Madonna, is of course, perpetually associated with religious controversy. My particular favorite in her repertoire was her live performance of a woman on the cross from her 2006 Confessions Tour, while she sang “Live to Tell.” I even did a commentary about this performance and the extreme backlash to it on NPR’s All Things Considered, “Madonna’s Cross Raises Thorny Questions.”
I just came across a recent article about Madonna’s–or shall I call her, “Queen Esther”?–recent visits to Israel, “An Ambassador For Judaism”: Madonna, Kabbalah, and Religion in Israel” by Shalom Goldman. Goldman analyzes Madonna’s fascination with kabbalah and how it’s unclear what, exactly, this interest has to do with Judaism and Israel:
“Esther is Madonna’s adopted ‘Kabbalah name.’ Madonna’s (secular) Israeli fans have dubbed her “Queen Esther.” The star very adroitly returns her Israeli fans’ adoration. Some of the more kabbalistically literate of those fans have explained her Esther name as a “manifestation of the divine shekhinah.” On her September concert tour in Israel, Madonna was joined by one of the Los Angeles Kabbalah Center’s leaders, Rabbi Michael Berg…The oddity and irony of a visit to the Holy Land by a celebrity couple named Madonna and Jesus was lost on most of Madonna’s Israeli fans–as were the New Age connotations of Madonna’s energy references. And that Madonna is no longer cool among young American music listeners is a subtlety lost on Israeli and other foreign observers of American culture.”
Yes, yes, yes, I say to Goldman’s comments, all very interesting observations, especially the hilariously ironic name of Madonna’s current squeeze, perhaps save the assertion that Madonna “is no longer cool” among music listeners. I am still (relatively) young, and will always have a soft spot in my heart for Madonna. She always amazes me–her music, her transformations, her performance art, especially of the religious variety.