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That red string around U.S. figure skater Sasha Cohen’s left wrist wasn’t part of her colorful costume–it was a Kabbalah bracelet. Ubiquitous among celebrities, including Madonna, Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher and even Paris Hilton, the trendy talisman of Jewish mystical tradition has made its way to center ice.

Cohen, who skated her way to first place after the women’s short program last night, was introduced to the bracelet–thought to ward off evil and negative thoughts–by ice skating teammate Johnny Weir.

”I’m not deeply into Kabbalah,” Cohen said on NBCOlympics.com when asked if she was wearing a Kabbalah bracelet at Nationals, “but I appreciate the principles of it…. I had a Kabbalah string before this one and it fell off–which is good luck. Johnny Weir tied that one on me the year before.” Another teammate, U.S. men’s figure skater Evan Lysacek, tied on this most recent bracelet.

While Cohen may not be a devotee of Kabbalah, the flamboyant Weir is. “A friend introduced me to Kabbalah actually before Esther (Madonna) started doing it,” Weir told Salon. “For a while I was getting a big head about how good I was becoming and what was going on with me, and it just sort of helped me stay centered and that sort of thing.”

Weir says he wears a Kabbalah star charm on his necklace, as well as the red string that “kind of saves you from other people dissing you.”

Unfortunately for the three-time national champion, his bracelet may need to work harder, since many in sports media have been savaging him for his comments blaming his poor performance and fifth-place finish on missing the bus and bad auras. Cohen’s bracelet, for the moment, can rest easy, as her graceful short program impressed the judges and is keeping the press more than pleasant.

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