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Toronto’s favorite twins building on 20 years of success

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Page (r) and Jian (l) promote Jewish causes, such as the upcoming “Golda Globes” recognizing young activists, through their Magen Boys Entertainment brand. (Photo: Avital Zemer Photography)

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What if you were planning to celebrate your twentieth anniversary as a successful enterprise with a huge celebrity-filled extravaganza – only to discover that your entire business had disappeared almost overnight?

Meet the Magen Boys – identical twins, Page and Jian, forty –something, handsome and charming, who took Toronto’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah event scene by storm in 2000 and went on to create a unique entertainment empire over the next twenty years. They never looked back – until March 2020, when the music stopped. 

Covid-19 hit.

What do you do when the industry you dominated for close to a quarter century becomes non- existent, when you realize there is  no “pandemic playbook”, and you have no idea how long you will be out of business?

The answer is in who the Magen Boys intrinsically are. They personify the classic success story.

Their parents are Persian Jews who fled from Iran to Canada in the 1970’s to escape the Ayatollas, militant Islam and Jew hatred. The boys grew up in 1980’s Toronto before immigrants arrived from other ‘exotic’ countries, after the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. That made the twins, who spoke Farsi and ate strongly aromatic foods very different from their Canadian friends. On Saturday nights, when they would go out, their friends would each get $20 whereas the twins got a quarter each- so they could call their mother  twice!

In 1990, while Canada was suffering a crippling recession, their financial situation further deteriorated when their father’s Persian rug business was burglarized and their entire inventory was stolen. The family was evicted from their home and were forced to live in a cramped apartment. The boys knew they had to hustle to help. They had paper routes, sold baseball cards – and learned how to make the magic of entertainment with the guidance of the Iron Sheik.

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The Iron Sheik was Iran’s former Olympic wrestling champion. A Muslim, he was best friends with the boys’ father who had been the Olympic ping -pong champion of Iran. The brothers say “He exposed us at any early age to the bright lights of entertainment. We sat under his learning tree and developed an understanding of hard work, dedication to your craft and always doing your best.” 

The ‘hated’ Iron Sheik, who was the bridge between the end of old style TV wrestling and the Rock and Wrestling era of Hulk Hogan as WWF Heavyweight champion, is a beloved family friend and confidant of the Magen twins. (Photo: Supplied)

At eighteen, the boys were forced to throw an after party for their high school fashion show,

as punishment for being late for practices. When over fifteen hundred people attended, their business Magen Boys Entertainment was launched. As for the Simcha event productions, “We were doing things our way,” explained Jian.

“That meant we brought a level of inclusivity and interaction that wasn’t seen before. We used the guests in ways that made them a part of the act. We were definitely the engine however the audience was the fuel. We were doing close to 30 simchas in a weekend when things were at their peak.” By the age of twenty, they bought their family a home and by then they were flying high.

Until March 2020. 

It is now March 2021.

When the whirlwind carousel that was their day to day existence for twenty years suddenly stopped, they finally had time to stop and think, to question, and to evaluate their lives.

It was obviously not an easy time for them, losing their livelihood and their entertainment empire through no fault of their own. Yet, they realized how much others, their friends and clients, were suffering through enforced separation from families, people getting sick and dying, loneliness and fear.

Their philosophy was a very Jewish understanding; they had an overwhelming realization they could help people because “their ‘currency’ was their relationships and their product was joy”.

As Jian explains,” One of the things we learned since the pandemic began is that we have a duty to bring joy to our community. It may not be as a party now, but we’ve learned we can do this by giving back”.

These are not just platitudes, it is really who they are. Their love and gratitude for the Jewish community is genuine and their commitment to contribute is heartfelt.

Since the beginning of the pandemic they have been doing charity events, beginning with The Joy Drive for U.J.A./  Untitled Giving done with Israel Apter, Avi Glina, Jeremy Blustein; delivering toys to thousands of children along with Toronto community leaders Tyrone Edwards a.k.a Mr. One Love T.O. , D.J. Charlie B and T.V. Gucci.

Their strong relationship with the Black community is the foundation of the Black/Jewish Alliance being created now with Warren Salmon, Darren Slavens, Darci Richler and others. 

Raised in a hardworking family of Jewish immigrants from Persia, the Magen boys took that example to heart and created an entertainment empire. (Photo: Supplied)

Insatiable curiosity and a thirst for learning has led them to learn more about Judaism. Recently they’ve learned more about the depth of antisemitism and Jew-hatred in Canada and Asa  result, are now working with various Jewish organizations, including U.J.A., B’nai Brith Canada, Hasbara Canada, ISGAP (with Dennis Bennie), Stand With Us, and Simon Weisenthal Centre to help combat this pervasive evil. 

Presently, they are working on a dynamic and exciting event with Hasbara Canada, which helps young Jewish students deal with Jew hatred on campus. Called the “Golda Globes”, the boys will be the chairs of this first annual event taking place this June when young pro -Israel and pro-Jewish activists from Canadian high schools, colleges and universities will be lauded and acknowledged; it will include musical entertainment, exciting guest speakers and many surprises. 

The Magen Boys were honed by the tough times of their youth; they learned the value of hard work, commitment, focus and dedication. They are inherent survivors who have true humility, a positive attitude and an overwhelming sense of gratitude that speaks volumes of their inherent decency.

What’s next for these two? They have created a video game, are looking to produce documentaries and films focused on Jewish topics, doing concerts and are working on a range of start -ups. Their entrepreneurial spirit never dims. And of course (post-pandemic) we are looking forward to Magen Boy parties in the future!

Vivienne Grace Ziner is a real estate developer, human rights activist,entrepreneur, writer, speaker and educator. She has been described as “the iron fist in the velvet glove” as well as a “pitbull with lipstick”. She loves both descriptions.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

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