‘Wartime Magician’ Performs 26 Shows in Nine Days for Kids in Israel

‘Wartime Magician’ Performs 26 Shows in Nine Days for Kids in Israel
Alan Sakowitz

Alan Sakowitz brought smiles and wonder, but also 29 bags of medicine and gear for the Israel Defense Forces.

By David Swindle, JNS

Alan Sakowitz just completed a whirlwind tour in Israel to entertain both displaced children and Israeli soldiers.

Sakowitz performed in Efrat, Kiryat Gat, Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem and Beitar, doing 26 shows from Oct. 26 through Nov. 7. In Efrat, his audience exceeded 960, which he noted amounted to nearly 9% of the total community’s population of 10,800.

“It was the experience of a lifetime to meet so many children and spouses of our brave soldiers, and inform them how proud we are of our heroes, their parents and their spouses,” Sakowitz told JNS.

Some of the tricks most enjoyed by the audience, he said, involved him seeming to read their minds.

One illusion requires the participant to pick one of five colored balls, show it to the audience and replace it in a case. “I would be facing the opposite direction and then get the child to concentrate on the color, and I would guess which ball they picked,” Sakowitz said. “They were amazed when I was consistently correct.”

Another favorite illusion involved children coloring a picture, only to discover that Sakowtiz had guessed how they would draw it and then showed a matching outfit hidden under his clothes.

“The children seemed to enjoy the magic, but the message I had for them was far more critical than the magic,” Sakowitz said. “About a dozen members of a first- or second-grade class came up and hugged me after a show since they spoke only Hebrew, and I spoke only English. I knew they understood my message.”

Sakowitz said after realizing how more than 70% of his audience had a parent in the Israel Defense Forces, “I had to fight back tears.” He told the kids that “many of their fathers or mothers stepped forward to try to fix the world; they are my heroes.”

The performer also brought bags of items to resupply soldiers, including “tourniquets, knee pads, camelback drinking containers, hand warmers, markers, face masks, rain suits, audio cables, blister pads, air protectors and other items.” He gave a nod to El Al for helping the goods get there.

With a touch of self-deprecation, the attorney and real estate developer acknowledged: “I know I am not a professional magician or even an amateur. I am more of a wartime magician … The audience members feel my love and concern for them, and under the circumstances, it makes up for my shortcomings as a performer.”

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