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Ronna Goldberg: the driver behind annual All Seniors Care Seniors Games

Ronna Goldberg

By MYRON LOVE

The residents of the Shaftesbury Retirement Home recently participated – along with their compatriots across Canada – in the 11th annual All Seniors Care (ASC) Seniors Games. Games organizer Ronna Goldberg reports that – in total – over 4,000 seniors – living in ASC’s 31 assisted living facilities in five Canadian provinces took part in the games that are held in the first week of February.
“Every year, we choose a different theme,” says Goldberg who is the ASC national event planner and community engagement person. “This year, the theme was tradition.”

(She observes that every retirement residence has its own personality reflecting the make-up of its residents.)
Each residence, she continues, created its own song based on the music from “My Favourite Things” from “The Sound of Music”. Thus, at the Shaftesbury with its large Jewish population, she points out, there was a lot of emphasis on Chanukah and Purim.

The week of activities, she reports, began with a non-competitive “Walk and Roll” exercise – modeled on the Boston Marathon. Residents walk or roll in their wheelchairs through the halls of their facilities. Other activities throughout the week included bocce and the similar petanque atout, Wi bowling, ladder golf, shuffle board and billiards.
On Friday, the last day of the competition, the focus, Goldberg notes, is on cognitive skills with participants trying their hand at Jeopardy, bridge or cribbage.
Each seniors games begins with an opening ceremony and ends with a closing ceremony at which the theme song is sung and – for the closing – in addition to the awards given out, representatives of all three levels of government are invited – generally the local representatives in each of the areas in Canada where the residences are located. Each residence also receives letters from the Prime Minister’s Office and from the Governor-General.
“It is really great to see the faces of our seniors,” Goldberg says. “They are so excited to be able to show that they can still function competitively. There is a lot of laughter and a great sense of camaraderie. It leaves me kvelling.”

Goldberg has been organizing the games and other activities for ASC for the past 12 years. Some readers however may recognize her name though from her previous incarnation as the proprietor of “Mindscape” on Corydon. Goldberg opened “Mindscape” shortly after coming to Winnipeg in the 1980s. Originally from Chicago, she met her future (and former) husband – who was from Winnipeg – on a kibbutz – and came here to begin her married life.
Initially, she worked for a time for the Folk Arts Council and the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council (as the Federation was then known).
“When I first moved to Winnipeg, this was still a conservative city in terms of business,” she recalls. “There were no evening hours and businesses were closed on Sundays.”

Her first idea for a business venture was to open a clothing store. “My husband suggested that I take a year to study the market and find a niche,” she says. “Mindscape specialized in cards and paper products. When I opened, I started with beautiful cards and paper products. I soon learned that customers wanted clever, funny or goofy rather than beautiful.”
Goldberg closed “Mindscape” in 2008 after 25 years in business. While contemplating the next stage in her life, a former customer who was the executive director at the Shaftesbury asked her for help planning programs at the facility.
“I had had some experience planning corporate events while operating Mindscape,” she says. “So I went pt the Shaftesbury and was soon asked to be the event planner for the entire organization.”

While the Seniors Games may generate the most publicity, Goldberg also organizes a number of other regular activities for the ASC residents throughout the year – and several of them involve outreach. For example, just before Christmas, residents at all the ASC facilities are encouraged to make Christmas cards and put together packages to send to Canadian soldiers stationed abroad as well as homeless veterans being housed at Cockrell House, a place in Victoria that provides safe transitional housing and social services to help ex-military personnel integrate back into society in a healthy way.
The ASC residents also provide cookies for the homeless in their communities at Christmas and chocolates and cards for the homeless and the bedridden for Valentine’s Day. “It makes the recipients feel that somebody cares,” Goldberg notes. “We also provide enough cookies so that the homeless recipient can share with others for Christmas.”
Coming up will be Earth Day activities on April 22nd. “We will be having silent auctions and other activities with nature themes to raise money for planting trees in each province where he have residences,” she explains. “A few months ago, we had a ‘Toonies for Trees’ campaign and we will be adding those dollars to the money we raise on Earth Day.
“Our programs help our residents to feel that they are still able to make a difference in the world,” she observes. “When I was in business, my focus was in selling my products. Now, my goal is to create wonderful experiences for the residents. I am working harder now than ever to create activities that everyone will enjoy.”

