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A replica jersey from a 1930s Jewish boys club in Winnipeg evokes fond memories for one of the members of that club

left: Nathan Isaacs
right: Murray Atnikov

By BERNIE BELLAN In September 2020 I wrote a story about a long-ago Jewish club that went by the name “The Rollickers”. That story was prompted by my reading the minute book of the club, which had been in the hands of Rona Perlov, whose father, Eli Weinberg, was a founding member of the club. (By the way you can read that story on this website. Simply enter the name “The Rollickers” in our search engine.)

While reading that minute book certainly evinced a few laughs – those young guys spent more time debating about who should be punished for violating arcane rules about what constituted unacceptable behavior than anything else, I noted in my story that there was never any reference in the minutes to sports.
I wondered about that. While the YMHA on Albert Street didn’t open until 1936, there have been many stories written about great Jewish athletes from Winnipeg in the early part of the 20th century. Were they organized, I wondered? Did they have clubs?
My questions were partly answered a few weeks ago when I received a call from someone by the name of Murray Atnikov. It turned out that Atnikov was a former Winnipegger, now living in Vancouver, who had a story he wanted to share with me, but which he wanted to tell me in person. He would be coming to Winnipeg in August, he told me, and asked whether we could meet when he got here.
“Sure,” I told him. I was intrigued to find out what his story was.

Subsequently, Atnikov (who I learned, after talking to him on the phone when he called me again) is better known as Dr. Murray Atnikov, an anaesthesiologist who had left Winnipeg many years ago, came over to my house one beautiful summer day, complete with a folder which he didn’t open until we were well into our conversation.
When he was a teen in the 1930s, Atnikov told me, he belonged to a north end Jewish sports club known as “The Demons”. There was only one other surviving member of that club: Nathan Isaacs (née Isaacovitch), now a resident of Toronto (and a longtime subscriber to this paper, I might add.)
There was at least one other Jewish sports club of that era, Atnikov recalled, known as “The Eagles”. Members of both clubs played hockey, softball, and football, and their competition came from non-Jewish clubs in the area. When I asked Atnikov whether any of the boys curled, he said that was something older men did, but interestingly he told me that there was actually a football field located behind what was the Maple Leaf Curling Club on Machray, which was where the Demons and the Eagles played their games.

Murray & Nathan wartime photos
left: RCAF Flight Engineer Murray Atnikov
right: RCAF Flight Engineer Nathan Isaacs

But why did Atnikov want to see me in person, I wondered? It turns out that in his folder he had some photographs, including one of him and Nathan Isaacs when they both served in the Royal Canadian Air Force, but also one of the two of them wearing replica sweaters emblazoned with the letter “D” for Demons.
As Atnikov explained to me, a son of one of their late colleagues had been going through his father’s belongings after his father had passed away when he came across an original “Demons” sweater from the 1930s.
Knowing that Atnikov and Isaacs were the two surviving members of the Demons, this fellow had the replica sweaters made up and shipped to Atnikov and Isaacs. Recently the two old friends had a chance to visit with one another – thus the photo you at the beginning of this story.

So, where did Murray Atnikov end up after the war, I wondered? As he sat with me on my front step, regaling me with one fascinating story after another, he explained how he ended up in Vancouver.
In 1945 Atnikov was one of a group of three friends who had applied to enter medical school here in Winnipeg. Although the quota on Jewish students had just been lifted, thanks to a legal battle entered into by such individuals as Percy Barsky and Hyman Sokolov (which has been well documented both in this paper and numerous other sources), it was still no easy matter for Jewish students to get into medicine here.
As a result, Atnikov said, he and his two friends boarded a train for Chicago, where they intended to apply to the University of Chicago’s medical school. While all three were accepted, Atnikov explained, they were told that there were two different streams within the medical school. In one stream, once you graduated, you would be allowed to practice medicine anywhere in the U.S. Within the other stream, however, you would be allowed to practice medicine only in Illinois. (For how long you’d have to remain in Illinois I’m not sure. I also didn’t ask Atnikov whether he knew the answer.)

Not wanting to be forced to remain in Illinois, however, Atnikov said he decided to return to Winnipeg and see whether there was any chance he might still be able to get into medical school here. Upon returning home and contacting the medical school yet again though, he was disappointed to learn that his name was still not on the list of entrants to the new year of school.
Although disappointed, you can imagine Atnikov’s elation when he received a follow-up call from the same person who told him his name was not on the list of medical school entrants to say that a mistake had been made. Apparently when the three young men had gone to Chicago and had all been accepted into medical school there, one of the other two guys phoned the medical school here to say that they could remove their names from the list of applicants to school in Winnipeg because they had all been accepted in Chicago.

