If his audience believes Sidney Friedman can foretell where the economy is headed as accurately as he forecast this year’s Oscar winners — right across the board — he will face a lot of questions on March 18. Friedman, known as a “mentalist,” will be the featured speaker at the donor recognition event hosted by the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County.
The event, scheduled for 7:15 p.m. at Marlboro Jewish Center, is for those giving $500 and over to the federation’s annual campaign. The corporate sponsors are Bloomfield-Cooper Jewish Chapels, Gil Travel, Promotions A2Z, and Shore Heart Group.
Friedman, who hails from Chicago, comes with an impressive roster of appearances at corporate and community events around the country. Among those, he told NJJN, are events “for 35 different federations throughout the country, from small towns to big cities.” One of his most recent gigs was for a Chabad organization in the Virgin Islands.
Friedman has also has been featured on television shows, including Today and The View. He is the author of the 2000 book Your Mind Knows More than You Do: The Subconscious Secrets of Success, and he is also an accomplished composer and pianist.
On Jan. 1 he laid out his initial predictions for 2010 on his website. He expects little improvement in employment levels, but nevertheless sees cause for hope. Friedman is emphatic that this is a valuable time of reassessment, and that it will bring soaring creativity, inventiveness, and resourcefulness — a renaissance, in fact.
While it is a bit too early to judge the accuracy of most of his predictions for this year, his 2009 forecast matched his claim to 68 percent accuracy on average. He predicted a rising stock market — and rising unemployment, and of course, was right on both accounts. Going further back, in 2005 he foresaw the Mississippi River “changing course” not long before Hurricane Katrina had it breaking its banks. Less significantly but perhaps just as cannily, in 2007 he predicted director Martin Scorsese’s first Oscar win, for The Departed.
Rhonda Levy of Manalapan, who is cochairing the Campaign/Outreach evening together with Nancy Muntner of Morganville, said they wanted to provide a way to thank donors “with a fun evening, to change things up a bit.” She said that in addition to the entertainment offered by Friedman, there will be hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, and raffle prizes, including travel and restaurant vouchers, a massage, and wine.
According to Eric Levitt, the federation’s director of financial resource and development, there have been special events for women who give a certain amount, but not one like this, open to the whole community. Of course, it could prove unusual in more ways than expected as Friedman puts his talents to work. Among his skills is reading minds, and at some shows he has played tunes that guests were thinking of. At others, he has forecast what will happen in the love lives of celebrities — or of people in his audience.
There’s one prediction that federation supporters certainly hope will prove correct. Given that Friedman has helped “raise significant money in a down year” for other federations, he said, “I’m happy to help out Monmouth County as well.”