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A history of Mel Brooks as a ‘disobedient Jew’

(JTA) — Jeremy Dauber subtitles his new biography of Mel Brooks “Disobedient Jew.” It’s a phrase that captures two indivisible aspects of the 96-year-old director, actor, producer and songwriter.

The “Jew” is obvious. Born Melvin Kaminsky in Brooklyn in 1926, Brooks channeled the Yiddish accents and Jewish sensibilities of his old neighborhoods into characters like the 2000 Year Old Man — a comedy routine he worked up with his friend, the writer and director Carl Reiner. He worked Jewish obsessions into films like 1967’s “The Producers,” which features two scheming Jewish characters who stage a sympathetic Broadway musical about Hitler in order to bilk their investors.

Brooks’ signature move is to inject Jews into every aspect of human history and culture, which can be seen in the forthcoming Hulu series “History of the World, Part II.” A sequel to his 1981 film, “History of the World, Part I,” it parodies historical episodes in a style he honed as a writer on 1950s television programs such as “Your Show of Shows,” whose writers’ rooms were stocked with a galaxy of striving Jewish comedy writers just like him. 

The “Disobedient” part describes Brooks’ relationship to a movie industry that he conquered starting in the early 1970s. In a series of parodies of classic movie genres — the Western in “Blazing Saddles,” the horror movie in “Young Frankenstein,” Alfred Hitchcock in “High Anxiety — he would gently, sometimes crudely and always lovingly bite the hand that was feeding him quite nicely: In 1976, he was fifth on the list of top 10 box office attractions, just behind Clint Eastwood. 

Dauber describes the parody Brooks mastered as “nothing less than the essential statement of American Jewish tension between them and us, culturally speaking; between affection for the mainstream and alienation from it.” 

Dauber is professor of Jewish literature and American studies at Columbia University, whose previous books include “Jewish Comedy” and “American Comics: A History.” “Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew” is part of the Jewish Lives series of brief interpretative biographies from Yale University Press

Dauber and I spoke about why America fell for a self-described “spectacular Jew” from Brooklyn, Brooks’ lifelong engagement with the Holocaust, and why “Young Frankenstein” may be Brooks’ most Jewish movie.

Our conversation was edited for length and clarity. 

Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “History of the World, Part II” comes out March 6. “History of the World, Part I” may not be in the top tier of Brooks films, but it seems to touch on so many aspects of his career that you trace in your book: the parody of classic movie forms, the musical comedy, injecting Jews into every aspect of human civilization, and the anything-for-a-laugh sensibility.

Jeremy Dauber: I agree. There’s the one thing that really brings it home, and it’s probably the most famous or infamous scene from the film. That’s the Spanish Inquisition scene. You have Brooks sort of probing the limits of bad taste. He had done that most famously in “The Producers” with its Nazi kickline, but here he takes the same idea — that one of the ways that you attack antisemitism is through ridicule — and turns the persecution of the Jews into a big musical number. It’s his love of music and dance. But the thing that’s almost the most interesting about this is that he takes on the role of the Torquemada character.

As his henchman sing and dance and the Jews face torture, the Brooklyn-born Jew plays the Catholic friar who tormented the Jews.

That’s right. And what’s the crime that he accuses the Jews of? “Dont be boring! Dont be dull!” That’s the worst thing that you can be. It’s his way of saying, “If I have a religion, you know, it is show business.”

His fascination with showbiz seems inseparable from his Jewishness, as if being a showbiz Jew is a denomination in its own right.

One of my favorite lines of his is when he marries [actress] Anne Bancroft, who of course is not Jewish. And he says, “She doesn’t have to convert: She’s a star.” If you’re a star, if you’re a celebrity, you’re kind of in your own firmament faith-wise, and so it’s okay. Showbiz is this faith. But it is very Jewish, because show business is a way to acceptance. It’s a way that America can love him as a Jew, as Mel Brooks, as a kid from the outer boroughs who can grow up to marry Anne Bancroft. 

Jeremy Dauber is the author of “Mel Brooks: Disobedient Jew” (Yale University Press)

You write early on that “Mel Brooks, more than any other single figure, symbolizes the Jewish perspective on and contribution to American mass entertainment.” On one foot, can you expand on that?  

