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Documentary explores the ‘Talmudic’ relationship between writer Robert Caro and his famous longtime editor

(New York Jewish Week) — Bob Gottlieb, who as editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster, Alfred A. Knopf and The New Yorker ushered into print some of the 20th-century’s most accomplished writers — Nora Ephron, Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, John Cheever and Ray Bradbury, to name a few — believes editing is a service job, one that should go unnoticed by the reader. 

And yet, it is the relationship between editor and writer that his daughter Lizzie Gottlieb, a documentary filmmaker, explores in her latest film, “Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb,” which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2022 and is now screening at theaters across the country. 

Lizzie’s documentary sets out to explore the sometimes tense but ultimately caring relationship between her father, Bob, and one of his longest running authors, Robert Caro, who over the course of 50 years has produced “only” five major books: “The Power Broker,” a classic biography of urban planner Robert Moses, and four volumes of “The Years of Lyndon B. Johnson.”

Jews born and raised in Manhattan, Caro and Gottlieb have worked together since Gottlieb helped cut 350,000 words out of the first draft of “The Power Broker,” bringing it down to a book that ultimately ran 1,338 pages when it was published in 1974. 

The thing they squabble over most often? Semicolons, still. Or, maybe, Caro’s overuse of the word “looms.”

The film, seven years in the making, takes on the ways Moses shaped New York City, the mysteries of LBJ’s political power, the sausage-making of bestselling books and the idiosyncrasies of two workaholics. It is also a story of two now elderly men — Caro is 87, Gottlieb is 91 — in what Bob Gottlieb calls an “actuarial” contest to finish Caro’s highly anticipated fifth volume of his Johnson biography. 

“My dad and I are very close. We’re in constant contact with each other. If something funny happens, I call my dad. If something sad or confusing happens, I’ll call him. We’re just in each other’s lives all the time, so I didn’t feel that there was a secret I needed to uncover or something unexamined in our relationship,” said director Lizzie Gottlieb, who also teaches documentary filmmaking at the New York Film Academy. 

“But the one thing I really knew nothing about in his life was his relationship with Bob Caro,” she said. “Because it was so different from anything else, and it was so kind of private. So really, the whole movie is the process of me understanding something that I didn’t understand before.” 

The New York Jewish Week recently caught up with Gottlieb to talk about the making of the film, what it was like growing up in a high-profile family and how Jewishness impacts the work of the two men.

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Lizzie Gottlieb is a documentary filmmaker who previously directed “Today’s Man” (2008) and “Romeo Romeo” (2012).

New York Jewish Week: You’ve been working on this movie for seven years. When did you realize you needed to make this movie and how did it get from start to finish?

For a long time, people would say to me, “You should make a film about your father.” I have an incredible father. He’s done a lot of great things. He’s interesting and funny. But I just thought, a film whose message is “look how great my dad is” is not a movie that anybody wants to see. 

And then my father was given some award and Bob Caro was presenting the award. Bob Caro gave a speech about working with my dad over what was then 45 years. He talked about how he needs him, and he respects him and how they’re so productive. Then he started talking about their arguments. Somebody in the audience asked what they fought about and he said, “We have very different feelings about the semicolon.” Everybody erupted into laughs and it just hit me like a bolt of lightning. I thought, “This is the movie, this is the story.”

I wanted a story that had forward momentum and had something big at stake. A film about two men in their 60s who had done a lot of great stuff is not that interesting. But a film about two men who are hovering around 90 and are still in it, and engaged in their work, who have a dedication and passion and are in a race against time to finish their life’s work, felt really, really compelling to me.

People say, “Are you sure you should be wasting [Caro’s] time with a movie? He needs to be writing.” My producer Jen Small said we should put on the poster, “No Lyndon Johnson books were harmed in the making of this film.”

Do you think you had a perspective that made you the best person to try and talk about their relationship and document it, or was it challenging to make the leap of them being willing to open up to you?

There was definitely a pursuit of them. I called my father and I was like, “I have the best idea ever. I’m going to make a film about you and Robert Caro.” He said, “No way. Absolutely not. Never. It would not be good for our relationship.”

I just kept pestering and pestering and pestering him. Finally, he said I could call Bob Caro but he would say no and of course Bob Caro did initially say no. Then he said that he’d seen another film of mine and I could come and speak to him. Eventually, Caro said, “I’ve never seen a film about a writer and an editor, and I think this could be meaningful. I don’t think anyone’s ever seen this before.” So he let me start, but he had this kind of hilarious condition, which was that he didn’t want to ever appear in the same room as my father. That seemed funny and a little maddening and sort of endearing. It also seemed like an irresistible challenge to try to make a buddy film where they don’t appear in the same room as each other. A woman came to a screening recently and she said, “It’s a love story, and they don’t get together until the last scene.”

They both say that somehow the making of this movie has brought them closer together and that they have developed a real friendship after 50 years. Maybe just having to articulate what their relationship has meant to each other has made them appreciate it more.

What was it like to grow up in your household, with your father as this major editor and your mother (actress Maria Tucci) on Broadway? 

I grew up in a really incredible household. My mother’s an actress, my father’s a publisher and editor. Our house was this kind of vibrant, boisterous household that was always filled with eccentric, incredible people — actors and writers. My dad’s writers would come for dinner and then my mother would go off and do a play on Broadway and then come back at midnight and make another dinner. It was incredible. So I feel that both of their work was kind of integrated into our life and into our family. All of his writers were really like family members, except for Bob Caro, who never came over and who I never met. I think that there’s something particular and peculiar about their relationship that they needed to stay apart and only come together over work. I guess that was something that intrigued me and that’s part of why I wanted to make the movie.

“Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb” (Courtesy Tribeca Film Festival)

The Jewishness in the film is a bit more implicit, though you discuss it when talking about their upbringings. How do you think their Jewish identities have impacted their work?

I don’t want to presume to speak for either of them about their Jewishness. I know they both very strongly identify as New York Jews, which probably means something slightly different to each of them, but I think it’s essential to their definitions of themselves. Their humor may be particularly Jewish as well. David Remnick uses a word at the end of the movie, where he says Caro needs to have “sitzfleisch” in order to finish the book. It’s this Yiddish [and German] word that means the ability to sit for long, long periods of time and apply yourself to something. I think that that is something that these two guys have: It’s almost a Talmudic focus on their craft, and without that they wouldn’t be who they are. So to the extent that that’s a Jewish quality, I think that’s essential to their being, to their achievements. There’s something like a Talmudic scholar in going over all these things, the industriousness and the empathy as well, this sort of looking at a thing from all sides and dedicating yourself to this pursuit.

Bonus question: You briefly show the various eccentric collections your dad has, including plastic handbags and kitschy Israeli record albums from the ’60s and ’70s. What is that about?

Yes, he has a lot of collections. He also has a collection of macramé owls. There are many that are not in the movie. Maybe that’s a Talmudic thing as well, like a deep dive into whatever it is that is interesting to him. He says that every subject gets more interesting the deeper you get into it. When something strikes him as charming or funny or curious, he goes all the way with it. My mother doesn’t love them. There’s a little bit of a power struggle there, but he wins. You grow up with something and you don’t really think about it. But I knew I had to find a way to put this in the movie. People kept saying it’s irrelevant, it’s to the side, but I knew I had to because it’s so weird and says so much about him.

The post Documentary explores the ‘Talmudic’ relationship between writer Robert Caro and his famous longtime editor 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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