conventions there are often discussions about divorce among members who have marital problems that developed after they started participating in the group. Laitman repeatedly tells members that divorce is prohibited, unless the spouse is against the member's participation in the group. The members also spend significant amounts of money on monthly contributions to the group, and on buying Laitman's books, traveling to the multiple Bnei Baruch or Kabbalah conventions, and on additional donations requested for new projects.
Behavior
Control
1. Regulation of individual's physical reality
  a. Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with
  b. What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears
  c. What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects
  d. How much sleep the person is able to have
  e. Financial dependence
  f. Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations

2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals

3. Need to ask permission for major decisions

4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors

5. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques- positive and negative).

6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails

7. Rigid rules and regulations

8. Need for obedience and dependency.

-Excessive time commitment, group demands are such that there is no time left for any other activities such as leisure time or time with family or friends out of the group. 

-Members are constantly sleep deprived and exhausted.
-Only group-think is allowed. Expression of individual opinion is prohibited. Any criticism of the leader is prohibited.
Information
Control
1. Use of deception
  a. Deliberately holding back information
  b. Distorting information to make it acceptable
  c. Outright lying

2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged
  a. Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio
  b. Critical information
  c. Former members
  d. Keep members so busy they don’t have time to think

3. Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
  a. Information is not freely accessible
  b. Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramid
  c. Leadership decides who “needs to know” what

4. Spying on other members is encouraged
  a. Pairing up with “buddy” system to monitor and control
  b. Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership

5. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda
  a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc.
  b. Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources

6. Unethical use of confession
  a. Information about “sins” used to abolish identity boundaries
  b. Past “sins” used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution

-The only literature that is allowed are the "books" that Laitman has written, available on the group's website.

-Members are kept so busy that they are drained of time and energy to read anything besides what Laitman directs them to.
Thought
Control
1. Need to internalize the group's doctrine as "Truth"
  a. Map = Reality
  b. Black and White thinking
  c. Good vs. evil
  d. Us vs. them (inside vs. outside)

2. Adopt "loaded" language (characterized by "thought-terminating clichés"). Words are the tools we use to think with. These "special" words constrict rather than expand understanding. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous "buzz words".

3. Only "good" and "proper" thoughts are encouraged.

4. Thought-stopping techniques (to shut down "reality testing" by stopping "negative" thoughts and allowing only "good" thoughts); rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism.
  a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
  b. Chanting
  c. Meditating
  d. Praying
  e. Speaking in "tongues"
  f. Singing or humming

5. No critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate

6. No alternative belief systems viewed as legitimate, good, or useful

-Irrational and illogical thinking

-Critical thinking is censored
-Dissociation from reality
-Listening to music and songs at the end of the Internet session to create and seal new group identity and binding
-Criticism of management is forbidden
-The members express themselves in clichés and slogans
Emotional
Control
1. Manipulate and narrow the range of a person's feelings.

2. Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault, never the leader's or the group's.

3. Feeling-stopping. Like thought-stopping, this is the automatic suppression or blocking of feelings that are not acceptable by the cult identity- such as feeling "homesick" or feeling "depressed" or feeling "resentful".

4. Excessive use of guilt
  a. Identity guilt
    1. Who you are (not living up to your potential)
    2. Your family
    3. Your past
    4. Your affiliations
    5. Your thoughts, feelings, actions
    6. Social guilt
    7. Historical guilt

5. Excessive use of fear
  a. Fear of thinking independently
  b. Fear of the "outside" world
  c. Fear of enemies
  d. Fear of losing one's "salvation"
  e. Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by group
  f. Fear of disapproval

6. Extremes of emotional highs and lows.

7. Ritual and often public confession of "sins".

8. Phobia indoctrination: programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.
  a. No happiness or fulfillment "outside"of the group
  b. Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: "hell"; "demon possession"; "incurable diseases"; "accidents"; "suicide"; "insanity"; "10,000 reincarnations"; etc.
  c. Shunning of leave takers. Fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family.
  d. Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the group's perspective, people who leave are: "weak"; "undisciplined"; "unspiritual"; "worldly"; "brainwashed by family, counselors"; seduced by money, sex, rock and roll.

-Drinking, smoking, dancing and singing heavily pushed during congresses and 'festive' occasions to allow for binding and distortion of personal boundaries. "Heart before head" is the basis of group relations, encouraging 'concealment of feelings', unexamined behaviors and lack of scrutiny and inquisitiveness regarding the 'study'.

-Subordination to Laitman, and unquestioned obedience to management are mandatory in the organization, based on its number one rule of 'annulling the ego to the Upper'
Group
Websites

http://edu.kabbalah.info/bnei-baruch

 
 
Critical
Websites

http://www.bbkabbalah-thetruth.com/ https://www.facebook.com/pages/bbkabbalah-thetruthcom/557620300957705 http://www.nrg.co.il/online/55/ART1/745/923.html