Jews understand that there’s a path to success and that being embraced by a culture means learning about it, immersing yourself in it, being so deeply involved in it that you understand it and master it. But simultaneously, you’re doing that as a kind of outsider. You’re always not quite in it, even though you’re of it in some deep way. In some ways, it’s the apotheosis of what Brooks does, which is being a parodist. In order to be the kind of parodist that Mel Brooks is, you have to be acutely attuned to every aspect of the cultural medium that you’re parodying. You have to know it inside and outside and backwards and forwards. And Brooks certainly does, but at the same time you have to be able to sort of step outside of it and say, you know, “Well, I’m watching a Western, but come on, what’s going on with these guys? Like why doesn’t anyone ever, you know, pass gas after eating so many beans?”  

You have this great phrase, that to be an American Jew is to be part of the “loyal opposition.”

That’s right. Brooks at his best is always kind of poking and prodding at convention, but loyally. He’s not like the countercultural figures of his day. He’s a studio guy. He’s really within the system, but is poking at the system as well.

You wrote in that vein about his 1963 short film, “The Critic,” which won him an Oscar. Brooks plays an old Jewish man making fun of an art film.

On the one hand, he’s doing it in the voice of one of his older Jewish relatives, the Jewish generation with an Eastern European accent, to make fun of these kinds of intellectuals. He’s trying to channel the everyman’s response to high art. “What is this I’m watching? I don’t understand this at all.” On the other hand, Brooks is much more intellectual than he’s often given credit for.

For me the paradox of Brooks’ career is conveyed in a phrase that appears a couple of times in the book: “too Jewish.” The irony is that the more he leaned into his Jewishness, the more successful he got, starting with the “2000 Year Old Man” character, in which he channels Yiddish dialect in a series of wildly successful comedy albums with his friend Carl Reiner. How do you explain America’s embrace of these extremely ethnic tropes?

Brooks’ great motion pictures of the late 1960s and 1970s sort of track with America’s embrace of Jewishness. You have “The Graduate,” which came out at around the same time as “The Producers,” and which showed that someone like Dustin Hoffman can be a leading man. It doesn’t have to be a Robert Redford. You have Allan Sherman and all these popular Jewish comedians. You have “Fiddler on the Roof” becoming one of Broadway’s biggest hits. That gives Brooks license to kind of jump in with both feet. In the 1950s, writing on “The Show of Shows” for Sid Caesar, the Jewishness was there but in a very kind of hidden way. Whereas, it’s very hard to watch the 2000 Year Old Man and say, well, that’s not a Jewish product.

What he also avoided — and here I will contrast him with the novelist Philip Roth — were accusations that he was “bad for the Jews.” Philip Roth was told that his negative portrayals of Jewish characters was embarrassing the Jews in front of the gentiles, but for some reason, I don’t remember anyone complaining even though the Max Bialystock character in “The Producers” can be fairly described as a conniving Jew. What made Brooks’ ethnic comedy more palatable to other Jews?  

“The Producers” had a lot of pushback, but for a lot of other reasons.

I guess people had enough to deal with when he staged a musical comedy about Hitler.

Exactly. But the other part is that his biggest films are not as explicitly Jewish as something like Roth’s novel “Portnoy’s Complaint.” I actually think “Young Frankenstein” is one of the most Jewish movies that Mel Brooks ever made, but you’re not going to watch “Young Frankenstein” and say, wow, there are Jews all over the place here.

What about “Young Frankenstein,” a parody of classic horror movies, seems quintessentially Jewish?

The script, which is a lot of Gene Wilder and not just Mel Brooks, is really about someone saying, “You know, I don’t have this heritage — I’m trying to fit in with everybody else. My name is Dr. FRAHNK-en-shteen.” And then people say, “No, this is your heritage. You are Dr. Frankenstein.” [Wilder’s character realizes] “it is my heritage, and I’m embracing it. And I’m Frankenstein. And you may find that monstrous but that’s your business.” It’s about assimilation and embracing who you are.

And of course, Wilder as Dr. Frankenstein is unmistakably Jewish, even when he plays a cowboy in “Blazing Saddles.” 

Right. Again, by the mid-’70s, you know, you have Gene Wilder and Elliot Gould and Dustin Hoffman, all Jews, in leading roles. “Young Frankenstein” ends up being a movie about coming home and embracing identity, which is playing itself out a lot in American Jewish culture in the 1970s. 

I guess I have to go back and watch it for the 14th time with a different point of view.

That’s the fun part of my job.