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Legal Roadmap: Canadians Working Down Under in Australia

Australia’s sun-kissed shores, vibrant cities, and dynamic job market attract many Canadians looking to expand their horizons. The allure of working Down Under is strong, but before you can exchange the chilly Canadian winters for Australia’s summer beaches, there’s a significant legal pathway to navigate. This post will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure that your Australian work experience is both enjoyable and compliant with local laws. One essential element is securing an Australian visa for Canadians, but there’s much more to consider. Let’s dive in.

Understanding Australian Work Visas for Canadians

The first port of call for any Canadian looking to work in Australia is to secure the correct visa. The Australian visa for Canadians is not a one-size-fits-all; there are several options depending on the nature and duration of your stay.

Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)

Many young Canadians (18 to 30 years old, with a recent extension to 35 for some applicants) choose the Working Holiday visa. This visa allows you to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extending it for a second or third year if certain conditions are met, such as undertaking regional work.

Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)

If you have skills in particular occupations that are in demand, you might qualify for the Temporary Skill Shortage visa. This requires sponsorship from an approved Australian employer and has both short-term and medium-term streams.

Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186)

For Canadians with significant work experience who are being offered a permanent role in Australia, the Employer Nomination Scheme visa may be suitable. It allows you to work in Australia permanently, and your occupation must be on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations.

Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)

This visa is for invited workers and New Zealand citizens with skills Australia needs. For Canadians, it means you’re not sponsored by an employer or family member or nominated by a state or territory government.

Securing an Australian Visa for Canadians

Assess Your Eligibility

Your first step is to determine which visa fits your circumstances best. Assess your skills, qualifications, and the purpose of your stay in Australia to identify the right visa subclass.

Gather Necessary Documentation

Once you’ve determined the visa you need, compile all the necessary documentation. This may include proof of qualifications, work experience, health insurance, and police checks.

Apply Online

Most visa applications can now be made online via the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website. Ensure all information is accurate and that you include all required supporting documents to avoid delays.

Visa Processing

Processing times can vary depending on the visa type and the volume of applications received by the Department of Home Affairs. During this time, keep an eye on your application status and be prepared to provide additional information if requested.

Visa Approval

Upon approval, you’ll receive your visa grant number and the date your visa starts. Make sure to comply with all visa conditions and keep a copy of your visa grant notice.

Preparing for the Australian Workplace

Understanding the legal framework is vital, but it’s just as important to prepare for the cultural shift in the workplace.

Work Culture

Australian work culture might be more casual and laid back than you’re used to in Canada. However, this doesn’t mean that Australians do not work hard. It’s a balance, with a strong emphasis on work-life harmony.

Employee Rights and Obligations

Familiarize yourself with Australian labour laws. The Fair Work Ombudsman provides resources outlining your rights and obligations as an employee in Australia, including fair pay, work hours, and workplace safety.

Networking

Leverage social platforms like LinkedIn or local Canadian-Australian business associations to build your network and find job opportunities.

Settling In

Once you arrive, there are a few practicalities to take care of:

Tax File Number (TFN)

You’ll need to apply for a TFN for taxation purposes. Without it, you’ll be taxed at the highest rate.

Australian Bank Account

Open a local bank account to manage your finances efficiently. Some banks allow you to open an account from Canada up to three months before you arrive.

Accommodation

Consider short-term accommodation while you get your bearings. Research the housing market in your chosen city to find something more permanent.

Health Insurance

Depending on the visa, you might need to maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay. Research Australian health insurance providers and select a suitable policy.

Legal Considerations

Abiding by Visa Conditions

Ensure you fully understand the conditions of your visa. Working longer than permitted or outside of the terms could lead to visa cancellation.

