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A deep dive into the lives of some shadier members of our community

By BERNIE BELLAN A few weeks ago I was contacted by a publicist for a publishing company, who asked me whether I’d be interested in obtaining a copy of a new book, titled Jukebox Empire: The Mob and the Dark Side of the American Dream?
Here’s what that publicist wrote: “This fall, Rowman & Littlefield is publishing a true crime book focusing on one of the key figures in the story of organized crime in the 20th century – Jukebox Empire: The Mob and the Dark Side of the American Dream by David Rabinovitch (publishing October 15). Rabinovitch, an award-winning filmmaker from Morden, Manitoba, unravels the story of his uncle William “Wolfe” Rabin, which takes him from the Canadian prairies to Chicago in the 1940s and Rabin’s invention of a jukebox. This is the first book to expose how organized crime infiltrated the jukebox industry and it’s an untold piece of criminal, cultural, and musical history. Rabin was the son of Jewish immigrants.

Wolfe Rabinovitch and his brother Milton, circa 1947. Wolfe counts $1,000 bills to give to his brother Milton to take to Canada “for a rainy day.” The Rabinovitches were originally from Morden, Manitoba. Photo taken from Jukebox Empire: The Mob and the Dark Side of the American Dream, by David Rainovitch. (Used with the author’s permission) Jukebox Empire will be published in October 2023.

“Caught between the Mob and the feds in a plot to save the casinos in Havana from Castro’s revolution, Wolfe Rabin pulled the biggest money-laundering scheme in history, but his hubris led to the conspiracy falling apart in a sensational trial. At a time when there was a jukebox in every restaurant, diner, bar, barracks, arcade, and canteen, Rabin’s trajectory from inventor to promoter to outlaw is set against the Mob’s growing influence of the jukebox industry. In a world of music, machines, and money, popular culture and organized crime collide in this true story of invention and greed. Rabinovitch pieces together the puzzle that begins in Chicago and spans the casinos of Havana and the financial giants of Europe, leading to what the FBI called “the biggest bank robbery in the world.”

“Rabinovitch is a winner of Emmy, Peabody, and Gemini awards. His significant films include the documentary Politics of Poison and the mini-series Secret Files of the Inquisition. Jukebox Empire is his first book.”

Of course, the moment I read that email I was interested in reading the book. Here we have some of the essential elements of a story that’s perfect for this paper: A crime story with a Jewish character at its centre – who comes from Morden, Manitoba no less!
I immediately thought of historian Allan Levine, who’s written extensively about Jewish characters with sordid backgrounds – especially in the bootlegging business, and contacted Allan to ask him whether he’d ever heard of this “Wolfe Rabin?”
Allan said he hadn’t previously, not that is, until he was contacted by the author, David Rabinovitch, who asked Allan for some help.

After I began to read the book, however, I was again contacted by the publicist, who asked me to withhold writing a review of the book until October, when the book will be released to the public.
But, to whet readers’ appetites even further, here are some endorsements David Rabinovitch has already received in advance of the book’s actual release to the public:
“A fast-paced, colorful romp through a slice of the twentieth century American underworld”
-David Kertzer, Pulitzer Prize winner
“Jukebox Empire reads like a novel but the characters and events are real and chilling.”
-Peter Edwards, co-author, The Encyclopedia of Canadian Organized Crime
“It has everything: action, incredible characters, suspense, humor. Can’t wait to see the movie.”
-Fred Fuchs, producer, The Godfather, Part III
“A compelling story of family and crime that touches on key events of U.S. history in the 1950s and 60s”
-Scott M. Deitche, author, Garden State Gangland
“An eye-opening, informative, and fascinating book. Jukebox Empire is must-read.”
-Antonio Nicaso, author, Made Men, The Dark Mafia, Angels Mobsters & Narco-Terrorists
“A delightfully entertaining story of jukeboxes, money laundering, and stolen bonds.”
-Alex Hortis, author, The Mob and the City
“A unique combination of family memoir and investigative journalism.”
-Gary Jenkins, producer/host, “Gangland Wire”
“A tour-de-force account of the Mob’s growing infiltration into legitimate American industry and how it affected one man who was obsessed with power and money at all costs.”
-Joe Saltzman, Prof. of Journalism, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California

I also asked David Rabinovitch whether readers could order Jukebox Empire in advance, so that they could obtain a copy as soon as it’s released.
David responded: The book “is available for pre-order online through the website www.jukeboxempire.com (Chapters Indigo in Canada) or readers should request it at their favourite bookstore.”