You talk about what’s happening at the same time as Brooks’ huge success, which is, although he’s a little younger, the emergence of Woody Allen. You describe Brooks and Woody Allen as the voice of American Jewish comedy, but in very different ways. What are the major differences?

Gene Wilder, who worked with both of them, says that working with Allen is like lighting these tiny little candles, and with Brooks, you’re making big atom bombs. The critical knock against Brooks was that he was much more interested in the joke than the story. And I think with the exception maybe of “Young Frankenstein” there’s a lot of truth to that. The jokes are phenomenal, so that’s fine. Allen pretty quickly moved towards a much more narrative kind of film, and so began to be seen as this incredibly intellectual figure. In real life, Allen always claimed that he wasn’t nearly as intellectual as everyone thought, while Brooks had many more kinds of intellectual ambitions than the movie career that he had. There is a counterfactual world in which “The 12 Chairs,” his 1970 movie based on a novel by two Russian Jewish novelists and which nobody talks about, makes a ton of money. 

Instead, it bombs, and he makes “Blazing Saddles,” which works out very well for everybody.

Although he does create Brooksfilms, and produces more narrative, serious-minded films like “The Elephant Man” and “84 Charing Cross Road.”

Right, and decides that if he puts his name on these as a director, they’re going to be rejected out of hand. There is a shelf of scholarship on Woody Allen, but if you look at who had influence on America in terms of box office and popularity, it’s Brooks winning in a walk.

You also mention Brooks and Steven Spielberg in the same sentence. Why do they belong together? 

Partly because they had huge popular success in the mid-’70s. Brooks is a generation older, but they are hitting their cinematic success at the same time. And they are both movie fans. 

Which comes out in their work — Brooks in his film parodies and Spielberg in the films that echo the films he loved as kid.

Until maybe his remake of “West Side Story,” Spielberg is not really a theater guy in the way that Brooks is, when success meant to make it on Broadway. When Brooks was winning all those Tonys in 2001 for the Broadway musical version of “The Producers,” it may have been almost more meaningful for his 5-year-old, or 7- or 8-year-old self than making his incredibly popular pictures. 

You also write about Brooks being a small “c” conservative, a bit of a square. Which I think will surprise people who think about the fart jokes and the peepee jokes and all that stuff. And by square, I mean, kind of old showbizzy, even a little prudish sometimes. 

I think that’s right. There’s a great moment that I quote at the end of the book where they are trying out the musical version of “The Producers,” and they want to put the word “f–k” in and Brooks is like, “I don’t know if we can do that on Broadway,” and Nathan Lane is like, “Have we met? You’re Mel Brooks!” He’s a 1950s guy.  

Another place where this kind of conservatism comes in is when you compare him to other comedians of the 1950s and ’60s — the so-called “sick comics” like Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl who were pushing the envelope in terms of subject matter and politics. He wasn’t part of that. He was part of Hollywood. He was trying to make it in network television.

There is an interview in that era when he complained that people who are writing for television are not “dangerous.” Meanwhile, he himself was writing for television. But I think it’s fair to say that “The Producers” was really something different. You didn’t have to be Jewish to be offended by “The Producers.” But as we were saying before, he is more of the loyal opposition, rather than sort of truly out there. He’s not making “Easy Rider.”

An exhibit space at the Museum of Broadway evokes the scenery from the Mel Brooks musical “The Producers.” (NYJW)

“The Producers” is part of Brooks’ lifelong gambit of mocking the Nazis, I think starting when he would sing anti-Hitler songs as a GI in Europe at the tail end of World War II. Later he would remake Jack Benny’s World War II-era anti-Nazi comedy, “To Be or Not to Be.” And then there is the quick “Hitler on Ice” gag in “History of the World, Part I.” Brooks always maintains that mocking Nazis is the ultimate revenge on them, while you note that Woody Allen in “Manhattan” makes almost the opposite argument: that the way to fight white supremacists is with bricks and baseball bats. Did you come down on one side or the other?

To add just a twinge of complication is the fact that Brooks actually fought Nazis, and also had a brother who was shot down in combat. So for me to sit in moral judgment on anybody who fought in World War II is not a place that I want to be. What’s interesting is that Brooks makes a lot of these statements over the course of a career in which Nazism is done, in the past, defeated. Tragically, the events of the last number of years made white supremacy and neo-Nazism a live question again. When “The Producers” was staged as a musical in the early 21st century, people could say, “Okay, Nazism’s time has passed.” It’s not clear to me that we would restage “The Producers” now as a musical on Broadway, when just last week you had actual neo-Nazis handing out their literature outside a Broadway show. It would certainly be a lot more laden than it was in 2001. 

