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For the Republican Jews whose Vegas confab kicked off the 2024 primary, Trump was always present

LAS VEGAS (JTA) — For Republican Jews looking for an alternative to Donald Trump in 2024’s presidential race, Ted Cruz presented a tantalizing choice on Saturday — at least for a few minutes.

“When I arrived in the Senate 10 years ago, I set a goal to be the leading defender of Israel in the United States,” the Texas senator said during his chance to address the Republican Jewish Coalition conference last weekend.

The crowd packed into a ballroom deep in the gold lame reaches of the Venetian casino complex lapped it up in what some of them refer to as the “kosher cattle call,” auditions for some of the GOP’s biggest campaign donors.

Cruz applied his folksy bellow to phrases already rendered stale by the speakers who preceded him, making them seem fresh. “Nancy Pelosi is out of a job,” he said of the Democratic speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, eliciting more cheers from a crowd relishing a fragile majority in the House, one of few GOP wins during midterm elections earlier this month.

But the onetime constitutional lawyer lost the crowd when he asked everyone to take out their cell phones and text a number associated with his podcast, “Verdict.” As the murmurs graduated into grumbles it became clear: About a third of the 800 or so people in the room were Shabbat-observant Jews, taking texting off the table for them.

Cruz never really recovered his rapport with the audience, which included deep-pocketed donors looking to pick a candidate and rally support for him or her. That made his speech an extreme example of the trajectory of just about every address by prospective presidential hopefuls at the RJC conference — excitement tempered by two nagging questions: Does this candidate have what it takes to beat Trump, whose obsession with litigating the 2020 election helped fuel this year’s electoral losses? And is Trump inevitable whoever challenges him?

The former president was at the center of every presentation and of conversations in the corridors during breaks. On the stage, some folks named him, some did not, but — except for Trump himself during a video address from his Florida home — few did so enthusiastically.

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who was the first of Trump’s primary opponents in 2016 to drop out and endorse him, and then among the first to repudiate him during his presidency, repeated the admonition he made a year ago to move beyond Trump.

Say his name, Christie urged the crowd. “It is time to stop whispering,” he said. “It is time to stop doing the knowing nod, the ‘we can’t talk.’ It’s time to stop being afraid of any one person. It is time to stand up for the principles and the beliefs that we have founded this party on, this country on.” He got big cheers.

Trump was the first candidate to announce for 2024, last week, and so far the only one. But others among the half dozen or so likelys in Las Vegas were clearly signaling a run. Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations who is a star among right-wing pro-Israel groups for her successes at the United Nations in marginalizing the Palestinians, all but told the group she was ready.

“A lot of people have asked if I’m going to run for president,” Haley said. “Now that the midterms are over I’ll look at it in a serious way and I’ll have more to say soon.”

The biggest cheers were reserved for Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor who was a bright spot for Republicans on Nov. 8, winning reelection in a landslide. DeSantis listed his pro-Israel bona fides (boycotting Israel boycotters) and his culture wars (taking on Disney after the company protested his “Parents Rights in Education” bill, known among its critics as “Don’t Say Gay”).

The crowd loved it. “The state of Florida is where woke goes to die!” he said to ecstatic cheers.

DeSantis did not once mention Trump; the former president has already targeted him saying whatever success he has he owes to Trump’s endorsement of his 2018 gubernatorial bid and dubbing him “Ron DeSanctimonious.’

Getting the nickname was a clear sign that DeSantis was a formidable opponent, said Fred Zeidman, an RJC board member who has yet to endorse a candidate. “It’s a badge of honor, in that Trump has identified you as a legitimate contender for the presidency,” he said in an interview.

Yet even DeSantis was not a clear Trump successor. The RJC usually heads into campaign-year conferences with a clear idea of which of its board members back which candidates, and then relays the word to Jewish Republicans whom to contact to join a prospective campaign.

That didn’t happen this year, and Trump was the reason. Jewish Republicans are still “shopping” for candidates, Ari Fleischer, the former George W. Bush administration spokesman who is an RJC board member and who also has not endorsed a candidate, said in a gaggle with reporters.

