Magical Jews

December 1910 was a busy Christmas season in London, England. The city’s variety theaters and music halls featured no less than thirty-one magicians. Of those, five were headliners. All five were Americans, and of those, four were Jews. (The fifth was a Scottish-American masquerading as a Chinese, but that is a subject for a different lecture.)

It has long been known that for well over a century of western history, the field of theatrical magic has contained a disproportionally large number of Jews, from Harry Houdini to David Copperfield. But no one has addressed the simple question: Why?

Until now.

Based on many years of research, renowned magic authority Max Maven has analyzed the reasons why the world of theatrical conjuring has long included more than ten times the percentage of Jews in the general population. The multiple answers are not always obvious; in fact, the explanations that most frequently come to mind turn out to be easily refutable!

The true story of Magical Jews is filled with surprises.

This lecture features many rare archival images never seen other than by members of the Academy of Magical Arts. A rich blend of delightful historical anecdotes and unexpected data lead to a journey through the history of modern conjuring in the context of the history of the Jewish people and their cultural traditions. You’ll meet amazing characters, and learn about their astonishing exploits.

Your tour guide is no stranger to this world, albeit he is somewhat strange. Orson Welles wrote that Max Maven has “the most original mind in magic.”

On multiple occasions Max has been a featured speaker at the Los Angeles Conference on Magic History and events held by the Magic Collectors Association, the New England Magic Collectors Association, the British Magic Ring and the Academy of Magical Arts. He is a frequently sought after consultant to dozens of books and articles specific to conjuring history, including Gibicière, the journal of the Conjuring Arts Research Center. He has also been an adviser to several television shows addressing historical issues, including The Art of Magic for PBS, Houdini: Unlocking His Secrets for NBC, the series History of Magic for Britain's BBC, and numerous biographical documentaries.

Max has been a consultant for most of the top names in contemporary magic, and an advisor on over one hundred television shows. He has published approximately two thousand articles, tricks and essays.

The New York Times observed that his “category-defying mind-reading show veers into conceptual art.” People magazine hailed his work as “a new form of participatory theater.” The Los Angeles Times stated that his “improvisational skill is enhanced by a charismatic animal magnetism.”

With a modicum of encouragement, Max Maven will deliver Magical Jews for your group. The presentation can be tailored to run from one hour up to two, and can include some of Max’s award-winning mentalism that is, by definition, a celebration of Yiddishkeit.


"Max's knowledge was encyclopedic and he held the audience in rapt attention. While he was never academic, he managed to be both thorough and accessible. By the end of the evening, he had everyone begging him to perform some of the magic he had talked so expertly about, and he was happy to oblige." – Skirball Museum

"Luckily for our libel attorneys and the historical knowledge of the general public, living legend Max Maven was on hand at the Skirball last night to speak exactly to this question, with no lack of solid statistics and jokes about goyim." –LA Weekly


• Visit Max Maven's Website






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