Al Smiley Also originally from Winnipeg, Smiley was best of friends with Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel. Smiley was sitting next to Siegel on Siegel’s living room couch in June 1947 when a gunman shot and killed Siegel, firing through the living room window.

All this got me to thinking: Over the years, we’ve published quite a few stories about Jews with mob connections, and some of those individuals came from Winnipeg. Perhaps the story that elicited the most interest was one we published in 2015 by Martin Zeilig about a character by the name of Al Smiley. (You can still find that story on our website’s online archive. Just search for “Al Smiley.” in the “search archive” button on jewishpostandnews.ca)
Smiley, it turns out, was best friends with Bugsy Siegel (whose real name was Benjamin – and who hated being called “Bugsy.”) In fact, Smiley was sitting right beside Siegel – on his living room couch in his Las Vegas home, when Siegel was shot and killed by a Mafia hitman.

That story led to another story about a mobster with a Winnipeg connection who, it turns out, was actually related to me in a very distant way, someone by the name of Harry Altman.
In 2020 I wrote about someone by the name of John Novick in an article I wrote about the children of Jewish mobsters. In that same article I referenced Myer Lansky and his daughter, Sylvia, who was the subject of one of the greatest interviews Anna Maria Tremonti ever conducted when she was host of CBC’s “The Current.” (You can still listen to that interview on the CBC website.)

Finally, a few years back I happened to attend a Fringe show which was titled “Davey the Punk.” The creator of that show – and its sole performer, was singer Bob Bossin (who was a member of a well-known group called “String Band.”) The show was about Bob’s father, Davey Bossin who, while not a “made man” per se (Mafia parlance for someone who is accepted into the Mafia), but who was very “connected” and about whose background Bob Bossin knew nothing until years after his father had died.

What’s my obsession with mobsters, you might ask? Well, I don’t think I’m much different than a great many others when I say that I’m both fascinated and repelled by all these figures – and the fact they’re all Jewish only adds to my interest.

But, it got me to thinking – once again: Where are the stories about Winnipeg Jewish hoodlums from the North End? Even in Russ Gourluck’s masterful history of Winnipeg’s North End, The Mosaic Village, he only mentions two shady characters: Stanley Zedd, a well-known operator of gambling establishments, especially the Margaret Rose Tea Room on Osborne, and Bll Wolchuk, a major bootlegger in the 1920s.

Ernie Chisick One of the most authoritative sources on “shtarkers” (strong guys) and assorted individuals from the North End who had somewhat unsavoury reputations


So – to find out more about Jewish hoodlums of a bygone era, I turned to my most trusted source on the subject: Ernie Chisick, whom I first met at the Y reunion in 2019.
For those who don’t know Ernie – he is a raconteur of the first order and his own brushes with the law when he was younger only add to his mystique.

I sat down with Ernie one recent evening and asked him to repeat some of the fabulous stories he’s told me over the years about colourful North End characters with whom he crossed paths over the years. I was especially keen on hearing Ernie recite some of the nicknames of guys with whom he associated when he was younger.
The problem is, as Ernie explained, some of those individuals are still alive and, even if they’re not, they have kids and grandkids, so referring to them by their full names might not even be embarrassing, it might be potentially lethal for me!
I have attempted to reach out to one character in particular who, as Ernie described him, probably knows more about Jewish hoodlums… and criminals, from the North End of the 40s and 50s than anyone else alive, but even if that guy does get back to me, I rather doubt he’s going to want to see his name end up in the Jewish paper in Winnipeg. (I’m hoping that he will respond to my message and I’ll promise him full anonymity if he’s prepared to talk about his former friends – who weren’t quite boy scouts.)

Ernie though, has too many good stories not to at least refer to some of them here. He told me about a gambling club on Selkirk Avenue between Salter and Powers that was run by an individual who was known as “Montreal…..” (Again, I’m leaving out the surname because it’s a name that would be familiar to at least some readers.)
According to Ernie, that club had a lookout by the name of “Srulik Flaxman.” When Srulik would spot a cop coming, he would shout to the guys who were in the back room: “Watch out – it’s the football shoes kimmen!” (Why he referred to cops as “football shoes,” Ernie didn’t know.)