Time also caught up with Brooks in his depiction of LGBT characters. Gay characters are the punchlines in “The Producers” and “Blazing Saddles” in ways that have not aged well. But you also note how both movies are about two men who love each other, to the exclusion of women. 

There’s an emotive component to him about these male relationships. Bialystok and Bloom [the protagonists in “The Producers”] is a kind of love story. One of the interesting things is that as it became comparatively more comfortable for gay men to live their truth in society and in Hollywood, there was an evolution. In that remake of “To Be or Not to Be,” there is a much more sympathetic gay character who’s not stereotypical.

What other aspects of Brooks’ Jewishness have we not touched upon? For instance, he’s not particularly interested in Judaism as a religion, and ritual and theology rarely come up in his films, even to be mocked.

It’s not something that he’s particularly interested in. To him, being Jewish is a voice and a language. From the beginning of his career the voice is there. What he’s saying in these accents is that this is Jewish history working through me. It is, admittedly, a very narrow slice of Jewish history. 

The first- and second-generation children of Jewish immigrants growing up in Brooklyn neighborhoods that were overwhelmingly Jewish. 

It was a Jewishness that was aspirational. It was intellectual. It was a musical Jewishness. It was not in the way we use this phrase now, but it was a cultural Jewishness. It was not a synagogue Jewishness or a theological Jewishness. But of course he is Jewish, deeply Jewish. He couldn’t be anything else. And so he didn’t, and thank God for that.


The post A history of Mel Brooks as a ‘disobedient Jew’ appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Canada’s economic growth projected to be about 1% in the first half of 2024

Canada is a country with a thriving Jewish community and has traditionally offered the security of a strong economy for residents. The national economic outlook is naturally something that everyone in Canada’s Jewish community keeps track of – especially those involved in business in the various provinces.

With this in mind, the July 2023 Monetary Policy Report from the Bank of Canada made for interesting reading, projecting a moderate economic growth figure of around 1% for the first half of 2024. This is in line with growth figures that had been forecast for the second half of 2023, and sees the country’s economy remain on a stable footing.

Steady projected growth for first half of 2024

Although projected economic growth of around 1% in early 2024 is not as impressive as figures of around 3.4% in 2022 and 1.8% in 2023, it is certainly no cause for alarm. But what might be behind it?

Higher interest rates are one major factor to consider and have had a negative impact on household spending nationally. This has effectively seen people with less spending power and businesses in Canada generating less revenue as a result.

Interest rate rises have also hit business investments nationally, and less money is being channelled into this area to fuel Canada’s economic growth. When you also factor in how the weak foreign demand for Canadian goods and services has hit export growth lately, the projected GDP growth figure for early 2024 is understandable.

Growth in second half of 2024 expected

Although the above may make for interesting reading for early 2024, the Bank of Canada’s report does show that economic growth is expected to pick up in the second half of the year. This is projected to be due to the decreasing effect of high interest rates on the Canadian economy and a stronger foreign demand for the country’s exports.

Moving forward from this period, it is predicted that inflation will remain at around 3% as we head into 2025, and hit the Bank of Canada’s inflation target of 2% come the middle of 2025. All of this should help the country’s financial status remain stable and prove encouraging for business leaders in the Jewish community.

Canada’s economic growth mirrors iGaming’s rise

When you take a look at the previous growth figures Canada has seen and also consider the growth predicted for 2024 (especially in the second half of the year), it is clear that the country has a vibrant, thriving economy.

This economic growth is something that can be compared with iGaming’s recent rise as an industry around the country. In the same way as Canada has steadily built a strong economy over time, iGaming has transformed itself into a powerful, flourishing sector.

This becomes even clearer when you consider that Canadian iGaming has been a major contributor to the sustained growth seen in the country’s arts, entertainment and recreation industry, which rose by around 1.9% in Q2 of 2023. The healthy state of online casino play in Canada is also evidenced by how many customers the most popular casino platforms attract and how the user experience these operators offer has enabled iGaming in the country to take off.