Trump was the elephant in the RJC room, Fleischer said, using the Hebrew word for the animal.

“Donald Trump is the pil in the room. There’s no question about it,” Fleischer said right after Trump spoke. “And he is a former president. He has tremendous strength and you could hear it and feel it with this group, particularly on policy, particularly on the substantive issues that he was able to accomplish in the Middle East. It resonates with many people.”

Trump had earned cheers during his speech as he reviewed the hard-right turn his administration took on Israel policy, moving the embassy to Jerusalem and quitting the Iran nuclear deal, among other measures.

“There are other people, they’re going to look at his style and look at things he’s said, and question if he is too hot to handle,” Fleischer continued.

Trump in his talk at first stuck to a forward-looking script but toward the end of it could not resist repeating his lies about winning the 2020 election. Asked by RJC chairman Norm Coleman how he would expand the Abraham Accords, the normalization agreements he brokered between Israel and four Arab countries, should he be reelected, Trump instead bemoaned the election.

“Well, we had a very disgraceful election,” he said. “We got many millions of votes more than we had in 2016, as you all know, and the result was a disgrace in my opinion, absolute sham and a disgrace.”

It was one of many only-in-Vegas moments at an event that brings together disparate groups, including young secular Jews from university campuses gawking at the glitter, Orthodox Jews lurking at elevators waiting for someone else to push the button so they can get to their rooms, and Christian politicos and their staffers encountering an intensely Jewish environment for the first time.

“Shabbat starts on Friday night and ends on Saturday night,” one young staffer explained to another as they contemplated a “Shabbat Toilet” sign taped to a urinal. “But doesn’t it flush automatically anyway?” asked the other.

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, another presumed 2020 hopeful, was the only speaker to decry violent attacks on Jews.

“When I think about my brothers and sisters in the Jewish community, in New York City being attacked on the streets of New York, it is time to rise up on behalf of those citizens,” he said. “Rise up against those folks spreading antisemitism, hate and racism.” He was also the only speaker to praise a Democrat, Nevada Sen. Jacky Rosen, with whom he has launched an African-American Jewish coalition in the Senate.

A couple of contenders who have separated themselves from Trump said his name out loud — but with disdain.

“Trump was saying that we’d be winning so much we’d get tired of winning,” said Larry Hogan, who is ending a second term as the governor of a Democratic state, Maryland, with high ratings. “Well, I’m sick and tired of our party losing. This election last week, I’m even more sick and tired than I was before. This is the third election in a row that we lost and should have won. I say three strikes and you’re out.”

Former Vice President Mike Pence peppered his speech with fond references to Trump and his refusal to heed experienced personnel who counseled an even-handed Middle East policy, a move that Pence and the RJC both believe paid off.

Yet Pence also appeared to condemn Trump’s boldest rejection of norms, his effort to overturn his 2020 loss, which spurred an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in which Pence’s life was threatened. “The American people must know that our party keeps our oath to the Constitution even when political expediency may suggest that we do otherwise,” Pence said.

One contradiction for those in attendance was the longing for Trump’s combativeness while wanting to shuck themselves of Trump’s baggage.

Typical was Alan Kruglak, a Maryland security systems contractor who said he appreciated the pro-business measures Hogan had introduced in his state but was more interested in a fighter like DeSantis.

“Trump did great things, but I think Trump’s past his time, we need younger blood that is less controversial,” said Kruglak, 68. “Trump needs to hand the baton to somebody younger, and who doesn’t have any baggage associated with them but has the same message of being independent.”

The problem is that insiders said Trump still commands the loyalty of about 30% of the party, and that could be insurmountable in a crowded primary.

Trump, Fleischer said, was inevitable as a finalist but he didn’t have to be inevitable as the nominee.

“If there’s five, six, seven real conservative outsider candidates, Donald Trump will win with a plurality because nobody else will come close,” he said. “If there’s only one or two, it’s a fair fight.”

Who would those one or two be? Fleischer would not say. Among the Republican Jews gathered in Las Vegas, no one would.

The post For the Republican Jews whose Vegas confab kicked off the 2024 primary, Trump was always present 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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