Here’s another story Ernie tells – about a character who went by the name “One-eyed Connolly.”
“They’re playing cards,” Ernie says, “and Connolly says he’s got to take a piss.” But before he gets up to go to the bathroom, he leaves his cards on the table, then takes out his glass eye, puts it on the table, and says to the eye: “Watch them guys; they’re all a bunch of thieves!” Apparently that so unnerved the other players, they sat there frozen in their seats, afraid of that well-known Jewish superstition: “the evil eye.” (But Connolly wasn’t Jewish. Can a non-Jew threaten someone Jewish with the “evil eye?” There’s a Saturday morning sermon for you, all you rabbis and would-be rabbis out there.)

With reference to Stanley Zedd and the Margaret Rose Tea Room, Ernie says that his father, Charlie, once said to him, “Take this to the Rosie (the nickname for the Osborne Tea Room) and ask for Stanley Zedd.” Charlie handed Ernie a paper bag (which, Ernie now says, unbeknownst to him at the time, contained betting slips. Ernie claims he was only an innocent 16-year-old. not yet wise in the ways of the world. Anyway, the statute of limitations protects him now.)
So, Ernie drove to the Tea Room and announced, when he walked into the room, “I have something for Stanley from Charlie.”
He was ushered into the back room where Stanley Zedd held court. “He was very nice to me and told me my father was an honourable man,” Ernie recalls.
Another time, Ernie says, he got a phone call from his father in the middle of the night.
“Charlie,” Ernie asked (Ernie says he always called his father by his first name), “what is it?”
“I’m in jail,” Charlie responded. (He didn’t say why.)
“In the morning,” Charlie continued, “give Roland Penner a phone call.” (Roland Penner would go on to become Manitoba’s attorney general, but at the time he was in partnership with Joe Zuken in the firm, Zuken and Penner.)

“So, I phoned Roland Penner’s office in the morning. I told his secretary who I was and she put me through immediately to Roland Penner.”
“Roland says to me, ‘You heard from your dad? The mounties made a raid in the middle of the night. Eighteen guys (from different cities) were charged with conspiracy to commit bookmaking.’”
“Roland says: ‘I’ve got something for you.’ “ He explained that the mounties took Charlie out in the middle of the night and it was quite cold.
“Your father wanted me to give you his gloves,” Penner continues.
“I put them on,” Ernie says, “and I feel a lump in one of the gloves. They were betting slips that could have been used as evidence in court.’
(Did Penner know that, I wonder? Ernie says he doesn’t know.)
“All the guys were taken to a lock-up in Calgary. Harry Walsh represented the three Winnipeggers,” Ernie continues.
“My dad explained that the Jewish boys were able to get kosher food to eat because one of the mounties was Jewish and he brought them deli.”
The Grey Cup was being held that week, Ernie says. “Charlie said he made $10,000 taking bets on the game” – while he was in jail.
Eventually, when the accused were brought to trial, they were all acquitted, Ernie explains.
“Walsh said they weren’t betting with each other; they weren’t in business together.” As a result, the conspiracy charge didn’t hold up, Ernie says. (If they had simply been charged with bookmaking, then the likelihood is that at least some of them, including Charlie, would have been found guilty.)

I don’t necessarily approve of Charlie’s behaviour. Rather, the stories about the less savoury aspects of Jewish lives don’t usually receive much attention in North American Jewish newspapers. (Some Israeli newspapers, in contrast, are not at all reluctant to publish extensive investigative pieces about the Israeli underword.)Yet, there are so many colourful stories to tell I thought I’d deviate from the Gerry Posner and Myron Love types of stories that extol the virtues of individuals who have led honest, hardworking lives to write about other less honourable fellows who, as the late Harvey Rosen used to say are “of the Hebraic persuasion.”

We’ll have more about members of our community who had connections to activities that were not always on the right side of the law in our Aug. 16 issue. If you might have a story to add about a relative with a shady past that you might like to share, you can email us at jewishp@mymts.net

Features

Remis Lecture Group at Gwen Secter Centre attracts large crowds to hear from two well-known speakers

Mayor Scott Gillingham speaking to the Remis Lecture group at the Gwen Secter Centre Thursday, May 16

By BERNIE BELLAN On two successive Thursdays in May (May 16 and 23), the usual fairly small number of attendees at the Remis Lecture Group luncheons more than doubled in size as large numbers of guests came to hear two well-known speakers: Mayor Scott Gillingham (on May 16); and Doctors Manitoba President Dr. Michael Boroditsky (on May 23).

