For the Hasmo class of ’63, last Wednesday’s 70th year reunion rolled back the years, as old boy and magician Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler rolled up his sleeves to show there were no hidden aces.

With some meeting for the first time in 54 years, the fifth-form class of 1963 at Hasmonean Boys Grammar School sat down to a three-course dinner at the New West End Syngagogue – Shisler’s old stomping ground, before he retired in 2014.

There were 60 boys in that year’s school intake, and 36 of them turned up on Wednesday night – five flying from Israel just for the occasion. Eight of their number have since died, while others who could not attend sent messages.

“It was an absolutely remarkable occasion and the most enjoyable evening of the decade,” said participant Jonathan Thumim. “We’re all in our 70th year, but some ‘boys’ were instantly recognisable.”

Over dinner, stories of the time were recalled, and those missing were remembered, before a giant Hasmonean birthday cake was presented, and Shisler left everyone spellbound with his tricks.

“There were 36 smiling faces and the years rolled away in moments,” said Thumim. “There we were, back in 1963. It was a unique occasion which will, please God, be repeated in five years’ time.”

The event, featuring photos of the day, was organised by Shisler, Barry Flack, Mark Slater and Richard Ford.

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