GLENDALE – Sidney Friedman is a mentalist. He performs mindboggling feats that demonstrate his extraordinary mental powers. He mesmerizes audiences across the country, leaving many wondering if there really is such a thing as extrasensory perception.
On Sunday, June 11, you can meet Friedman and decide for yourself. He’ll be performing at Congregation Anshe Sfard Kehillat Torah in Glendale at a celebration that’s been 26 years in the making.
“We’ve paid off the [synagogue’s] mortgage and this is really something to celebrate,” said Rabbi Wes Kalmar. “We invited Sidney Friedman to perform and we’re calling it ‘Mind over Mortgage.’”
The Skeptical Reporter
I’m skeptical of all things supernatural. I watched Friedman on YouTube in preparation for our phone interview. I noticed his mental feats were performed in person. I asked if he was able to perform his feats from afar, and since I live in Glendale and he lives near Chicago, I was hoping he’d offer to “read my mind.”
Apparently he read my mind (more likely he’s very intuitive), because he offered to do a mind-reading trick over the phone.
“Okay, think of a country in Western Europe,” he said. “Now, get a piece of paper and a pen and write the name of that country a few times, thinking of each letter as you write it down.”
I had no intention of making this easy for Friedman, so I chose Belgium, not the most well-known country in Western Europe.
Long story short, after guessing the first letter wrong, Friedman began rattling off the correct letters until he said, “Belgium!”
“A magician does slight of hand,” said Friedman. “I do slight of mind. I use perception, intuition, human psychology and an understanding of human nature.”
Music and Magic
Friedman was interested in magic tricks and music since childhood. As a young adult, he obtained a degree in music composition and piano at the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
He also began refining his mentalist abilities around that time. Friedman eventually incorporated music into his performance, asking people to think of a song and then playing it on piano or guitar.
When Friedman isn’t performing, he keeps his amazing people-reading skills to himself.
“But what about when you’re on a date,” I asked.
“Nobody can ever know what a woman is thinking,” joked Friedman, adding in all seriousness, “Much of life is better to be a mystery.”
Reading Jewish minds
Friedman has performed at about 180 Jewish Federation events. Jews of all observance levels enjoy his performances, particularly ultra-Orthodox Jews, which may come as a surprise to some.
“I’ve performed for Chabad and they love it” he said. “They love anything that has to do with the mind.”
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How to go
What: Sidney Friedman, mentalist, with ASKT mortgage burning
When: Sunday, June 11, 7 p.m.
More info: SidneyFriedman.com, Facebook.com/MentalistSidneyFriedman, AsktShul@gmail.com, 414-228-9296.