By BERNIE BELLAN Brooke Zelcer is a 28-year-old woman who had a typical Winnipeg Jewish upbringing growing up. The daughter of Hartley and Polly Zelcer, Brooke grew up in Garden City, she says and went to Gray Academy until the end of Grade 9. After that she went to the University of Winnipeg Collegiate, followed by her acquiring two bachelor’s degrees at the U of W – one in environmental sciences, and one in international development.
While she was in university, Brooke says, she “did a practicum with an organization called ‘Food Matters Manitoba’. “I ended up working up north on Shamattawa First Nations Reserve,” she explains. “We did horticultural therapy and agricultural sustainability as well. It was there where I started to find my passion working with individuals rather than on a community basis.”
After that, Brooke began working at the North End Women’s Centre on Selkirk Avenue for several years. “While I was there I started on my masters in psychology,” she says (which she subsequently completed).
Brooke says she worked her way up at that centre and started working in a new government funded program, providing counselling to women who had been in the sex trade – “a lot of hands on, trauma based work.”
“It was quite intense, but incredibly rewarding,” she observes.
After her time at the women’s centre, Brooke began working at another organization that also provided counselling services. In time though, she realized that what she really wanted to do was go off on her own.
First though, she wanted to acquire the type of training that she was planning on putting into effect when she would be working with clients on her own.
She explains that her goal was to train in breathwork therapy and also as a holistic health and nutrition coach. In order to be certified as a practitioner in both fields, Brooke says she took a year of training in both areas.
Ultimately, she says, what she wanted to do is connect with people in a “mind, body, and soul” approach.
Beginning in August 2021, Brooke says, she began working on her own. Her clients, she says, were former clients of hers from her previous place of employment. Her supervisor allowed her to take on clients that she already had so that they would have continuity in their relationship with Brooke as their counsellor.
“But,” she observes, “the pandemic had hit and I had to shift the way I was doing things – going online, forming new connections.”
“It was tough for sure,” she says, “but it opened my eyes to doing other things.”
In time, Brooke found herself doing therapy and breathwork sessions with her clients – but through Zoom, rather than in person.
Zoom, she explains, “has the technology where I can share my audio, where I can also talk. I can also see my clients, watch their breath, make sure everything is okay. A lot of times people may become emotional so it is important for me to be able to see where they are at and hold the proper space for them.”
In addition to breathwork, Brooke says, she offers a range of services, including mental health therapy, and holistic health and nutrition coaching
“I’m offering them together through different programs that I have created” she notes, “but also separately if that’s what people are more interested in.”
I ask her what her website is called?
Brooke answers that it’s called“www.merkaba-healing.com.”
I say to her that I know that “merkaba” means “carriage” in Hebrew. I ask her how she arrived at that particular name?
She says that it does indeed come from Hebrew, but the “merkaba” symbol is also a universal geometric symbol, representing the duality of everything in life. “Merkaba symbolizes the unity of opposites. It marries light and dark, feminine and masculine energy, the material world and the spiritual realm… the power of merkaba has the ability to elevate our consciousness, heal, and bring balance, harmony, and light into our lives”.
(After our phone interview, I took a look at Brooke’s website. Here’s what the introduction says:
“Hi! I’m Brooke Zelcer, a certified Mental Health Counsellor, Breathwork Therapist, and Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach based in Winnipeg, Canada. I dedicate my time and energy in holding sacred space for those who are seeking to heal by embracing their whole, unique, and divine self. I am passionate about bringing Mind, Body, and Soul into the healing journey as I believe that in order to sustain balanced wellness, we must gently lean into the darker parts of ourselves so that we can embody our light. I am here to support and guide you as you align on your path.”)
“Breathwork is typically an hour-long session,” she says, “where the client lies down in a comfortable position – maybe with a pillow under their head and a blanket for comfort. An eye mask is also really helpful because it’s very important to keep your eyes closed during a session.”
She continues: “I use a methodologically sequenced breath in order to elicit a certain experience unique to a client’s needs. Combining purposeful inhalation, exhalation, and breath retention is really all it is. I use positive verbal cueing and personally curated playlists to add to the journey. The whole experience takes you to a transcendental state at the very end and that is where your conscious and your subconscious meet, and that is where so much healing can happen.
