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ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman among International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame’s 11 inductees for 2023

(JTA) — Renowned broadcaster Chris Berman and a German Jew who once said hockey “saved me and my family from the Holocaust” are among the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame’s annual class of inductees.

The 2023 class, shared exclusively with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, includes athletes and sports figures from across sports and around the world — from water polo to fencing, and from the United States to Hungary.

Jed Margolis, president of the hall of fame, told JTA that the 11 inductees were selected from a list of 150 nominees submitted through an open process throughout the past year. A confidential election committee of around 20 athletes, past award winners and sports experts voted on a smaller list of approximately 30 finalists.

“I’m first of all impressed with how there’s no shortage of qualified people — world record holders, people who’ve been at the highest level of their sport and voted into their particular sport hall of fame,” Margolis said. “You would think that we may run out of people, but we’re getting great nominations all the time.”

Margolis added that honoring Jewish athletes can help push back against stereotypes that Jews may not be athletic — most infamously depicted in the 1980 film “Airplane!”

“If you take a look at the numbers of who we represent worldwide, what are we, about 0.02% of the world population, and we’ve won about 0.03% of the Olympic medals. So we’re boxing above our weight, so to speak,” Margolis said.

The 2023 class brings the hall’s total to 448 members since its inauguration in 1981. Shoe designer and Maccabiah athlete and philanthropist Stuart Weitzman is also being honored, as are the recently retired editors of the Jewish Sports Review magazine.

The Hall, which is housed at the Wingate Institute for Physical Education and Sport in Netanya, Israel, will recognize this year’s honorees at its next induction ceremony in July 2025. Inductees are announced annually, but the ceremony itself is held every four years, when the Maccabiah Games take place.

For now, here’s what you need to know about this year’s honorees.

Rudi Ball, ice hockey

Rudi Ball, center, scores a goal in December 1931. (ullstein bild via Getty Images)

A member of the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame, Ball (1911-1975) was one of two Jewish athletes to represent Germany at the 1936 Winter Olympics, held in Germany six months before the Berlin summer games that drew the world’s attention to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime.

During Ball’s playing career, which spanned from 1928 to 1952, the right winger won eight German championships and a bronze medal in the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid.

When the German Olympic Committee threatened to remove Ball from the team because he was Jewish, his teammates threatened to boycott the Games. According to The Guardian, Ball may have struck a deal with the Nazi regime, agreeing to play for Germany if his parents were allowed out of the country. He later said, “I am the one who owes hockey. It saved me and my family from the Holocaust.”

Chris Berman, broadcaster

ESPN anchor Chris Berman speaks during the Pro Football HOF Centennial Class of 2020 enshrinement ceremonies in Canton, Ohio, Aug. 7, 2021. (MSA/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Award-winning broadcaster Chris Berman has been an anchor for ESPN’s flagship program “SportsCenter” since 1979, a month after it launched. Berman, 67, has primarily been the face of the network’s football coverage, but he has also anchored the U.S. Open golf tournament and the NHL Stanley Cup Finals and has done play-by-play for Major League Baseball games as well.

Nicknamed “Boomer,” Berman was raised in a Jewish family in Irvington, New York. He is a six-time recipient of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association’s National Sportscaster of the Year award, an inductee of the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

David Blatt, basketball

David Blatt coaching during a Turkish Airlines Euroleague match between the Olympiacos and Bayern Munich in Athens, Greece, March 19, 2019. (Ayhan Mehmet/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

David Blatt is a decorated former basketball player, coach and executive whose career has included playing at Princeton University; professional basketball leagues in Israel, Italy, Russia, Turkey and Greece; and a stint as head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

Blatt, 63, who was born in Boston and grew up attending a Reform synagogue, moved to Israel in 1981, where he served in the military and played professionally for more than a decade before turning to coaching.

Blatt won championships and coaching accolades throughout his career, and has also played in the Maccabiah Games and coached in the Olympics. He led the Cavaliers to the 2015 NBA Finals in his first season as coach, and received a ring for the team’s championship the following year, despite being fired halfway through the season.

Deena Kastor, track & field

Deena Kastor attends an ASICS event, Feb. 27, 2020. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images for ASICS)

A Boston-area native, Deena Kastor is an eight-time national champion in cross country who won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics and holds U.S. records for the 10-mile, 15-kilometer and 8-kilometer women’s road races. She previously held the U.S. record for women’s marathon and half marathon.

Kastor, 49, is a member of the National, New York and Southern California Jewish Sports Halls of Fame, and has also earned various honors from USA Track & Field.

Ilona Elek-Schacherer, fencing

The Hungarian fencer Ilona Elek-Schacherer wins in foil fencing during the Olympic Games, Aug. 1936. (Austrian Archives/Imagno/Getty Images)

Born in Budapest to a Jewish father and Catholic mother, Ilona Elek-Schacherer (1907-1988) would go on to become perhaps the greatest woman fencer of all time.

