| Day in the Life |

Day in the Life of Mordechai Schulgasser

 mishpacha image

Juggling torches eating flares and spinning flames is the hottest way to spark up a simchah but when the smoke clears he’s back to the beis medrash burning the midnight oil .

What I do

Fire shows — fire aesthetics and performances. What we don’t do: we aren’t a circus nor do we do some kind of entertainment that includes fire tricks. It’s just all fire.

What that means

We do performances. They can run from one minute to one hour and they include an array of fire crafts: juggling war fun with exciting music and coordinating uniforms. We also design and build custom creations out of fire — decorate event grounds with fire bowls lamps torches and so on. Some are freestanding some operated by staff.

My staff

When someone just wants an in-and-out — usually at a wedding where I wait around for two hours just to get the perfect two minutes — it’s just me. Same with a low-budget shorter show. But the longer the show and the larger the budget the larger the staff. When I need assistants I call on friends from yeshivah or elsewhere people familiar with fire and my systems to be anything from security to performers to aesthetic staff.

My biggest gig

It was actually my first a desert wedding we had a seven-man crew on site for eight hours. People ask “What can you be doing already?!” Well lamps on the property multiple light performances throughout the crowd during reception uniformed soldiers bearing eight-foot torches on the aisle a flaming chuppah post-yichud a full performance between dancing sets including a human torch — that gives you an idea. The client mentioned in the prep meetings that he wanted his chutznik relatives to have their jaws on the ground — we succeeded!

How I got started

Unfortunately as a child; I was mesmerized by flames setting stuff on fire. About 13 years ago I was introduced to the art of poi — a type of juggling craft made to be set on fire and then I discovered the world of fire performance. After a while I lost interest in the technical maneuvers and started coming up with my own ideas for manipulating flames that looked cool and entertaining. About five years ago I went public but this isn’t a full-time deal — I learn full time and do this on the side.

Busiest time of year

Chol Hamoed Succos and Chanukah are big show times and I’m always popping into weddings. Most gigs come via word of mouth. People have urged me to go more public and get the big jobs but that’s not the kind of life I’m looking for; I’d rather perform for a lower budget bar mitzvah in Yerushalayim than a high-end corporate event in Tel Aviv. My life when I’m not playing with fire is pretty busy — I learn all day and most nights at Yeshivah Midrash Shmuel. It’s hard for people to imagine that the guy dressed in black leather swinging around giant flaming whatever is actually a kollelnik. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Issue 689)

Oops! We could not locate your form.