“That is often where people can experience spiritual awakening, where they have beautiful messages of healing from their higher selves. Some people have met loved ones on the other side, and some people just find it incredibly relaxing.”
I ask Brooke what kind of results she’s had since she’s started doing what she does on her own? I say to her that I imagine this is an ongoing process for her clients – meaning it’s not something where they can say they’ve reached the end of a process.
“People come back for different things,” Brooke says. “Many people just want to work through their specific issues – particularly healing trauma.”
“My goal is to meet my clients where they are at. No judgment. No expectations. Just show up as you are and I will do my best to meet you there. This type of personal work is not meant to be easy, so I do my best to help my clients find a bit of flow and ease throughout their healing journey”.
She rattles off a list of areas where the kind of therapy in which she engages provides real benefit: “PTSD, anxiety, depression, bi polar disorder, borderline personality disorder.”
“The kind of results I’ve gotten,” Brooke adds, “vary from person to person, but I’ve had some really amazing results, especially through breathwork. Talk therapy is amazing and we all kind of know what that is and what a therapy session would be like, but when it comes to breathwork – I’ve worked with men in their sixties, women in their seventies, I’ve worked with teenagers – and they’ve come out with a new found love for life, finding peace within themselves, and not having to look for it externally.”
As far as how much Brooke’s services cost, her website does provide full details about the types of services she offers and the rates for the various services. If you would like to know more about Brooke Zelcer visit www.merkaba-healing.com or find her on Instagram @_merkaba.healing_
Popularity of Online Casino Games in Canada
In recent years, the popularity of online casino games in Canada has surged, captivating the attention of a diverse audience seeking thrilling entertainment. With the convenience of accessing these games from the comfort of home, Canadians are exploring the vast world of virtual casinos that offer an extensive array of gaming options.
Diverse Selection of Casino Games:
One of the key factors contributing to the widespread appeal of online casino games in Canada is the vast selection available. There are hundreds of top casino games online, covering every genre imaginable. From classic table games like poker and blackjack to immersive slot machines with captivating themes, Canadian players have a plethora of options to choose from.
The Rise of Online Slots:
Among the various casino games, online slots have witnessed a significant surge in popularity. The ease of gameplay and the potential for substantial payouts make slots a preferred choice for both seasoned players and newcomers. With themes ranging from ancient civilisations to popular movies and TV shows, online slots offer a diverse and engaging experience for players of all preferences.
Convenience and Accessibility:
The accessibility of online casino games is a key driver behind their growing popularity in Canada. Players no longer need to travel to a physical casino to experience the thrill of gambling. Instead, they can enjoy their favourite games with just a few clicks on their computer or mobile device. This convenience has opened up the world of online gambling to a broader audience, attracting both seasoned gamblers and those trying their luck for the first time.
Advancements in technology have played a pivotal role in enhancing the online casino gaming experience. High-quality graphics, realistic sound effects, and seamless gameplay contribute to an immersive environment that mirrors the excitement of traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. Additionally, the integration of live dealer games brings an authentic touch to online gaming, allowing players to interact with real dealers in real-time.
The regulatory environment in Canada has also contributed to the popularity of online casino games. While each province has its own regulations, the overall legal framework allows for a thriving online gambling industry. This has given rise to reputable online casinos that prioritise player safety and adhere to strict industry standards, ensuring a fair and secure gaming environment.
Social Aspect and Community Engagement:
Online casinos in Canada are not just about individual gameplay; they also provide a platform for social interaction. Many online casinos feature chat rooms and community forums where players can connect, share experiences, and discuss strategies. This sense of community adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the gaming experience, making online casinos a social activity beyond the solitary pursuit of winning.
The popularity of online casino games in Canada is undoubtedly on the rise, driven by a combination of diverse gaming options, convenience, technological advancements, and a favourable regulatory environment. With a wide array of top casino games available at their fingertips, Canadians can indulge in the excitement of gambling from the comfort of their homes. As the online casino industry continues to evolve, it’s clear that virtual gaming is here to stay and will likely continue to captivate audiences across the country.
Life in Israel four months after October seventh
By ORLY DREMAN
(Special to the JP&N) Feb. 1, 2024
In every news broadcast that we hear that “The IDF spokesman is permitted to announce”… then every person in Israel sits down, holds their breath and waits to hear the names of the soldiers fallen in action that day. This causes deep sadness to every family in Israel. For example, I found out the son of my T.V technician was killed and my handyman’s son was seriously injured. Death in Israel is so personal.
