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Chabad of Santa Clarita to host benefit event

Event to help the Ned Miller Scholarship Fund

Posted: May 16, 2014 10:40 p.m.
Updated: May 16, 2014 10:40 p.m.

Camp Gan Israel, the only Jewish summer camp in Santa Clarita, offers children a fun camp experience while enriching them in Jewish tradition, history and culture.

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Marc Salem, renowned mentalist and self-proclaimed purveyor of mind games, amazes audiences with his talents. Some call it magic, others say he reads minds, but he simply says he is an expert at picking up nonverbal communication cues.

Salem has performed thousands of live shows across the country. He has been featured on “60 Minutes” and has performed on Broadway. He will bring his fascinating mentalist act to Chabad of SCV on June 1, in a special performance featured to benefit the Ned Miller Scholarship Fund.

Many of his performances include, tricks like guessing how much money is in a person’s pocket, knowing where a random audience member recently went on vacation or asking someone to pick a number and guessing it correctly.

“It’s not magic and it’s not mind games,” said Marc Salem. “It’s the psychology of influence.”

Salem admits much of what he does is guiding and influencing his subjects. He also explained, he picks up on cues a person gives, such as eye shifting, blinking, voice tone and other cues.

Salem says the mind has fascinated him since he was a child. He began with an interest in how outside experiences effect people and how people read the world and make meaning of it.

He grew up in a Rabbinic family following Jewish traditions, his real name Moshe Botwinick. He attended New York University, University of Pennsylvania and holds two PhD’s in developmental Psychology and organizational behavior.

He taught at the university level for more than 20 years. He has also used his mentalist talents to help train numerous law enforcement agencies, including the NYPD, FBI and CIA.

“I train them to use their minds better and understand nonverbal communication and make meaning of it,” he explained.

Salem says learning the techniques can help people become better communicators, strengthen relationships and simply understand each other better.

“This is the language we speak over 80 percent of the time,” he said. “This is a study of everything; of sound, motion, the environment, walking, talking, voice and context. We think words define a situation, but words are not the things that you experience.”

Benefitting Jewish Summer Camp

The special entertainment event, hosted by Chabad of SCV, is being held to raise money for the Ned Miller Scholarship Fund. The fund provides scholarships to underprivileged children in the Santa Clarita Valley, giving them a chance to attend Gamp Gan Israel summer camp.

The camp was started nearly 15 years ago by Ned Miller, inspired by his grandchildren. He wanted kids to have an opportunity to experience Jewish summer camp and develop a deep sense of pride for their Jewish heritage.

“There were no Jewish summer camps at the time,” said Rabbi Choni Marozov of Chabad of SCV. “We wanted local Jewish children to get the Jewish camp experience. We want them to be intimately involved with knowledge of Jewish traditions and history.”

Only 16 campers attended the first year. Now, it has grown to offer a Jewish camp experience to more than 100 children every year. In addition to daily activities like hiking, swimming and day trips to the beach, circus and Science Center, the camp also teaches about Jewish holidays, history and culture.

Miller paid the expenses for the camp for the first few years and continued to help with the camp for several years until his death four years ago.

That is when Chabad created a fund in his honor which not only helps pay scholarships for campers but also provides financial support to other Jewish youth programs throughout the year.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the scholarship fund. Chabad hopes to raise $15,000 to help with the costs of the camp, which reach nearly $25,000 each year, with attendees from every Jewish congregation in the area.

“Our policy is no child is turned away, even if parents can’t afford the full tuition,” said Marozov.

Along with the “Mentalist” show, dinner and a Chinese auction will be held. The auction, held in raffle style, allows bidders to buy raffle tickets, varying from $5 to $35 for a chance to win prizes varying from electronics to trips.

“We want kids to be more in touch with their Jewish heritage and their religion and do it all in a fun and exciting way,” said Marozov.

For more information about the event or auction visit or Register early, space is limited.


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