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Brooklyn gyms have an answer to antisemitism: teaching Jews to fight back

(New York Jewish Week) — Emanuel Landsman, a Lubavitch father of five who lives in Crown Heights, found the recent rise in antisemitic attacks to be very concerning. But instead of being afraid, he decided to learn how to fight.

Over the past three years, Landsman has become proficient in the Israeli martial art known as Krav Maga (literally, “close combat”). “I’m a visibly Jewish man,” Landsman told the New York Jewish Week. “I came to train because of all the antisemitic attacks and what was going on around us. I would get hollered at by cars driving by. My kid came home and said others were walking down the street and yelling at him.” 

Recently, high-intensity self-defense classes have been popping up in Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, specifically in response to street attacks on Orthodox residents. Last week, an analysis of NYPD data by the Times of Israel showed that antisemitic incidents in New York City have doubled over the past two years.

Landsman learned to fight with a training program called Legion, which has previously held Krav Maga classes in Manhattan and Connecticut. Next month, Legion is making its first post-pandemic expansion to Brooklyn; weekly classes will take place at the Beth-El Jewish Center, a synagogue in Flatbush.

“It’s not a requirement to join our class, but the majority of our members are Jewish,” Legion’s president and former Israeli Defense Forces soldier Corey Feldman told the New York Jewish Week. “Our logo is a Jewish star. It’s pretty obvious who we are and what we stand for.” 

Jews are attacked because we’re seen as vulnerable targets. Join Legion Self Defense & send a message to criminals: “you can no longer attack me & expect me not to defend myself.” I had the opportunity to participate in the program for 2.5 years, & acquired life changing skills.

— Councilwoman Inna Vernikov (@InnaVernikov) January 8, 2023


Feldman added that he is seeing more of a demand for these classes, which include separate classes for men and women, and a mixed class as well. “We already have 40 people in New York City, with many more that wanted to join, but we didn’t have room to accommodate.” Feldman said, adding that as antisemitic attacks on Jews increase, people are “aware of the need for this.”

“We believe that the best way to confront that is deterrence,” Feldman said. “We want to make sure you’re going to think twice before you start pushing that guy on the subway who is wearing a kippah.” 

In Legion classes, members work up a sweat through a mix of high-intensity workouts that include punching, kicking, grappling and other forms of martial arts.

The new Legion classes in Brooklyn will be held in City Council member Inna Vernikov’s district, which encompasses parts of Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Midwood. She told the New York Jewish Week that she’s “very involved” with Legion; she has taken Legion classes herself and said she is working to provide discretionary funding from her district office this year, although she declined to discuss specifics.

“It’s extremely important that every single Jew, especially visibly Orthodox Jews, do this,” Vernikov said. “I’ve seen small, petite women train and gain life-changing skills. You develop an attitude and a confidence that if you walk down the street and use the skills properly, the attacker will avoid you.” 

Another Krav Maga program serving Brooklyn Jews is Guardian Self Defense, which was started by Joe Richards, a Jew from Long Island. In 2019, he rented out a room in a Crown Heights yeshiva to teach members of the local community how to fight.

“Across the hall they were having a bar mitzvah,” Richards told the New York Jewish Week. “And then there was us training. We ran these 45 guys hard and pushed them.” 

Since then, Richards said he now teaches hundreds of Jewish students through his program. In Crown Heights, he runs three weekly classes for the Lubavitch community in space rented at the local outpost of the gym chain Crunch. GSD also has other locations in Manhattan, Long Island and Florida.

Richards said he started his Brooklyn classes after seeing videos of attacks on people wearing the distinct dress of Orthodox Jews. “Let me bring the training to the area where this is happening,” Richards said. “There were no freaking gyms there. I went into the community and recruited them [students]. And now the people [students] are doing all the recruiting because it’s so popular.” 

Members of Shomrim, a neighborhood watch organization in the Orthodox community, are using Krav Maga training to learn how to defend themselves in the field.

Crown Heights Shomrim member Ben Cousin, who trains regularly with GSD, told the New York Jewish Week that “ordinary people” are now learning how to fight in his community through these programs. “They have been victims of antisemitic attacks,” Cousin said. “Some of them have seen it, they feel it, but they are joining because they feel they have to stand up for themselves.”

A Guardian Self Defense fighting class in Crown Heights. (Courtesy)

Cousin spoke about how the GSD teaches “de-escalation” tactics, and is not just about fighting. He told a story about when he was on patrol with Shomrim and his team confronted a man after a robbery. “He pushed me,” Cousin said. “Instead of pushing him back, I said, ‘I don’t want to fight you.’ I calmed him down. I apologized. That comes from the training — I don’t want to fight, but I’m ready, just in case.” 

“This is a last resort program,” he added. “If you put your hands on us, we will remind you that Jewish blood is not cheap.”

Like Legion’s Feldman, Richards is gearing up for a new group of GSD trainees this year who have heard about his Krav Maga program. Richards is the grandchild of four Holocaust survivors and compared the current rise in antisemitism to what his grandparents experienced.

“The Jews are being targeted everywhere — verbally, online, physically. From the right and left, we are now under siege,” Richards said. “If you’re visibly Jewish, you have a double target on your back. We don’t have the luxury of trying to plan what we should do. Everybody should be taking action.”

“There are plenty of people in this class who had never thrown a punch in their life,” Landsman said of his training with Legion. “I’m not asking you to join the UFC [the mixed martial arts league], but you need to be able to stand your ground and unfreeze yourself when somebody is threatening you with violence. You need to know when to run or when there is no retreat and you have to defend yourself.” 

The post Brooklyn gyms have an answer to antisemitism: teaching Jews to fight back 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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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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