Israel crowns its top magician

‘Abracadabra:’ A magicians' competition begins.

magicians hat 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
magicians hat 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
There may not be enough rabbits to go around, as Israel crowns its top magician on Monday night. The winner will be named at the Israeli National 2010 Magic Stage Championship Competition, to be held at 6 p.m. at the Holon Theater.
The competition is part of the 28th annual Magic Convention of the Israeli Society of Magicians (ISoM). The magic fest, the organization’s largest annual event, will feature some of the world’s top experts at sleight-of-hand, illusions and mind-reading, among other magic media.
The highlight will likely be a performance by Hungarian magician Soma, winner of the magic world’s most coveted prize, the title of World Champion of Magic 2010.
The title is only given out every three years.
Soma will also perform earlier in the day at a children’s magic show showcasing young magicians, from fouryear- old conjurers to would-be Harry Potters in their teenage years.
The gala will also feature a performance by close-up comedian Wayne Houchin of California.
On Tuesday, the Machon Mofet Auditorium in Tel Aviv will host a one-night-only performance by world-renowned American Jewish mentalist Marc Salem, who has been featured on 60 Minutes and written about in The New York Times and Variety. Salem will perform in English and will follow popular Israeli magician Asi Wind.
As an added treat for the local crowds, Houchin will hold an intense, semi-private Master Class Seminar on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for NIS 450.
Both Monday and Tuesday will also feature performances by some of Israel’s greatest magicians and mentalists, including Nimrod Harel and Amir Lustig from TV’s Inconceivable, and homegrown talents including Eran Raven, Hezi Dean, Yoni Garcin, Tomer Dudai, Yaniv Hamagniv, and Johnny the Magician.
ISoM president Dahlia Pelled, one of the few female magicians in Israel, said this year’s convention would be one of the biggest, largely because of the highcaliber magic talent that would be on display.
Pelled said that none of the foreign magicians had had any trouble getting through security, but that last year, one magician “who liked to stick things into himself” was given a pretty rough time by security at Ben-Gurion Airport when he tried to enter the country carrying a number of sharp, foreign objects.
Pelled said the magic community in Israel “is large, with about 200 professional magicians, about a third of whom make their living just from magic. Like in the rest of the world, though, there are very few female magicians – only about two or three professionals.”
She added, “We have all different types of magicians in Israel, stage magicians, close up magicians, extreme magicians, mentalists, and card magicians.”
Interest in this year’s event, she said, has been especially high.
The ISoM was founded in 1981 and serves as an umbrella group uniting all professional magicians and hobbyists in Israel. It boasts over 150 professional magicians and a few dozen adolescent magicians learning the craft. The organization has an elected board and looks to promote magic in Israel and overseas through monthly meetings, lectures and workshops, in addition to the convention.
The group is also a member of the International Federation of Magic Societies (FISM) and is heavily involved in volunteer work in Israel.
Considering that the word “abracadabra” comes from Aramaic, and Israel is located in a region where illusion, myth and miracles are part of each people’s narrative, the ground should be fertile for a little harmless magic – especially considering that some of Israel’s neighbors would like to say “hocus pocus” and see it disappear in a cloud of stage smoke.
For more information, call Castle Office at (03) 604-5000 or *8695 (callers who say the magic word “hocus pocus” will get a NIS 30 discount).