The Remis group is open to anyone to attend, but anyone who is not a regular member of the group is asked to notify in advance that they will be attending by calling 204-291-4362.

I thought it might be interesting to provide readers with snapshots of what both Mayor Gillingham and Dr. Boroditsky had to say, despite my writing for a Jewish newspaper (and website) and trying to think desperately how I could tie in either speaker to a Jewish theme. How about if I mention that the mayor said he really enjoyed the kosher meal provided by the Gwen Secter Centre, which featured kugel as the main dish?

In a separate article I’ll write about Dr. Boroditsky’s talk. (I have posted about his having said that a new association of Manitoba Jewish physicians has been formed. You can read that article at https://jewishpostandnews.ca/faqs/rokmicronews-fp-1/jewish-physicians-in-manitoba-form-association-in-response-to-antisemitism/: )

Scott Gillingham began his remarks by telling the audience that he was born and raised in Brandon, where he honed his skills as a very good hockey player. First elected to Winnipeg City Council in 2014 and reelected in 2018, in 2022 he ran for mayor.

Readers might remember that former mayor Glen Murray had entered that race and was, at first, considered the heavy favourite to win the election.

Gillingham told this amusing story about election night, which was October 26, 2022: Apparently CTV News had called the election in Murray’s favour shortly after the polls had closed at 8:00 pm.

But, as events transpired, CTV was quite wrong, and it wasn’t long before Gillingham took the lead for good. As he noted to the Remis group, “By 8:30 I had lost and won the election all within a half hour.”

Gillingham explained to the audience of 38 that, as this year is the 150th anniversary of Winnipeg’s incorporation as a city, he wanted to give them a brief history of the city.

The first mayor of the city was Francis Cornish, Gillingham noted, elected by a total of 398 people who voted in our city’s very first election. The Gillingham family’s own history of settlement in Manitoba began in 1907, he said, when the first Gillinghams arrived from England, “and headed as far west as they could go until they ran out of money.”

The key event in Winnipeg’s history, he suggested, came when businessman J.H Ashdown convinced the federal government of the day to route the first trans-Canada railway through Winnipeg rather than Selkirk. Ashdown was instrumental in Winnipeg’s quickly building a bridge across the Red River, which turned out to be decisive in the government’s eventual decision. “That kind of vision and action built the city that we love,” Gillingham suggested.

Continuing on the theme of building upon that which has been laid down already by visionaries in the city’s past, the mayor said: “The fortunate thing for me is stepping into this role has afforded me the opportunity to inherit what’s already in place.”

For that, Gillingham thanked the many generations of entire families that have contributed so much to “the health and welfare of this city. Yes, we have challenges,” he admitted… “we have struggles, we have potholes,” but we still have a great city, he insisted.

He pointed to two specific projects in Winnipeg’s history that came about as the result of great vision and determination: the building of the gravity-fed aqueduct from Shoal Lake and of the Winnipeg Floodway. Gillingham also noted former Mayor Stephen Juba’s role in the building of City Hall in 1962 as another example of vision, as was the construction of the Manitoba Legislative Building in an earlier era.

“As we look back over these past 150 years,” Gillingham said, “we realize there’s a lot to inspire us.”

Turning to some of the more immediate problems that continue to fester here (as they do in almost all major urban centres), the mayor admitted “we don’t have enough housing…I’ve challenged our staff to approve 8,000 units of housing in 2024.” (He added that, as of the day he was speaking, 3,500 units had already been approved, so the goal of 8,000 was well within reach.)

He noted, as well, that new census figures for Winnipeg are about to be disclosed “next month” – which means they may already be out by the time this is read, and the anticipated fairly large increase in Winnipeg’s population is only going to add more pressure to build more housing.

As Gillingham put it, “I love my kids, but I don’t want them to live with me forever.”