Our synagogue recently mourned twenty seven year old Inbar Heiman who was kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music nature party on October seventh and was murdered in captivity. She was a gifted young woman filled with love and compassion. She was a creative artist that was supposed to enter her senior year at university this academic year. We had prayed and wished that she would return until her family received the tragic news of her death.
When we made personal medical visits to the Hadassah hospital, we often heard helicopters overhead bringing in wounded soldiers from Gaza. In the surgery department we saw a reserve soldier being released after six weeks in the hospital. His wife and newborn baby were with him. The department had a touching farewell gathering with Israeli flags, music and cakes. This is how every soldier who leaves the hospital is treated. More than fourteen thousand civilians and soldiers were hospitalized since October seventh with most of the injuries being in the hands and legs, burns, head and eye injuries.
We seldom are in the mood to go to a restaurant these days, but if we do, such outings are accompanied by guilt feelings. Is it right to go when our people are suffering?- the hostages are starving. We all wear the metal disc that says “Bring Them Home now- Our hearts are captured in Gaza”. They occupy our thoughts pervasively. Some of the hostages have suffered untreated gunshot wounds and the hygiene conditions are poor, many of them not showering for four months, sitting thirty meters under the ground in dark tunnels, with no electricity and suffering from extreme malnutrition. Some of them have diseases like Celiac, Asthma, Colitis, Diabetes, Fibromialgia, heart diseases and allergies. They are getting no medications and time is running out for them. Twenty five of them have already perished. What sort of civil society will we be if we abandon them?
Whole families are recruited for combat duty in different areas of the country. It might be a brother and a sister fighting in Gaza or a father in Judea and Samaria while another brother is fighting on the Lebanese border. If you ask soldiers who have lost their siblings in combat if they wish to go back to fight after the shiva, they do not hesitate, even though it is so hard on the parents. This demonstrates the dedication of Israeli citizens and their wish to complete the task of exterminating the Hamas, while at the same time knowing their family member did not die in vain. The grief is intergenerational and we are even acquainted with grandparents whose grandchildren are in combat and they are given the opportunity to go to workshops that help them with their anxiety.
In a Knesset Committee it was recently reported That many survivors from the Nova party have taken their own lives. Others continue to experience the trauma of the horrific events. They cannot sleep nor eat. Many were sexually abused and even though they were not murdered they continue to experience the pain- the sights, voices- cries for help and the fear. They are in a sense also fighters who awaken to a new existence everyday and continue to fight for their existence.
At the military cemeteries there is one funeral process after another and the families are asked to leave the site to make room to prepare for the next funeral. Wounded soldiers arrive in ambulances, on hospital beds or wheelchairs in order to eulogize their fallen comrades.
The reservists who return home after months of combat are having troubles adjusting because this war, like the War of Independence, is very meaningful. It is the most justified war our homeland has encountered. Upon their return there is a big downfall in physical and mental energy. A stranger cannot understand this. These soldiers were disconnected from normal civilian routine for a long time and they had difficult and intimate experiences with their combat mates. They have lost friends and did not have time to mourn. They must release the stress they were exposed to. They are back in body but not always in spirit. They also might be recruited again in the near future to the southern or the northern front, the war is not over. Many men who were injured worry about their future fertility and sexual functioning.
They entertain such existential thoughts as would it be better that I am killed in action before I have children and leave no descendants, or losing my life and leaving behind orphans. Dozens of children remain orphaned from both parents. They also have witnessed their family members being murdered and their homes burned down. Years ago, Solly treated and did a follow up on a family where both parents were murdered in a terrorist attack. Even though the children were adopted by loving relatives they suffered from survivor guilt and this expressed itself in such phenomena as dropping out of school, turning into juvenile delinquents and having trouble in intimate relations.
The evacuees from the south and the north are dispersed in hundreds of hotels in the center of the country. Hence, they have no permanent home, have no privacy and many have no work, nothing to do for months on end and experience feelings of powerlessness. Some pupils are not capable of returning to their temporary schools because of anxieties, depression and fear. Some teenagers have turned to drugs and alcohol which increases violence and vandalism. For them school is experienced as a waste of time. Their friends were murdered, some still have relatives in captivity and everything is falling apart. They also experience sleep disruptions and are in no mood to study. For them life is a living hell. Some families are moved from city to city several times. The children do not have friends in the new locations and they feel lonely and express a lack of social support.
