Our magic shop is situated in a multi-ethnic community. Cote des Neiges. The last I heard there were over 53 different nationalities and of course different religions as well in this area. The Metro is right at our corner so I suppose the people that come to our shop could be from anywhere, but we do have many customers of different ethnic backgrounds. There are a lot of religious Jews that shop here. I happen to know a Rabbi who is very into magic, serious manipulation, and that kind of stuff.
In the Jewish Tribune , Nov. 3rd, 2011, Arthur Kurzweil who designs , manufactures and sells magic tricks writes an article about a conversation he had with Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, a most highly regarded Jewish teacher and scholar, about magic and Jews, it seems in a section of the Talmud, a major sin of the magican is explored. ” The Jewish magician has an obligation to avoid making the claim of having special powers…the magician performs illusions…”
People come here to buy gifts for Chanukah as well as gifts for Christmas. (Did I mention that we now have lovely Gift Cards, any denomination that you choose. It makes shopping so much easier.) But that is not what I’m writing about.
Now, if you are a middle or old-timer then you know Father Cyprian, a Capuchin Monk, a good friend, and a wonderful magician, who used to perform and lecture at Magie Montréal back in the day. He told us many funny stories about his adventures as a Magician Monk. He did a lot of travelling to conventions and would wear his collar which would make it easier at customs…most of the time. Then there was the time he had a lot of explaining to do when they actually asked him to open his suitcase and found all these decks of cards.
We have had priests from different churches who did magic for the congregation to illustrate a point. There are magic Bible Colouring books, etc. But I do not remember a priest in full Catholic Garb coming to the shop. Not until today. He seemed like a good man, and was thrilled to find out we were Jewish and said he would love to come to a Passover Seder. We had a great time with him and he seemed to enjoy our meeting as well.
I could not help but wonder about the scene of a religious Jew with the black coat and hat and beard coming in while he was there. These words kept creeping up in my mind….Did you hear the one about a Rabbi and a Priest who met in the in the magic shop?