The pop star arrived in the Holy Land on Wednesday on a spiritual quest, including visits to the graves of revered rabbinical sages, and Israel was abuzz with excitement over the presence of a major star.
However, some were perplexed by the raunchy diva's interest in a particularly esoteric side of Judaism, and rabbis said she had no business studying holy texts.
&to=http:// english.pravda.ru/society/2003/03/20/44716.html' target=_blank>Madonna was raised a Roman Catholic, but she has taken an interest in Jewish mysticism, or Kabbalah, in recent years, CBS News reported.
According to the Independent News, a prominent Hebrew newspaper, Yediot Ahronot , anticipated the arrival of Madonna and her entourage with the headline: "Esther is coming for the holiday," a coy reference to the singer's recent decision to ditch her very Catholic-sounding name for one with obvious Jewish associations.
The &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/accidents/2001/10/19/18660.html' target=_blank>Israeli tourism industry is also upbeat about the visit by Ms Ciccone and a crew of fellow celebrities united by a fascination with the study of the kabbala. The group is expected to include the fashion designer, Donna Karan, and the ex-wife of Donald Trump, Marla Maples.
"There's no question having stars in the country is a wonderful way to show the world the wonders of our nation," Rami Levi of Israel's Tourism Ministry told reporters this week.