Elek-Schacherer competed in three Olympics for Hungary between 1936 and 1952, winning two gold medals and one silver medal. She also won 10 gold medals, five silver medals and two bronze medals in World Championships spanning 1934 to 1956. (It is unclear how she spent the war years.)

She won more international fencing titles than any other woman.

John Frank, football

John Frank, center, during a game at Candlestick Park on Dec. 7, 1990, in San Francisco, California. (Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

John Frank is a two-time Super Bowl champion tight end with the San Francisco 49ers who has enjoyed a successful second career as an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat doctor) with a focus on hair restoration surgery.

Frank, 60, also played football at Ohio State University, where he set a school record for receptions by a tight end and was twice honored as an Academic All-American. He was the team’s most valuable player his senior year.

Frank also co-founded the Israeli bobsled team and is a member of the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame, the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the Western Pennsylvania Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Merrill Moses, water polo

Merrill Moses during a match between the United States and Russia in Kazan, Russia, July 27, 2015. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Merrill Moses is a three-time Olympic water polo goalkeeper who earned a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and won the 1997 NCAA water polo championship with Pepperdine University.

Moses, 45, also played for the U.S. team in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and won gold medals at three Pan American Games in 2007, 2011 and 2015. He was inducted into the USA Water Polo Hall of Fame in 2021 and is also a member of the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Moran Samuel, rowing

Moran Samuel competes during the 2022 World Rowing Championships in Racice, Czech Republic, Sept. 21, 2022. (Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)

Moran Samuel is an Israeli world champion paralympic rower and basketball player. After suffering a spinal stroke in 2006, Samuel became paralyzed in her lower body.

Samuel, 40, played for Israel in the 2013 European Wheelchair Basketball Championship in Frankfurt. As a rower, she represented Israel at the Paralympic Games in 2012, 2016 and 2020. She won bronze and silver medals, respectively, in the latter two tournaments. Samuel also won a gold medal at the 2015 World Rowing Championships.

In 2012, Samuel won a race in single scull competition at a rowing tournament in Italy, but the event organizers were unable to play the Israeli national anthem — so she sang it herself.

Mordechai Spiegler, soccer 

Mordechai Spiegler, far left, and the Israeli national soccer team lines up before a friendly match against Australia, May 25, 1970, in Mexico City. (Staff/AFP via Getty Images)

Considered among the best Israeli soccer players ever, Mordechai Spiegler’s crowning achievement was helping Israel qualify for the 1970 FIFA World Cup, the last time the country did so. He scored Israel’s only World Cup goal in history.

Spiegler, 78, was captain of the Israeli Olympic team that reached the quarterfinals at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, and his 32 national team goals were a record until 2021. Spiegler also coached for many years in Israel. He is a member of the Israeli Football Hall of Fame.

Outside of Israel, Spiegler played for the vaunted Paris Saint-Germain club and for the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, where he was teammates with the Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, who died last month.

Dwight Stones, track & field

Dwight Stones competes in the men’s high jump final during the 1984 United States Olympic Track and Field Trials in Los Angeles, June 1984. (David Madison/Getty Images)

Los Angeles native Dwight Stones is a two-time Olympic bronze medalist in high jump, including at the 1972 Munich Olympics, which was marred by the terrorist attack that killed 11 members of the Israeli delegation.

Stones, 69, won 19 national championships in his 16-year career, and still holds multiple world records. In 1984, he became the first athlete to both compete and be an announcer at the same Olympics. He has since served as a television analyst, including at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Stones is a Maccabiah Games alum and is a member of the U.S. Track Hall of Fame, the California Sports Hall of Fame and the Orange County Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Ariel Ze’evi, judo

Israel’s Arik Ze’evi in action against France’s Frederic Demontfaucon in the Men’s -100kg class in Beijing, 2008. (Tony Marshall/PA Images via Getty Images)

Ariel Ze’evi is a retired Israeli judo champion.

Nicknamed “Arik,” the 45-year-old Bnei Brak native won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics as well as four European championships and a silver medal at the 2001 World Championships.

He also competed in the 1997 Maccabiah Games, two International Judo Federation Grand Slams (including a 2011 win) and two IJF Grand Prix.

Other honorees

Stuart Weitzman served as the U.S. team’s flag bearer. (Courtesy Maccabi USA)

The IJSHOF is also honoring shoe designer Stuart Weitzman with its lifetime achievement award and longtime co-editors of the Jewish Sports Review Ephraim Moxson and Shel Wallman with an award of excellence.

Weitzman is a Maccabiah pingpong medalist who has supported Maccabi USA with millions of dollars of support.

Moxson and Wallman recently concluded a 25-year run producing the Jewish Sports Review, a bimonthly magazine identifying Jewish athletes from college through professional sports.

The post ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman among International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame’s 11 inductees for 2023 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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