Mind reader and mentalist Marc Salem revealed the inner thoughts of Northwestern students in Harris Hall Wednesday night as part of Tannenbaum Chabad House’s 25th anniversary celebration.
Chabad was founded in 1985 as a center for Jewish life at Northwestern. Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, the executive director of Lubavitch Chabad of Evanston and Wilmette, said he has not only seen Chabad expand as a campus organization in 25 years, but Jewish life has also expanded at Northwestern. Rabbi Klein recalled the days when there was a quota for the number of Jewish students allowed at the university and Jewish students could not be as open about their religious affiliation.
“I think the campus is a very different campus than it was 25 years ago,” Rabbi Klein said. “Today Jews are proud to be Jews.”
For its 25th anniversary, Chabad wanted to hold an event to give back to the students, Rabbi Klein said. Chabad’s executive board chose Salem to help commemorate the organization’s anniversary because they thought Northwestern students would find him entertaining and something anyone could enjoy.
“I hope everyone has fun,” said Emily Davidson, a Weinberg sophomore and Chabad executive board member. “Not every Chabad event has to be a religious thing.”
The celebration began with a sushi dinner reception and was followed by the screening of a photo montage of Chabad’s 25 years, showcasing their social events, trips and religious activities.
“I think we’ve grown on a variety of different levels,” Rabbi Klein said. “Twenty-five years ago is the building blocks of what we have today.”
The celebration was Salem’s third time performing for Chabad. At the beginning of his performance, Salem stated that none of what he does is “supernatural.” In his more than 30 years of honing these skills, Salem, who is also a psychology professor, has performed on Broadway and all over the world.
Salem started the performance by guessing numbers people were thinking of, but ended up reading audience members’ thoughts about locations they had once visited. He has also been involved in police work as an adviser on how to tell if a suspect is lying. In one part of the show, he taught the audience about non-verbal communication and lying indicators. If a person is in a defensive position, turns their head or closes their eyes, they are lying, according to Salem.
“It was amazing,” said Bob Lee, a Weinberg sophomore. “I don’t know how he did it. There wasn’t any kind of cheating. It was magic.”
As a lifelong fan of Chabad, Salem said he was delighted to be a part of Chabad’s 25th anniversary.
“I love Chabad,” Salem said after the show. “I think what I do with people’s minds, they do with outreach and people’s souls.”