This, of course, is also something that translates to the world stage, where global iGaming revenues in 2023 hit an estimated $95 billion. iGaming’s global market volume is also pegged to rise to around $130 billion by 2027. These kinds of figures represent a sharp jump for iGaming worldwide and show how the sector is on the ascent.

Future economic outlook for Canada in line with global expectations

When considering the Canadian economic outlook for 2024, it is often useful to look at how this compares with global financial predictions. In addition to the rude health of iGaming in Canada being reflected in global online casino gaming, the positive economic outlook for the country is also broadly in line with expectations for many global economies.

Global growth is also predicted to rise steadily in the second half of 2024 before becoming stronger in 2025. This should be driven by the weakening effects of high interest rates on worldwide economic prosperity. With rate cuts in Canada already expected after Feb 2024’s inflation report, this could happen in the near future.

The performance of the US economy is always of interest in Canada, as this is the country’s biggest trading partner. Positive US Q2 performances in 2023, powered by a strong labor market, good consumer spending levels and robust business investments, were therefore a cause for optimism. As a US economy that continues to grow is something that Canadian businesses welcome, this can only be a healthy sign.

Canada set for further growth in 2024

Local news around Canada can cover many topics but the economy is arguably one of the most popular. A projected GDP growth figure of around 1% for Canada’s economy shows that the financial state of the country is heading in the right direction. An improved financial outlook heading into the latter half of 2024/2025 would make for even better reading, and the national economy should become even stronger.

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The Legal Landscape of Online Gambling in Canada

Online gambling has grown in popularity around the globe in recent years. While many jurisdictions have legalized land-based gambling, it hasn’t applied to online platforms. Nonetheless, Canada is one nation that has legalized online gambling with their provinces’ licensing and regulating sites.

Nonetheless, Canadians of legal age can enjoy playing their favourite online games where available. So many games like slots, blackjack, and roulette still maintain their popularity even in the digital sense.  Want to learn about what’s legal in Canada for online gambling? Let’s take a look.

What is legal for online gambling in Canada?

What is the best online casino in Canada? The list we provide you here should be a good start. It’s also important to note that most Canadian provinces do not have laws that prohibit offshore online casinos.

Many provinces provide licensing to online casinos. They even regulate them as well. For example, Alberta and British Columbia have sites regulated by their respective governing bodies. The Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) allows legal online gambling and oversees the services it offers to Maritime provinces such as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

However, there are some caveats to address. In Newfoundland and Labrador, online gambling that is not offered by the ALC is considered illegal. Therefore, it is the only Canadian province as of 2024 that prohibits offshore options.

In terms of the legal age, there are three provinces where the legal age is 18: Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec. The remaining provinces establish 19 as the legal age for gambling including online.

Who are the regulatory bodies for gambling in Canada?

At the Federal level, the Canadian Gaming Association is the regulatory body for gambling in Canada. Thus, they cover both land-based and online gambling in the country. There are also provincial and regional regulatory bodies such as the Atlantic Lottery Corporation (ALC) – which covers the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador.  

The Western Canada Lottery Corporation covers Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, and the Yukon Territory. A handful of provinces also have their regulatory bodies covering lottery and gaming.

Canada requires online casinos that wish to accept players from the country to adhere to regulations and licensing. These licenses are provided by provincial regulatory bodies. When licensed, online casinos must follow the regulations and security standards.

However, there is the belief that many of the laws about gambling in Canada may be outdated. This could be because these laws were created long before the advent of the Internet. Therefore, such laws may need to be modernized. Nonetheless, online gambling for the most part is legal, just dependent on the province.

Are there any legal grey areas to discuss?

The grey area that is considered a concern pertains to the use of offshore sites. As mentioned earlier, Newfoundland and Labrador is believed to be the only province that prohibits it. Even online casinos with no licensing by Canadian or provincial authorities accept residents of the country.

On the players’ end, many Canadians are allowed to play at online casinos. However, they may be restricted from certain platforms. This is to ensure that the players themselves are protected from unknowingly playing on platforms that may be illegal. 

What are the other laws and regulations about online gambling in Canada?

Online casinos have implemented measures for responsible gambling. This includes providing support and resources to problem gamblers on their site. They are also restricted regarding the marketing and advertising aspects of promoting their platform. 

One restriction of note is that marketing that is targeted at minors is prohibited. Another prohibits professional athletes from appearing in online casino ads in Ontario.

Even offshore casinos must adhere to these laws and regulations. Especially if they have obtained a license from the provincial bodies that allow them to operate.

