Pop superstar Michael Jackson and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach will perform their new joint “Heal the Kids” when they appear Tuesday night before a sell-out audience at the Oxford Union.
Success is expected for the new best friends - the rabbi and the moonwalker – who are likely to smash all records for heartbreak: Some 20,000 applications for tickets were reportedly made to the union by enthusiastic punters, according to The Jerusalem Post.
"Heal the Kids" is a charity launched by Jackson and Boteach to bring parents closer to their children. "To encourage adults to reprioritize children ... by bringing our children from the periphery of our attention to the center of our daily consciousness," Jackson's website said.
The august 178-year-old university debating chamber, which has hosted such diverse speakers as Richard Nixon, Muhammad Ali, Diego Maradonna, O.J. Simpson and Malcolm X, can accommodate an audience of about 600.
The newspaper said that the 32-year-old Boteach, who is the father of seven, lived in Britain for 12 years and established the hugely successful L'Chaim Society at Oxford University before returning to the US two years ago, leaving Charity Commissioners to investigate allegations that funds raised for his society were used to pay off his mortgage.
By the time he left, he had also fallen out with the local Chabad movement and with the mainstream Orthodox establishment, not only for his embrace of glitzy self-promotion but also for some of his 11 books, including one entitled “Kosher Sex,” which was extracted by Playboy magazine.
Jackson, who denied sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in 1993 but nevertheless paid some $25 million to have the case dropped, does not appear to be a natural participant in a charity like “Heal the Kids,” according to the Post.
Boteach vigorously defends his partner. “Why would anyone believe those charges?" he asked an interviewer recently. “First, he said, Jackson was advised by his lawyers that he had no choice but to settle. Second, They said anyone who spends that amount of time with kids has to be sick. Well, that's not an indictment of Michael Jackson, that's an indictment of our society.”
Boteach added “That friendship, in fact, extends to co-writing a book - to be published in December - on how to discover your inner child.”
In addition to the Oxford Union meeting, Jackson will also attend the launch of the book with Boteach and Geller. In return, Jackson and Boteach will attend a ceremony on Thursday at which Geller and his wife will renew their marriage vows – Albawaba.com
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