It turns out that, while Atnikov was not immediately accepted into medical school, he was number two on the wait list and, pending two other students dropping out of school, he would get in – which he did.
Upon graduating from medicine in 1950, however, Atnikov left Winnipeg to advance his medical education at the University of Minnesota. One of his colleagues there was Norman Shumway, he told me, who later became an early pioneer of heart transplant surgery. (According to Atnikov, Christian Barnaard, who performed the first-ever heart transplant on a human, learned his technique from Shumway when they were both colleagues at the University of Minnesota in the 1950s.)
Atnikov went on to have an illustrious career as an anesthesiologist, in New York, California, and ultimately, Vancouver, which is where he eventually retired from practicing.
Still, after all these years, with all that he has accomplished, Murray Atnikov was most interested in talking about the Demons and what great times they had together.
Those boyhood memories – and girlhood ones too: They never cease to fade and reliving some of those experiences is what keeps so many of us going.

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Features

How Live Casino Dealers Enhance Your Gaming Experience

In the booming online gaming world, live casino dealers stand out as the bridge between the virtual and the real. They bring the physical casino’s authenticity and excitement to your screen, creating a more immersive and engaging experience. But how exactly do live casino dealers enhance your gaming experience?

From fostering a social atmosphere to increasing trust in online games, these professionals make gaming sessions more enjoyable and genuine.

Real-time Interaction

Real-time interaction revolutionizes the online gaming industry, particularly in live casinos. By leveraging advanced streaming technology, live casino dealers can engage with players just as they would in a traditional casino environment.

This dynamic interaction enhances the gaming experience by fostering a sense of presence and camaraderie. Through chat features and live video feeds, players can communicate with the dealer and even with other participants, creating an immersive and social atmosphere.

The role of the live dealer is crucial, as their real-time responses and professional demeanour elevate the authenticity and enjoyment of the game. This interactive experience makes the games more exciting. It instills greater trust and transparency, replicating the feel of a brick-and-mortar casino from the comfort of home.

Enhanced Trust and Transparency

Trust is essential in online casinos as it dramatically impacts players’ peace of mind. Gamblers look for confidence that their selected platform is dependable, safe, and runs transparently and fairly.

Online casinos build trust and transparency by acquiring proper licensing, offering secure transactions, ensuring fair play, and providing high-quality customer service. Moreover, other online casinos introduce live casino games with live dealers to enhance trust and transparency.

In addition to real-time interactions, live dealers can interact with the players like in brick-and-mortar casinos. Players can ask questions, make comments, and receive immediate responses, fostering a sense of community and reliability.

This interaction mimics the social aspects of land-based casinos, where players can gauge the dealer’s demeanour and professionalism, thus bolstering their confidence in the game’s integrity.

Additionally, live dealer games are often overseen by regulatory bodies and broadcast from high-quality, secured studios, adding another level of accountability. Multiple camera angles and advanced streaming technology ensure every action is visible and transparent, diminishing potential fraud concerns.

Professional and Entertaining Conduct

Professional conduct is the backbone of any successful live casino. Dealers who are well-trained in the game’s rules, adept at handling cards or other gaming equipment, and capable of managing the game flow efficiently create a seamless gaming experience.

They also uphold the principles of fairness and transparency, providing players with peace of mind that the game is being conducted properly.

Beyond professionalism, a dealer’s entertainment ability sets a live casino apart from its online counterparts. Engaging dealers who interact with players, share witty banter, and maintain a lively atmosphere can transform a simple game into a memorable event.

Their charisma and energy help to foster a social environment, encouraging interaction between players and setting the stage for a more immersive experience.

The best live casino dealers master the delicate balance between professionalism and entertainment. They effortlessly shift from explaining complex game rules to keeping the mood light and engaging. This balance ensures players feel respected and entertained, enhancing their satisfaction and encouraging repeat visits.

Varied Game Options

The success of online casinos heavily depends on the calibre and diversity of their game offerings. In the fiercely competitive online gambling industry, casinos must provide a wide range of top-notch games to draw in and keep their players engaged.

One essential reason online casinos need a diverse game selection is to keep players interested and entertained. Another advantage of offering a wide range of games is that it meets players’ diverse preferences. Gamblers have unique tastes, motivations, and gaming styles.

That said, live casino dealers are trained to handle multiple game types, ensuring players enjoy various gaming options.

Their professionalism and capability allow seamless transitions between games, keeping the gaming environment dynamic and engaging. This variety caters to seasoned gamblers seeking depth and strategy and welcomes newcomers eager to explore and learn.