The mayor also referred to some of the improvements in technology that are underway in the delivery of certain services to the public. He referred specifically to an enhancement to 911 service that will allow anyone calling that number to send a photo to the 911 operator, which should lead to a much better understanding of what type of emergency situation is being talked about. (By the way, Gillingham noted, the very first 999 service – which was the antecedent of the current 911 service, began in Winnipeg, under Mayor Juba, in 1959.)

Gillingham spoke of the need to challenge the Chamber of Commerce to come up “with an actionable set of recommendations which Winnipeg should focus on.”

He noted, as well, that in meeting with business leaders throughout North America, he has learned that they are specifically “interested in Winnipeg – and not Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, or Calgary” and each time he’s asked them “what it is they’re looking for and how we can provide it in Winnipeg?” Later in his talk he returned to this topic and elaborated on what it is that business leaders are looking for, saying they’re looking for “skilled labour and are we connected to markets?” As well, he noted, many are looking for “green energy and a quality of life for their employees” which, he suggested, Winnipeg has in abundance, with “world class arts, pro sports, universities, a diverse population, and cottage country within an hour and a half.”

At that point the mayor began to field questions from the audience. The first question posed was “Whether, in concentrating on growth for the future, are the needs of the inner city being ignored?”

Gillingham answered that there is currently a major investment in housing in the downtown. “There is $122 million in federal funding” earmarked for downtown housing, he said, of which “$30 million has already been received – which will lead to 600 new units of housing downtown.” He added that there will also be “new spray pads in the north end” this year.

The mayor also noted the creation of a new “concierge service” for anyone wanting to build something, whereby if “you call one number you can correlate all the housing requirements,” rather than having to contact a number of different city departments.

He also mentioned the next “round of funding” from the federal government, which “will focus on transportation infrastructure for rapid transit.”

Someone asked Gillingham to define what the term “affordable housing” actually means?

The mayor answered that it would be “80% of the market rate,” so that if housing is renting for $1,000 then $800 would be affordable. He pointed to new housing that will be going up where the old Public Safety Building once stood. “It will include units for less than $1,000 a month,” he said. “If a builder can include at least six units of affordable housing we’ll give them money to offer those,” he added.

Another question was about the Arlington Bridge and what will happen to it?

The mayor answered that “we’re waiting for a consultant’s report.”

I posed a question about cycling, noting that both the mayor and I are ardent cyclists, but for anyone who wants to take their bike downtown, it is extremely difficult to find a secure are in which to leave it. I suggested that the city ought to take one of the many vacant lots downtown and build a secure (above ground) compound, in which cyclists could leave their bikes. I even proposed to the mayor that it could be called “Gillingham’s Island.” (For anyone under a certain age that reference might be totally lost, but lucky for me the Remis group – and the mayor, are of sufficient age to have got the joke.)

Gillingham did address the issue of bike thefts in the city (and I just had another bike stolen not too long ago), saying that anyone can register their bike for free by going to 529garage.com. It would help police in locating the owner of a stolen bike if it’s recovered.)

The final questions were about Portage and Main. The first questioner wondered why this time around the mayor was in favour of opening up Portage and Main whereas in 2018 he was opposed?

Gillingham responded that “something happened between the plebiscite (whether to open Portage and Main to pedestrian traffic) in 2018 and today that’s shifted people’s attitudes.”

He was also asked “When you open Portage and Main will you be closing the concourse?”

The answer was “No, more information is needed.”

Finally, someone wondered whether the skywalk system could be extended to connect the west side of Portage Avenue to the east side – and thus to the skywalk system which connects east of Main Street.

Gillingham said that “We’re open to the conversation. The only date we have in mind is the reopening of the street at street level.”

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Features

Connecting the Dots: Ari Posner- Meet Ari Posner

Ari Z. Posner, son of Barry and Bebe on the left and Ari P. Posner, son of Gerry and Sherna with the cap on the right

By GERRY POSNER I suppose we are not the only family to have inter-related connections. At least, not in the old days of the shtetl. What I do know is that finding my way through these family relationships took me years to figure out and understand. Recently, the dots got connected once again.