Taxation

Understand your tax obligations. Canada and Australia have a tax treaty to prevent double taxation. However, it’s wise to consult with a tax professional.

Legal Assistance

Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer or registered migration agent to assist with complex visa applications or issues that arise while in Australia.

Embrace the Australian Experience

Working in Australia can be a life-changing experience. By following this legal roadmap, you’ll be well-equipped to embrace the Australian lifestyle and work culture. Remember, securing an Australian visa for Canadians is your golden ticket to an incredible personal and professional journey Down Under. Prepare thoroughly, respect the local laws, and immerse yourself in all the adventures that await.

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Why don’t the Palestinians of Gaza rid themselves of Hamas?

By JACK LONDON I am Jewish. I am sickened by and angry about the unprovoked invasion of Israel by Hamas and its brutal murders, rapes, dissection and kidnappings of Israeli babies, children, women, and men. I am offended by the ignorance and distortion of the region’s history. I am offended by the policies of the CBC and other journalists who use the word “militants” to describe “terrorists.”.Militants do not rape, murder and amputate the heads of babies. Terrorists do. Hamas and terrorism are synonyms. They are not freedom fighters; they are oppressive cruel despots and thugs who have subjugated and sacrificed their own people. I am mortified that a group of 38 Liberal MPs, (perhaps led astray by Prime Minister Trudeau’s own jump to a wrongful judgment of Israel’s responsibility for the deaths in a Gaza hospital parking lot), have authored a demand that Israel desists from pursuing the leadership and mechanisms of Hamas’s terror these many years. Just what is the alternative when cowardly terrorists use civilian populations as shields behind which to hide, plot and act out their nefarious brutality?
Most of all, I ask myself why it is that the Palestinian population of Gaza has not itself found the desire, courage, or capacity to stand up, demand elections and exorcise its malevolent Hamas government?

I am not a Pollyanna automaton about Israel. I don’t agree with Israel’s ultra-orthodox sects whose members fail to serve their country and, replicating the past, inhibit their future. I do not support suggestions by some Israeli settlers of the West Bank to introduce apartheid-like policies into Israel’s existing principled democracy. Apartheid was, is and must remain an antonym to Israeli ethics and democracy. I condemn the recent retaliatory murders of some Palestinians by a few settlers on the West Bank. I fear and oppose the recent attempts by PM Netanyahu and his fascistic coalition partners to take uninhibited control of government by reducing judicial expertise and oversight of Israel’s basic laws. Netanyahu’s coalition has been, for the moment, sidelined by the recent formation of the Unity War Coalition, but it will be back in control. It is anti-democratic and increasingly and rightly disrespected in the Jewish Diaspora. Moreover, Netanyahu and his coalition conservatives have been so focused on their radical, self-serving, anti-democratic restructuring of the essential liberalism of Israel, they failed to fulfill their primary responsibilities: anticipation of, protection from and defense against inevitable attacks by Hamas throughout its modern existence and its allies. Tragic!

Nevertheless, Israel has been a shining light of democracy, innovation, education, science, business, progress, inventiveness, peace, humanism and a haven for Jews and others suffering persecution around the world. Absurdly, these strengths inflate the historic conscious or unconscious anti-Semitism of much of the world for whom anti-Zionism is just a synonym for anti-Semitism. But, Jews are the historical citizens and governors of the land of Israel. Read the voluminous histories and the Bible, check the archeology, and study the scholarly works. On the other hand, a Palestinian People has never existed or held governmental control of the land of Israel. Arabs have lived on the land, named Palestine by the world’s superpowers in 1929, but they were never rulers or governors of a state. The governance for centuries had been Ottoman and, later, British.

