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A new mural in Nolita celebrates a Holocaust rescuer

(New York Jewish Week) — In the heavily trafficked neighborhood of Nolita, a larger-than-life mural has popped up on the corner of Spring St. and Elizabeth St. Bright orange and pink paint spell out the words “Saved 3,000 Jewish Lives” next to a black and white portrait of Holocaust rescuer Tibor Baranski.

The mural, an art piece designed to combat hate and spark conversation, is the brainchild of “Artists 4 Israel,” a non-profit organization that aims to “prevent the spread of antisemitic and anti-Israel bigotry by helping to heal communities that have been affected by hate through art,” according to its CEO and co-founder Craig Dershowitz.

“Our rallying cry is art over hate,” Dershowitz said. Baranski’s portrait, painted by Fernando “SKI” Romero, a renowned graffiti artist based in Queens, is part of the organization’s “Righteous Among the Nations Global Mural Project.” It aims to establish a network of murals painted in cities around the world that feature other “Righteous Among the Nations” members who helped save Jews during the Holocaust.

“His story was beautiful and it really touched me,” Romero, who is Dominican, said of Baranski, who collaborated with Artists 4 Israel on deciding whom to feature in the New York mural. “The want to paint something came very easily with something so selfless.”

The Baranski mural in Nolita is the third installment of the mural project; eventually there will be 10 murals around the world, said Dershowitz. Each subject is given a mural in their home state or country where they aided Jews: In Portugal, a mural of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a diplomat who helped arrange passports for Jews has become a popular tour bus stop. In Greece, a mural of Mayor Loukas Karrer and Archbishop Dimitrios Chrysostomos led to national media coverage.

Though Baranski was Hungarian, he lived in Buffalo, New York for nearly six decades and felt at home in New York, which is why the Artists 4 Israel chose him for the mural in Manhattan.

In 1944, Baranski was 22 and studying to become a Catholic priest in Slovakia when the Russian Army invaded and he was forced to return to Budapest, where he grew up.

He never returned to the seminary, and abandoned his dream of becoming a priest. Instead, he dedicated the next years of his life to orchestrating the escape of more than 3,000 Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust.

After arriving in Budapest, Baranski headed to the Vatican embassy residence of the Papal Nuncio Angelo Rotta, where a long line of people were requesting help. The Vatican embassies in Switzerland, Sweden, Spain and Portugal were some of the only places where Jews and other refugees were able to secure letters of protection and necessary documents to leave their countries.

Carol Romeo, who said her family survived the Holocaust, pauses to touch the mural of Holocaust rescuer Tibor Baranski created by Fernando “SKI” Romero, a Dominican-American artist born and raised in Queens. “I never knew he existed,” she said of Baranski. “And he lived here in New York. Everyone should know his story.” (CAM and Artists4Israel)

Pretending to be a priest, Baranski managed to arrange a meeting with Rotta, where he secured documents for a Jewish family he knew. As the story goes, Rotta soon recruited Baranski to help organize protection letters, baptismal certificates and immigration certificates for Jews trying to escape Hungary. He also helped coordinate food and housing for the escapees. Over the next two months, Baranski saved 3,000 Jewish lives, according to official records — though his sons have said he believes the number was closer to 15,000.

After the war, Baranski was imprisoned by the Soviet army for five years for his anti-communist beliefs. He became a freedom fighter during the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 before moving to Rome to start a refugee camp with his wife Katalin.

Eventually the couple moved to Canada and then settled in Buffalo, where they were active members of the community and raised their three children, Tibor Jr., Kati and Peter.

Baranski, who died in 2019, was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Righteous Among the Nations in 1979, and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council.

In an obituary in the New York Jewish Week, writer and close friend of Baranski’s Steve Lipman recalls an anecdote Baranski often repeated: “’Why do you, a Christian, help Jews?’ Uncle Tibor told me the Nazis asked him. ‘You are either silly or an idiot,’ he would answer. ‘It is because I am a Christian that I help the Jews.’”

For Dershowitz, who is based in Los Angeles, one of the goals of the murals — and his organization at large — is fighting antisemitism through education about Israel and the Holocaust. By making the art public and accessible, Dershowitz hopes people of all backgrounds will enjoy the art, and learn from it.

“These murals are very much for everyone to enjoy,” he said. “For the most part, they’re not geared towards the Jewish community as much as they’re geared towards a younger demographic, regardless of their religion or cultural heritage.”

Since its foundation in 2009, Artists 4 Israel’s principal mission has been to bring diverse groups of graffiti, street and mural artists to Israel to create projects that “benefit people in a direct, on-the-ground way,” such as painting murals in hospitals, bomb shelters and army bases. The organization has worked with more than 5,000 professional and amateur artists from 32 countries around the world, according to its website.

“When [the artists] come back [from Israel], they’re able to talk about the country and they’re able to speak about the Jewish people and be a window into the reality of Israel in the Middle East to their millions of followers,” Dershowitz explained.

In 2020, when COVID-19 arrived and international travel halted, the organization switched gears and started bringing their advocacy to cities around the world with the “Righteous Among the Nations” project.

For the artist Romero, the work has been especially gratifying. The 44 year-old artist has been involved with Artists 4 Israel since its inception and has visited Israel three times, painting murals for battered women’s shelters, community shelters and army bases.

“I’m creating art with purpose, which is beautiful. I’m also creating a dialogue. There’s a conversation,” Romero said. “This is one of those murals that touches home and it makes you really feel good. It is art that just separates itself from a lot of the noise out there.”

Painted over the course of two days, the mural will remain on the downtown corner for the next nine months.

At the unveiling party last month, which included a performance by singer Neshama Carlebach and blessings led by Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Baranski’s son Tibor Jr. retold his father’s story and emphasized the strong Catholic faith that guided him.

“Tibor Baranski was the merger of intellect and faith,” said his son, who drove from Buffalo for the event. “My father’s deeply held belief in God was uncompromising. It was the core driver in his saving thousands of innocent Jewish lives in 1944 in Nazi-occupied Hungary.”

“I will quote my father since his words captured the essence of our Catholic faith and what this mural that Fernando painted commemorating him represents: ‘Love each other, love each other sincerely. God is love. Love destroys hatred,’” he added.


The post A new mural in Nolita celebrates a Holocaust rescuer 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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