It all started (at least as far back as I can go) when around 1905, one Isaac Posner married one Kayla Shulman. They were living at that time in the same shtetl or at least close to the same shtetl of what was then known as Propoisk (now Slavgorod) in present day Belarus. From this marriage emerged three children: a daughter, Lillian Posner – later Romalis;l a son, Samuel L. Posner; and another son, Solomon Posner. That was simple enough. As it turned out, Issac Posner was an older brother of my grandfather, Herman Posner. Isaac’s wife, Kayla, was the sister of my other grandfather, Harry Shulman. Even that was not terribly complicated. In short, my father’s uncle Issac, married my mother’s aunt Kayla. That marriage linked the Posners to the Shulmans in Round 1.

When Isaac and Kayla’s kids married, a son, Sol, married a woman from Iowa City Iowa, named Rhea Markovitz. Not long after, in December, 1937 a son of Herman Posner (my grandfather) – Samuel R. Posner, (my father), married a woman named Rhea Shulman ( my mother) also from Iowa City, Iowa. She was a daughter to Harry and Anna Shulman of Iowa City. Thus, in Iowa City there were two first cousins – Rhea Shulman and Rhea Markovitz, born less than a year apart and both of whom later married men from Winnipeg, both with the initials SP – one Sol Posner and one Sam Posner. Of course, the marriage of my mother, a Shulman, to my father, a Posner, created Round 2 of the Posners and the Shulmans joining together. Are you still with me?

When, in the course of time, Sol and Rhea and Sam and Rhea began to have children, they created a relationship for their children in what might be considered by some to be almost incestuous. Rhea and Sol had two sons, Barry and Craig (of blessed memory), both of whom were and are likely still known to many readers to this day. My parents had Linda, my brother Michael, and me. We were, and still remain, cousins to Barry to this day. I was, and still am related to Barry and Craig in no less than three ways. Why? First of all, Barry’s father Sol was a first cousin to my father Sam. Secondly, Barry’s father was a first cousin to my mother Rhea. Thirdly, Barry’s mother Rhea was a first cousin to my mother Rhea. So the ties are deep. Confusing as well.

Of course, what solidified these roots even further was the fact that Sam and Rhea, my parents, and Sol and Rhea, Barry and Craig’s parents, all lived for the rest of their lives in Winnipeg. So, there were two S. Posners – three in fact, as Sol had a brother, Samuel L., a pharmacist. But, let’s not get sidetracked. The two Rheas were very close and I suspect there had to be much confusion about these two women with the same name and almost the same age. Moreover, the two families shared similar experiences each summer. That was because Rhea Posner – Barry and Craig’s mother, took her kids to Iowa City to spend part of the holidays with her parents, while my mother – Rhea, would also take my siblings and me to visit her parents in Iowa City, Iowa. My cousin Craig and I were the same age (born one month apart ) and hence spent much time together, both in Winnipeg and Iowa City. I never could quite get the picture as to why I saw him in both locations. All I knew was that he was my cousin.

Well, we all grew up with this similar history and genetic connections. When Barry married the former Bebe Melmed, three kids followed. The eldest son was Ari Z. Posner, who grew up in Montreal – where Barry and Bebe lived. When I married Sherna Bernbaum, we also had three kids, the eldest of whom was Ari P. Posner. The fact that these boys had the same name – Ari, was more of a fluke as they were not named for the same person. Oddly, (or maybe not given the past history) Ari Z’s middle name is Zvi, the same name as my son, only in the case of my son, Zvi is his Hebrew middle name. Ari Z. is about 5 years older than Ari P. That difference is about the age difference between Barry and me.

Recently, and to my delight, my son Ari had a good reason to go to L.A. to receive a music award and, to my greater delight, he expressed an interest in seeing the other Ari, whom he had never met. L.A. is where the other Ari Posner resides. As it turns out, their names were not the only dot that connected them. Both have made a career in the arts, Ari Z has done it in writing, creating and producing for TV primarily – and has been very successful in his field. Ari P. is a composer. He is not that far removed from the other Ari since he often writes music for TV in the US and Canada.

I think of grandfather Herman Posner and his brother Isaac. Would they not be amazed at this connection? Or better yet, what would my great-grandfather Shmerya and wife Yudasha have to say about two of their descendants now – approximately 170 years after their births, meeting and reinforcing the family ties. As much as so much has changed, this little bit of Posner history is the same.

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Features

New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” (https://www.ovrimtocanada.com/ovrim-en) has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to jewishpostandnews.ca Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website, https://www.ovrimtocanada.com/, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” (https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-787914#google_vignette) That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

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