Compared with the never-ending deadly damage Arab leaders in the Middle East have imposed on their own populations, I take great pride in Israel’s development and in the two million progressive and successful Arabs who, as residents of Israel, share rights equivalent to Jewish citizens, including participation in the Knesset, its governing Parliament.
Hamas, which rules in and dominates Gaza, is a Mafia-like organization of masked (always the telltale mark of terror) soldiers, first elected to office in 2007, but never since forced to stand for re-election. The leadership of The Palestinian Authority has had legitimate governance rights in Gaza and the West Bank but has been hampered and obstructed by Hamas. Both the PA and Hamas have never had any compunction about senseless provocation of Israel, which has led inevitably to the disbenefit of Palestinians who deserve better. Their hate invokes continuing hardship, peril, death, and a Kafka-like impossibility of finding their way out to the light.

It is not the fault of the Palestinian residents themselves. Arab leaders, not Israelis, authored the wars in the region which have cost their peoples dearly. Successful, learned, intelligent, hardworking, affluent, peace desiring Arabs and Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank outnumber those who are poor and hawkish. They all are victims. They suffer never ending fear and malignant infection because of Hamas’s terrorism, the ineptness of the Palestinian Authority, and absurdly evil misinterpretations of the Koran by radical Mullahs – all of which is supported by Iran and Hezbollah. They teach hatred of Jews to Arab children in their schools, thereby victimizing yet another generation of their own people.

The Palestinians who suffer in the disputed territories and Gaza are victims deserving of our caring and support. Given its seaside port and border, Gaza, which originally was Egyptian, could have flourished when Israel unilaterally withdrew its troops and settlers in 2007. It failed because of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The failure was not because of Israel’s insistence on a blockade at the Gaza’s border with the sea; it was because of Hamas terror and Iranian malevolence that a blockade has been necessary.
The Palestinians suffer from the shortsightedness of their leaders, terrorist or not, who consistently reject available solutions that would end hostilities and would permit peace and prosperity to reign for all. Peace and viable two state options have been open to Arab leaders for decades and not taken. The United Nation’s 1948 Partition Plan, which divided the former British mandate into two states, was rejected by the Arabs who instead chose war- twice. United Nations Resolution 242 called for a land-for-peace solution. It has been offered and refused. The 1978 Camp David Accords failed. The Oslo Accords of Israeli Prime Ministers Peres and Rabin, and PLO Chairman Arafat in 1993/95, which bore the seeds of success, were sabotaged. The generous Camp David Accord of 2000 negotiated by President Clinton between Israeli Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat was quickly renounced by Arafat. Arafat likely demurred because he feared assassination from his own if he did the right thing.
Israel’s two base line conditions for peace: acceptance that Jews are a People, not only a religion, and that Israel has the right to exist as a homeland of the Jewish People, have not been honored.
My concern for the Palestinian population of Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank, stems primarily from the failure of its leaders to grab the always available opportunity to secure a new, flourishing path for their people. I bemoan their timidity and shortsightedness and I fear for the never-ending disappointment and pain of their people They deserve better from their own but their own, Hamas, are illegitimate cowards and murderers.
Abba Eban, the brilliant Israeli orator, in a speech in Geneva in 1973 famously exclaimed that “Arabs never miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity.” I wish Eban had been wrong. But, though some Arab countries have moved forward into the light, my heart tells me that in the case of the Palestinians, nothing has changed. They are doomed to suffer under the crushing heels of their immoral terrorists and incapable politicians, past and present.
Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come. Israel’s intention to disable Hamas once and for all will have unhappy side effects in Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East. But it has no option. It is at war begun by Hamas, which must be eradicated. It cannot allow terror to win. It cannot insult the memory of the victims of the Hamas massacre and the yet unknown fate of more than two hundred hostages held by Hamas. The side effects will be many and unhappy, but there is no choice. Israelis cannot be docile while facing the barrels of guns aimed at them. It must eradicate the shooters.

Jack R London C.M, Q.C, LLM (Harv)
Author: “Serendipity: My Path Through Life and Law” (Heartland Associates Great Books).
Former Dean of Law, University of Manitoba;
presently, Senior Counsel to a Winnipeg Law Firm

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Features

A Winnipeger at heart speaks from the heart from Jerusalem: Solly Dreman, Ph.D.