Moreover, live dealers often introduce unique game variants and themed events that you might not find in a traditional online casino. These unique offerings can include everything from high-stakes poker tournaments to themed game nights featuring popular TV shows or movie franchises, enhancing the gaming experience.

Personalized Gaming Experience

Another key benefit of having live casino dealers is the personalized gaming experience they provide. Dealers are trained to cater to each player’s unique preferences and behaviours, making adjustments and offering insights that make each session feel exclusive.

Their friendly demeanour and professional approach ensure that the games run smoothly and that players feel valued and entertained.

Moreover, the live casino setup often includes multiple camera angles and high-definition streaming, ensuring players don’t miss a moment of the action. This level of engagement and transparency boosts player confidence and trust in the game’s fairness, further enriching the overall experience.

Conclusion

Live casino dealers significantly enhance the online gaming experience by bringing authenticity, interaction, trust, and entertainment. With varied game options and the ability for personalization, players can enjoy a casino experience that closely mirrors the excitement of playing in a physical casino.

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Is There Enough Time Before Summer to Get a Summer Body?

Do you think there’s enough time to get a summer body before the height of summer? Of course! If you start right now, you still have two months before August, which we’d class as the height of summer. Two months is enough time to make good progress and see some changes that’d make you look and feel incredible.

Read on to find out more.

Lean Diet and Lifting Weights

It’s the part that nobody likes to think about – the hard work. Yes, if you want to get a summer body before summer, you must be ultra-strict with your lean diet and lifting weights, with a sprinkle of cardio. Combining a lean diet with weight training forms the basis for your summer body.

If you’re ultra-strict with your diet and training four or five times a week, there’s a massive difference you can make, especially if you get your training plan spot on. You can also speed up the process with supplements – supplements will be your best friend! Check out Canadian Made Labs (canadianmadelabs.com) for example, to find the best supplement for you.

Stick to eating whole, unprocessed foods like lean meats, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Reducing refined sugars and unhealthy fats will help you lose fat and build muscle. Swap your sweet snack for 0% low-fat Greek yogurt, granola, honey, and mixed fruits, and you’ve already made a massive difference to your diet and outcomes. And it tastes good!

Weight training is equally essential for muscle development, metabolism, and how quickly your physique changes. Focus on compound exercises that target multiple muscles for maximum results.

Hybrid Training

Hybrid training works well. If you’ve got some fat to trim, cardio is essential. Don’t worry, you don’t need to run. A moderate-paced walk on a steeper incline can burn more calories than running, is more enjoyable for most people, and won’t leave you gasping for breath. The stair master is another good cardio machine for a quick blast that will leave you gasping for breath but feeling good.

If you really want to make quick changes, do high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT workouts consist of short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by brief periods of low-intensity exercise or rest.

This form of workout can help you lose body fat within a short period compared to steady-state cardio exercise, for example – a 20-minute session doing these intervals may benefit you more than one hour of slow walking. Apparently, you can burn 40% more body fat with HIIT. And what’s 20 minutes of sweating and suffering if you want quick gains?

Psychological Resilience and Self-Control

It doesn’t only involve physical fitness; mental strength and willpower also play a huge role in achieving a perfect summer body. Discipline and a positive mindset are necessary for maintaining focus on one’s goals. Set achievable targets, and understand that progress takes time. If you’re ever lacking motivation, pick the body you want and imagine it in your mind. Tell yourself, over and over, that you need that body. In times of low motivation, reminding yourself repetitively of the body you want can make a big difference.

Consistency in the eating plan and daily training will encourage habits that can become part of you. And, don’t only measure your progress through weight or inches alone but also how good you feel physically and mentally.

It’s time to think about your summer body…because you’re running out of time. Start today and see what difference you can make by August!

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Want to know about a a Muslim Arab state that’s been “occupied” by another Muslim Arab state? Read about Western Sahara

Contributed by DOMINIC MARTIN Did you know that a mere four hour flight from London lies a self-proclaimed Arab state chafing under a decades-long occupation? And that their haughty overlords, motivated in part by dubious historical claims to the land, partly by naked territorial aggrandizement, annually encourages thousands of its settlers to move in and tilt the demographic balance in its favour? And all this with the tacit support of its Western allies, and in blatant violation of numerous UN resolutions? Meanwhile the indigenous inhabitants of this land are left to eke out a threadbare existence in the arid scraps left to them, whilst many more languish in refugee camps in neighbouring states. And yet, undaunted, this oppressed people fight on, standing proudly under their red, green, white and black flag. Their occupiers, in a move equal parts desperation and exasperation, have resorted to constructing an enormous barrier across the entirety of the territory, de facto annexing the choicest areas to the ‘motherland’.

