The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 2 June 2012 / 11 Sivan 5772

Magic Michael

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

What is an Orthodox immigrant from Baltimore, U.S.A. doing with a case full of balloons, musical instruments and all sorts of gadgets in a hospital for kids in Jerusalem?

The answer is that Michael Tulkoff (aka "Magic Michael") has arrived at Alyn Hospital, the national pediatric and adolescent rehabilitation center, to do his weekly session of entertaining the kids. Proudly billing himself as the "only medical magician in the Middle East", Michael also helps out with his endearing clown-like antics in the general pediatric wards of Dana Childrens Hospital in Tel Aviv and the Safra Childrens Hospital at Sheba in Tel Hashomer.

The hospital staffs are very enthusiastic about Michaels impact on the youngsters. As he wanders through the wards he greets every patient by name. Not all of these incapacitated patients are capable of returning the greeting but they acknowledge it with widened eyes.

Just one example of what he achieves is the story of his encounter with a 17-year old victim of cystic fibrosis, a living skeleton attached to a respirator, who used a communication board to spell out that he wants to die. Michael told him a story he liked and then proceeded to build up his self-esteem and raise his spirits with a variety of magic tricks. Before leaving, Michael placed his hand on the youngsters curled fingers as a sort of handshake.

Michael felt good when a visitor sitting next to the boy told him, with tears in his eyes, that this was the first time this unfortunate boy had actually smiled.

© 1995-2020 Ohr Somayach International - All rights reserved.

Articles may be distributed to another person intact without prior permission. We also encourage you to include this material in other publications, such as synagogue or school newsletters. Hardcopy or electronic. However, we ask that you contact us beforehand for permission in advance at and credit for the source as Ohr Somayach Institutions

« Back to The Human Side of the Story

Ohr Somayach International is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation (letter on file) and your donation is tax deductable.