Orly & Solly Dreman (picture taken from the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba Book of Life)

Posted Oct. 31, 2023 By SOLLY DREMAN Israel is faced today with a crisis of historical proportions with a threat not only to its existence but to the free democratic world at large. The horrendous events of Shabbat October 7th in which 1400 citizens, men, women and children and infants were slaughtered, decapitated and raped, 3400 injured and 239 taken hostage in Gaza or declared missing has shocked the nation, shaken Israeli citizens’ confidence and is threatening not only Israel  but the free democratic world .

There is no question that this was a genocide of historical proportions and an act of pure evil designed like the Holocaust to ultimately exterminate  the Jewish people world-wide. This is the professed aim of Jihad, but the reactions of the international  community extend beyond Islam and the cries of the woke international community for “the massacre of the massacred” echoed in recent mass demonstrations,  hate crimes, support of leading university administrators and their students is unforgivable. Even more shocking is the support of so called liberal progressive Jews, even rabbis, against Israel  in support of a “Free Palestine”.

As a Winnipegger who made Aliyah to Israel in 1964 and has been a part of the main stream of Israel’s life as a clinical psychologist dealing with central issues in Israel like war and terrorism, immigration, death and dying and families in crisis, I have been exposed to some of the main streams in Israel’s development. I am proud of being an Israeli and being part and parcel of this young, dynamic,  nation state. I am, however, deeply concerned with the fate of our nation, which is the ultimate saferoom for the Jewish people in times of crisis.

As a Winnipegger I am very proud of my origins and even wrote a book: “A Personal Odyssey:
From Winnipeg to Jerusalem” (link attached). Winnipeg is a great supporter of Israel and in the Yom Kippur War in 1973 donated more per capita than any other city in North America.  Bernie Bellan just wrote me that in the current war efforts Winnipeg has raised over 3.6 million dollars for Israel’s war efforts, which is indeed commendable. In these fateful days Israel badly needs the continued and unconditional support of world Jewry.  Knowing Winnipeg’s Jewish community well I am certain Israel can count on its continuing support for  Israel as the continuing homeland for world Jewry.🙏

A clipping from a 1973 Jewish Post showing Solly Dreman on guard duty during the 1973 Yom Kippur war

Solly Dreman made Aliyah to Israel in  1964. He is a Fulbright Scholar (University of California Medical School, 1977) and  Professor Emeritus in Clinic Psychology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He was the Brigade Psychologist of the Jerusalem Brigade on the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur War in 1973

Post script: I asked Solly whether, given his extensive experience as a psychologist, he could offer any tips to Israelis that might help them in the current situation. Here is what he wrote back:

1. Unprecedented rates of volunteering on the home front such as offering psychological assistance, hosting refugee families from the south and north, providing food and clothing for both civilians and soldiers, etc. Being active is therapeutic and diminishes self concern and anxiety.

2. The media: Too much exposure, particularly to graphic portrayals of violence exacerbates anxiety. Too little exposure and lack of information also promotes uncertainty and anxiety. Need a moderate level of exposure.

3. Social support as displayed in whatsapp groups, zoom meetings, meetings with friends when exposure to threat is minimal are important and prevalent.

4. Parents, should present their children a confident but not invincible stance like “For sure we will win!”. They should not be afraid to admit that they are also anxious because this will prevent their children from expressing their emotions.

5. Information about victims on the home and battle front should be conveyed to children and family at large because, particularly in Israel, war and grief are intimate and the facts on the warfront will ultimately be revealed. Failure to disclose realities on the ground will create a confidence gap.

6. Routine and activity should be encouraged such as physical activity, school when there are adequate safe rooms and family and social visits when the security situation permits.

7. Contact with families of victims is important. As a  brigade psychologist in the Yom Kippur War many families complained that friends avoided them because it was difficult for them to confront death and dying. This was very painful for deceased families 

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