Most people only know about Kabbalah because Madonna converted to it, and because it's a high-profile group with a fancy, exotic Hollywood center. Madonna recently voiced her support for Tom Cruise and Scientology – and there's a good reason for this. This Kabbalah has more than a few traits in common with the Cult of Elron, right down to a belief in UFOs and their influence on us lowly humans!
First of all, the Kabbalah Centre is a recent offshot of mainstream kabbalah, which is actually a form of Hebrew mysticism. The Kabbalah Centre, however, is led by one Rabbi Philip Berg. Berg, a former insurance salesman, is yet another modern-day Messiah: he just knows that he's the one true savior, and he's reaching out to us poor lowly humans to bring us all up to his level. All of those other rabbis don't know the truth about Kabbalah, so naturally we should abandon them and take up Berg's torch. The teachings of the Kabbalah Centre deal heavily with spiritual and ethereal subjects, mixing in a whole bunch of New Age customs including Kirlian photography, telepathy, and clairvoyance. The buzzword used in this group is Zohar: the methods used to achieve enlightenment.
The object that draws the most attention (and ridicule) from outside observers is the importance of wearing a red string around one's left wrist in order to ward off the "evil eye." Madonna wears one, and she's even convinced Britney Spears to wear one around her stomach to protect her unborn child. "Official" Kabbalah strings officially cost about $26 on their Web site (you get the string plus a Zohar book), though unofficially the strings can cost on the order of hundreds of dollars (if you buy them at the Hollywood Kabbalah Centre, for instance). However, the big moneymaker in Kabbalah is their healing "miracle water" (imported from CJC Bottling of Ontario, Canada) that has been alleged to work against a number of ailments, including cancer. (This didn't stop Canadian health authorities from investigating the water bottler for suspected health code violations.)
As for the UFOs, the Kabbalah Centre states:
As with all controversial religious groups, there's a group of critics who are working texpose the dark truth about the Kabbalah Center. The Rick Ross Institute hosts a page of critical information about Kabbalah.