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Proliferation of Middle Eastern restaurants in Winnipeg satisfies desire for Israeli foods

Ramallah Cafe is popular with Israelis

By BERNIE BELLAN

In recent weeks I’ve had occasion to meet the owners of some Arab restaurants in this city. Sure, it was to talk to them about advertising – but it was also a chance to discuss their feelings about relations between Jews and Muslims.

 

If you’ve been following news from Toronto of late you’d be aware that there’s palpable tension in the air there over what have been overt displays of anti-Israel behaviour. In our last issue we reported on the disturbing situation regarding a particular food establishment known as Foodbenders and how the owner of that establishment seemed to be going out of her way to foment hatred toward anyone who was pro-Israel.
I’m glad to see that many other food establishments that had been buying food from Foodbenders have now canceled their orders and that many public figures in Toronto came our four square against the stance that Foodbenders had taken.

Then, a couple of weekends ago, there was yet another display of crude anti-Semitic behaviour in Toronto – this time at a rally organized by pro-Palestinians where the slogan “Palestine is our country and the Jews are our dogs!” was chanted by some of the attendees. (See the report from B’nai Brith about that rally on page 15.)
Now, while it’s not unusual for there to be displays of hostility toward Israel on university campuses throughout North America, with everything else that’s going on in the world it seems a little confounding for outbursts of anti-Israel behaviour to be occurring in Toronto right now.
There is a certain element of spill-over from the Black Lives Matter movement that can’t be denied as having something to do with these displays of overt hatred for Israel but, by and large, while there are undeniably certain individuals who are prone to displaying abject ignorance about Jews within the Black Lives Matter movement, these two recent examples of extreme hostility toward Israel in Toronto would seem to be exceptions to the relative indifference most Canadians have toward Israel (except, of course, for those of us watching the apparent re-emergence of COVID in Israel on a massive scale).
On top of all that, it looks like Netanyhau’s putative move to annex parts of the West Bank (and I use that term deliberately – not the term “Judea and Samaria”, which has a different connotation) has been put on hold for the time being. Apparently word has come out even from the Trump camp that annexation would not be viewed positively within Trumpland. That’s a little bit hard to understand since Trump has made it a policy to defy traditional thinking whenever he can.
Still, there doesn’t seem to be anything going on within Israel or the West Bank that might be considered all that provocative right now, preoccupied as most people there are with fending off COVID – so why there should be outbursts of anti-Israel sentiment at this time is a little hard to understand.

So it was that I met with the owners of two popular Arab restaurants in Winnipeg – and while we didn’t talk politics much, I was interested to hear that both Ramallah Cafe on Pembina and Arabesque on Corydon have many Jewish patrons, especially Israelis.
I wrote about some other Arab restaurants two summers ago, including Yaffa Cafe on Portage Avenue and Les Saj on St. James Street in an article titled “In search of Israeli cuisine – in Winnipeg”.
(I also wrote about Joy Coffee Bar on Roblin Blvd., which is owned by Israeli Alex Meron-Gamili and serves some Israeli foods although Alex takes pains to explain that his specialty is coffee, not food; and, of course, Falafel Place, which serves some Israeli foods. At the time that I wrote the article Bermax Caffe was also still around and I wrote about that place as well. Don’t bother asking me if I know what’s happened to the owners of that establishment. I don’t.)
That article prompted some readers to suggest other places that serve great food that would be familiar to anyone who’s been to Israel: Baraka Bakery on Main Street and the aforesaid Ramallah Cafe. (I’ve also been to Blady Middle Eastern on Portage Avenue and had something delicious there, but for the life of me I don’t know what it was. I just said to the person behind the counter: “Give me something delicious” – and he did.)
There are also loads of shawarma restaurants now in Winnipeg – something that anyone who has been to Israel would find quite familiar.

So – if you’re looking to try some of the foods that you might have eaten when you were in Israel, well – there is certainly a wide choice of establishments available here from which to choose. Unlike a city such as Toronto, however, which has a huge expatriate Israeli community, Winnipeg doesn’t have a uniquely Israeli restaurant.
I’m sort of surprised at that. I know there have been attempts in the past to have an authentically “Israeli” restaurant in Winnipeg, and what with the fairly large influx of Israelis we’ve had move here over the years, you would think that someone would have tried to create an Israeli restaurant catering to that specific community.
But, just as in Israel, where Jews and Arabs eat so many of the same foods – over and over again whenever I’ve asked the owners of Arab restaurants here whether they have many Jewish customers, they all answer in the affirmative, noting in particular that many Israelis come to their restaurants.
But, let’s be honest: There are readers of this paper who wouldn’t dare set foot in a restaurant called “Ramallah Cafe” (and I’ve been to Ramallah – it’s not my favourite place to visit, I’ll admit, but it did have some great food).
When I met with the owners of Ramallah Cafe and they told me they’d like to advertise in this paper, I wanted to ask them whether they’d consider changing the name of their restaurant to “Tel Aviv Cafe” – just for a short while, so that some readers of this paper who would never consider entering an establishment called “Ramallah Cafe” would give them a try – but I didn’t end up suggesting that after all.
They’re really nice guys though – and, just like every other restaurant in this city, the pandemic and resulting lockdown has really hurt them, but they seem confident they’ll weather the storm.
By the way, it was Ami Hassan of Falafel Place who told me about the latest Arab food establishment to open here, called “Tarboosh”. It’s also on Pembina Highway – in Fort Garry, and it’s owned by the same two people who own Arabesque on Corydon.
I stopped in there one day when I was cycling down Pembina Highway and noticed the sign. It’s still under construction as they haven’t opened the restaurant portion yet, but wow – is it ever big – and what an assortment of foods and spices it has!
I was talking to a charming young woman by the name of Heba Abdel-Hamid while I was there. Heba is co-owner of both Arabesque and Tarboosh. She told me she’s from Montreal originally and grew up in a largely Jewish neighbourhood where she had many Jewish friends.
She agreed with my observation that people generally get along in Winnipeg – in contrast with Montreal and Toronto, which both have quite a bit more ethnic tensions among residents, I think it’s fair to say.
Maybe I’m just naive but I know that individuals such as Belle Jarniewski have done much to bring disparate groups here together over the years – and I don’t recall a single instance of hearing about an imam in a mosque here ever delivering the kind of hateful sermon against Jews that we read about from time to time as having happened in Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal – and not too long ago, in Calgary as well.
So, when Heba Abdel-Hamid told me that she’s also a part of the Arab-Jewish Dialogue, it served as a reminder how lines of communication are more open in Winnipeg than many other cities. Since we don’t have Folklorama this year, if you’re interested in replicating to some extent the experience of enjoying various ethnic foods, then some of the restaurants I’ve just mentioned here might be worth a try. They all have take-out by the way.

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Features

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.

Technology Advancements:

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.

Regulatory Environment:

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.

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Features

Life in Israel four months after October seventh

Orly & Solly Dreman

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. 

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Features

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.

Video Game and Casino Platform Development

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.

Software Engineering

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.

UX Design

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.

Web Design

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.

Entry-Level Online Roles

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.

Is Remote Working Here To Stay?

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.

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