Canada’s online gambling is legal – but will things change

As it stands right now, the legality of online gambling in Canada seems to fall under the purview of provincial laws and regulations. Canadian citizens must perform their due diligence further to see which online casinos are allowed by their respective provinces. Just because it may be legal in one province, it may not be the same in others.

Nonetheless, the question is: will any laws relax certain restrictions? Will Newfoundland and Labrador change their tune regarding offshore casinos? It’s unclear what the future holds – but watch this space for any changes about online gambling in Canada.  

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Obituaries

Dr. NATHAN WISEMAN

Wiseman, Nathan Elliot
1944 – 2023
Nathan, our beloved husband, Dad, and Zaida, died unexpectedly on December 13, 2023. Nathan was born on December 16, 1944, in Winnipeg, MB, the eldest of Sam and Cissie Wiseman’s three children.
He is survived by his loving wife Eva; children Sam (Natalie) and Marni (Shane); grandchildren Jacob, Jonah, Molly, Isabel, Nicole, and Poppy; brother David (Sherrill); sister Barbara (Ron); sister-in-law Agi (Sam) and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Nathan grew up in the north end of Winnipeg surrounded by his loving family. He received his MD from the University of Manitoba in 1968, subsequently completed his General Surgery residency at the University of Manitoba and went on to complete a fellowship in Paediatric Surgery at Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard University. His surgeon teachers and mentors were world renowned experts in the specialty, and even included a Nobel prize winner.
His practice of Paediatric Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg spanned almost half a century. He loved his profession and helping patients, even decades later often recounting details about the many kiddies on whom he had operated. Patients and their family members would commonly approach him on the street and say, “Remember me Dr. Wiseman?”. And he did! His true joy was caring for his patients with compassion, patience, unwavering commitment, and excellence. He was a gifted surgeon and leaves a profound legacy. He had no intention of ever fully retiring and operated until his very last day. He felt privileged to have the opportunity to mentor, support and work with colleagues, trainees, nurses, and others health care workers that enriched his day-to-day life and brought him much happiness and fulfillment. He was recognized with many awards and honors throughout his career including serving as Chief of Surgery of Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg, President of the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons, and as a Governor of the American College of Surgeons. Most importantly of all he helped and saved the lives of thousands and thousands of Manitoba children. His impact on the generations of children he cared for, and their families, is truly immeasurable.
Nathan’s passion for golf was ignited during his childhood summers spent at the Winnipeg Beach Golf Course. Southwood Golf and Country Club has been his second home since 1980. His game was excellent and even in his last year he shot under his age twice! He played an honest “play as it lies” game. His golf buddies were true friends and provided him much happiness both on and off the course for over forty years. However, his passion for golf extended well beyond the eighteenth hole. He immersed himself in all aspects of the golf including collecting golf books, antiques, and memorabilia. He was a true scholar of the game, reading golf literature, writing golf poetry, and even rebuilding and repairing antique golf clubs. Unquestionably, his knowledge and passion for the game was limitless.
Nathan approached his many woodworking and workshop projects with zeal and creativity, and he always had many on the go. During the winter he was an avid curler, and in recent years he also enjoyed the study of Yiddish. Nathan never wasted any time and lived his life to the fullest.
Above all, Nathan was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, father-in-law, son-in-law, uncle, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and granduncle. He loved his family and lived for them, and this love was reciprocated. He met his wife Eva when he was a 20-year-old medical student, and she was 18 years old. They were happily married for 56 years. They loved each other deeply and limitlessly and were proud of each other’s accomplishments. He loved the life and the family they created together. Nathan was truly the family patriarch, an inspiration and a mentor to his children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and many others. He shared his passion for surgery and collecting with his son and was very proud to join his daughter’s medical practice (he loved Thursdays). His six grandchildren were his pride and joy and the centre of his world.
Throughout his life Nathan lived up to the credo “May his memory be a blessing.” His life was a blessing for the countless newborns, infants, toddlers, children, and teenagers who he cared for, for his colleagues, for his friends and especially for his family. We love him so much and there are no words to describe how much he will be missed.
A graveside funeral was held at the Shaarey Zedek cemetery on December 15, 2023. Pallbearers were his loving grandchildren. The family would like to extend their gratitude to Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun Herzlia Congregation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba, in the name of Dr. Nathan Wiseman.

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