David X Prutting/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images; WeWork Summit 2015/WeWork/Vimeo; Samantha Lee/Business Insider
As Adam and Rebekah Neumann built WeWork into a $47 billion coworking giant, the couple relied on the teachings of the Kabbalah Centre, a spiritual organization whose high-pressure donation tactics have drained multiple former members’ bank accounts, sources told Business Insider.
Kabbalah Centre Rabbi Eitan Yardeni was a regular sight at WeWork offices, where former employees said he helped put together at least one deal, met with company executives, and in at least one instance spoke to the entire company as a “spiritual counselor.”
In conversations with Business Insider, former Kabbalah Centre members said that Yardeni pressured them into making large donations to the religious sect, telling them that their spiritual health depended on it.
Because of their wealth and social connections, Adam and Rebekah were privileged members of the New York Kabbalah Centre, where their special status earned them unique privileges and proximity to Kabbalah Centre leadership. However, Adam left the Centre in 2017 during an exodus of frustrated teachers and students.
A spokesperson for the Neumanns said that the couple does not practice Kabbalah, but said that Rebekah is friends with Yardeni.
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With his angular features, fashionable stubble, close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair, and chunky glasses, Eitan Yardeni didn’t look out of place at WeWork’s New York City headquarters, where he was a familiar presence to staffers. But the 55-year-old Yardeni is no tech guru: He’s a spiritual one.
Yardeni is a long-time confidant of WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann and his wife Rebekah. He is also a high-ranking rabbi within the Kabbalah Centre, an organization claiming thousands of members founded around tenets of Jewish mysticism. Though Kabbalah has been around for centuries, the Kabbalah Centre is a uniquely modern phenomenon — it marries intense spiritual guidance, high-pressure fundraising tactics, and a focus on wealth and celebrity. Some former members have likened the group to a religious cult, and say it designed to enrich the family that founded it. Yardeni has counseled such high-profile acolytes as Madonna, Guy Oseary, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, and Roseanne Barr.See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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