31 January 2007

Genealogist Arthur Kurzweil's magic

Genealogist Arthur Kurzweil wrote one of the first popular books about Jewish genealogy. Many of us were inspired to research our roots after reading his From Generation to Generation and thinking, "We can do this!"

He has authored or edited some 30 other books, including The Encyclopedia of Jewish Genealogy (Avotaynu) and other subjects. He's also a magician and an educator.

In this article, we learn a bit more about Jewish magicians, Harry Houdini and more.

Even the most famous phrase in stage magic — “abracadabra” — has Jewish roots. Kurzweil said the incantation is a corruption of the Aramaic phrase avra k’dabra, meaning “I will create as I speak” and was probably a reference to God’s great “trick” of creating the universe.

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