I talk of course of Western Sahara, or the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic if you prefer (Morocco, which has occupied the bulk of this former Spanish colony in north-west Africa since 1975, prefers the term ‘Southern Provinces’). Never heard of it? You’re not alone. Despite lying just 60 miles east of the Canary Islands, this Britain-sized slab of rock and desert occupies a position in the average Westerner’s imagination somewhere between East Timor and Ambazonia. There are no weekly protests in support of the oppressed Sahrawi people, no calls to boycott Moroccan goods, no ICC court case against Morocco, and no ceaseless stream of hand-wringing pity pieces for the Sahrawis in the left-leaning media.

Why not? Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, right? Those on the progressive left endlessly tell us that their support for the Palestinian cause is due solely for their compassion for an oppressed people – ‘you don’t have to be Muslim/Arab to support Palestine, just human’, as the phrase de jour goes. Yet Western Sahara? Crickets. This is perplexing – after all, it has all the right ingredients; if anything, it offers a far more clear-cut case than Palestine, given that the Polisario Front (Western Sahara’s answer to the PLO) has refrained from terrorist attacks on civilians and focuses its armed struggle solely against Moroccan military targets, and therefore doesn’t require the kind of awkward moral hedging demanded by supporters of the Palestinians.

And yet Western Sahara is comprehensively ignored. Its flag emoji has failed to take its place next to the EU, Ukraine and trans flags in the Twitter and Instagram bios of the right-on set. Could it be that this intra-Arab dispute between two Muslim peoples who look the same and speak the same language simply lacks the gravitas and high-stakes excitement of the Arab-Israeli imbroglio? That this dispute over a remote desert fastness, whose main exports are fish and a bit of phosphate, is simply not sexy enough? (Even Lonely Planet, usually a-gush with fawning admiration for the most dangerous and dusty ‘up and coming’ developing world destinations, calls it “featureless, arid, inhospitable and uninviting.”) Is it possible that despite the evident wrongs committed against the long-suffering Sahrawi people, that the slacktivist set simply don’t care? It certainly seems that way, which would suggest to this author at least that their support for Palestine represents for the most part less a genuine outpouring of righteous fury against injustice, than a performative display of allegiance to ‘the current thing’. Having long since grown bored of the grim trench warfare in Ukraine, this is now the sole foreign policy issue on which our progressive panjandrums absolutely insist that one must take a stand. The only other similar dispute which even comes close is the moribund ‘Free Tibet’ movement, which has long since fizzled out as its supporters realised the futility of protesting the regime in Beijing.

We are often told that the world doesn’t care about Palestine, that “Palestinian blood is very cheap” as former Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf put it. Yet the complete opposite is in fact the case. No other foreign policy issue attracts as much international attention as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and no other ‘national liberation’ struggle attracts as much foreign support as that of the Palestinians. Would a major flare up of fighting in Western Sahara be capable of swinging a British by-election, as happened recently in Rochdale? Hardly.

So, that’s the progressives. Meanwhile the vociferous rage of their erstwhile allies in the Islamic ‘ummah’ is perhaps at first glance more understandable, their religious sensibilities understandably inflamed at seeing Muslims dying by the score, and at the hands of the infidel no less. Yet even here we see a similar double standard at play. Where has been the outrage at other violent oppression committed against Muslims, such as China’s brutal suppression of the Uighurs, Burma’s genocidal attacks against the Rohingya, or the Alawite Assad regime’s brutal bloodbath in Syria? To say nothing of the tens of thousands of deaths caused by intra-Muslim civil wars in Yemen, Sudan or Iraq? It’s hard not to notice that Muslims generally ignore those issues and reserve especial ire for Israel and Israel alone. Ad for Western Sahara – it doesn’t even get a look in. It would seem that Laayoune, Dakhla or Boujdour simply lack the heady religious allure of Jerusalem, Jenin or Jericho. It would seem that some Muslim lives are worth more than others.

At some point the brutal fighting in Gaza will come to an end. The rent-a-protestors will find a new trend to get excited about. It is quite likely that we will see yet another international push to reanimate the interminable Arab-Israeli ‘peace process’. Forget potential nuclear war in Korea or Kashmir, or the slow-motion implosion of Myanmar – the entire weight of the world’s efforts and attention will once again be bought to bear on the great, grand cause of creating a corrupt, authoritarian (if not outright Islamist) Palestinian statelet in the Middle East. And when that happens, spare a thought if you will for the Sahrawis, as they waste away in their desert shantytowns. After all, no one else will.

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