In the realm of parenting many mothers even those who were NOT directly exposed to the dramatic events reported that their children cry more (eighty three percent). Others say the children have difficulties sleeping (seventy three percent), have concentration problems (fifty four percent) and many children are developing eating disorders. In sixty percent the anxiety of the children is so high it hurts functioning. For example, they are often afraid to leave the house. Other disturbances were reported such as bed-wetting, insisting on sleeping with their parents and acts of anger and aggression.
We, as Israelis are also concerned with our Jewish brethren who are experiencing thousands of antisemitic incidents, higher than the number of all incidents in the last decade. There are many Jews in the diaspora who are considering emigration to Israel after experiencing antisemitic events such as seeing their synagogue, Hebrew school, kosher butcher and other Jewish businesses being stoned and burned. For them Israel is their safest haven.
On a more optimistic note the Jewish people have prevailed over thousands of years despite terrible events. In spite of the uncertainty not everything is lost. We are united and strong. The soldiers are full of motivation and good values. I firmly believe that if we are patient and persist, the Jewish people and the state of Israel will prevail.
Orly Dreman is a 10th generation Israeli. Her cousin, Ruvi Rivlin, was a former president of Israel. Orly’s father was a diplomat who served both in North America and in Europe.
By profession Orly is an English teacher. She has dealt with children suffering from ADD.
Since childhood, Orly has been involved in voluntary work with the disabled, the challenged, new immigrants, the elderly and others.
The Critical Job Roles in Online Business
More companies than ever are embracing remote working. As of 2023, around 16% of businesses have a fully remote working model, with many more adopting a hybrid one. All of this should come as welcome news to anyone looking for a better work-life balance. As well as saying goodbye to grueling commutes, remote employees can embrace lucrative salary packages, generous benefits, and more. Ready to reap the benefits of online work yourself? Below are just a handful of remote working opportunities to consider.
Whether it’s creating Canadian online slots for real money casinos or an open-world epic, great games need talented developers. Thankfully, this is one sector where the typical rules of the 9-5 don’t apply. In the US, an experienced game developer can expect to take home around $103,000 annually. For a midweight casino games developer, a starting salary of around $65,000 is fairly respectable.
If you have a background in software engineering, you’re in luck. Currently, it’s one of the highest-paid online roles around, with an average salary of $108,000. There’s no one size-fits-all remit for a software engineer, but typical roles include designing applications, testing, and creating system upgrades.
User experience is becoming increasingly important as companies strive to make their digital products more accessible. Unsurprisingly, there’s a high demand for user experience designers, with many positions now advertised as remote-first roles. You’ll need to have sufficient software and development experience to excel here. What’s more, you’ll need to work closely with clients to meet the needs of the consumer. If you think you could do well in a role like this, expect an annual salary in the region of $97,000.
One role you’ll never struggle to find is that of a web designer. It’s a pretty broad field, so expect a lot of disparity when it comes to job remits and starting salaries. At a minimum, a web designer worth their salt should be able to create accessible websites for a wide range of clients. You’ll also need to be familiar with coding languages and testing. Less experienced web designers can expect to command a starting salary of around $43,000. If you’ve been working professionally for more than a few years and have a solid portfolio to back you up, you can easily negotiate twice that amount.
For digital natives, remote working will come as second nature. Don’t have the skills to land a web designer or developer job? Not to worry. There are an increasing number of entry-level remote roles out there.
Customer service roles are readily available, with positions to cater to all experience levels. At the bottom rung of the ladder, you might be tasked with making sales calls or resolving complaints from customers. A customer service agent can comfortably make around $40-50,000 a year. If you operate on a commission basis or can take advantage of a generous bonus scheme, you could easily double this annually.
Even as many businesses encourage workers back to the office, there’s an deniable upward trend in the number of remote and hybrid-only roles on the job market. Video conferencing technology and collaboration tools are making it easier than ever for remote teams to remain connected. Meanwhile, company executives are finding it hard to argue with significantly reduced overheads and increased productivity.