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Friends, colleagues and fans remember Rabbi Harold Kushner, whose voice ‘will continue to resonate’

(JTA) — Rabbi Harold Kushner was often identified as the author of “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People,” when the correct title of his best-selling 1981 book is “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” The book was never meant to provide a definitive solution to the age-old question of theodicy — why God permits evil or suffering — although he proposed an answer.

Instead, the book was, like Kushner’s rabbinate, a call to action. As he told an interviewer in 2013, “An idea that is probably more emphasized in Judaism than in any of the Christian traditions is to minimize the theology and maximize the sense of community.” That is, when bad things happen to good people, it is a religious community’s responsibility to offer them the compassion and solace they crave in the form of chesed, or acts of loving-kindness.

When Kushner died Friday at age 88, it led to an outpouring from readers, friends and colleagues who experienced that compassion and solace first hand, or felt they knew him through his writing. Beyond that first book, which sold millions of copies worldwide, Kushner was an admired rabbi at the Conservative Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts, taught at several universities, and wrote over a dozen books.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency collected a number of the responses that appeared online and solicited others. A sampling of reminiscences about Kushner appears below.

Rabbi Mark Cooper, Riverdale, New York: ​​My rabbinic career began in 1985 when I became associate rabbi to Rabbi Harold Kushner at Temple Israel of Natick. Fresh out of rabbinical school, there was much to learn and experience in order to fully embrace the demanding role of being a congregational rabbi. As I look back on the six years I spent with Harold, I can’t imagine a more nurturing or supportive start to my rabbinate.

Harold showed me what an excellent sermon looks and sounds like (not that most rabbis would ever be able to come close to the quality of homiletics that he possessed), how to use humor to connect with a congregation, how to console someone who has suffered a tragedy, and how to work with lay leaders and volunteers. He created space for me to experiment and grow in a congregation he had spent years building. And he did this always with a gentle kindness that came naturally to him.

Harold saw me not as a solution to his busy schedule, and not as someone to do the legwork he was now unavailable to do. He saw me as someone he could teach, someone to help shape and direct to be the kind of rabbi he knew others would be proud of. Harold befriended me, invited me to get to know him, and I quickly came to feel that he genuinely cared about me, about my wife Amy, and about the children we began to raise while in Natick.

(Cooper spoke at Kushner’s funeral on Monday in Natick; above are excerpts from his remarks.)

Mary Jo Franchi-Rothecker, Ontario, Canada: When I read “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” in 2008, I was able to start thinking and analyzing about recent, extremely challenging events in my life. I lost my father in late 2007, lost my 20-year legal career and was in a financial nightmare. Rabbi Kushner’s writing (I went on to read “Overcoming LIfe’s Disappointments”) gave me hope, insight and a path to “being my best self.” I am forever grateful.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, CEO, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights: Rabbi Kushner was the rabbi of the shul where I grew up. By the time I was there, he was already famous, and mostly not in the day-to-day running of the shul, but he and his wife Suzette were almost always there on Shabbat, sitting quietly in the back (and of course he would give powerful sermons on the High Holidays, which even the teenagers would come in to hear). And he was an important mentor for me throughout. When I was in college at Columbia, we loved to compare notes on the core curriculum (which hadn’t changed that much in between) and then we had many conversations as I made the decision to go to rabbinical school, and as I made my way through and beyond. He truly modeled what it meant to be a rabbi, and his voice — both for those of us fortunate enough to hear it directly and the millions who read his books — will continue to resonate.

Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles: I always learned from Rabbi Kushner and he was very kind to me and I had wonderful exchanges with him, but the thing that most impressed me was this: When I was on book tour, the same drivers would take other authors in various cities. So I heard about the conduct of various authors, especially when they were unkind to the drivers, as too many were. Yet over and over again people would ask me if I knew Rabbi Kushner and say how unfailingly kind he was to the drivers, the hotel clerks, to everyone. I felt proud and grateful to have such a representative of our people, and we will all miss him very much.

Michael and Zelia Goodboe, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida: I praise God for the goodness of Rabbi Kushner. I am Catholic, but I have come to value Judaism even to the point of attending (with my wife) classes at a Miami synagogue to get to really know Judaism, because of the good rabbi’s influence. Some people are just blessings in this crazy world. He was truly among the Righteous who left the world in much better shape than he found it! We have lost a great person.

Rabbi Eric Gurvis, the Mussar Institute, Sherborn, Massachusetts: I literally learned of the death of my colleague and teacher, Rabbi Harold Kushner, while quoting him during a graveside funeral last Friday. As I began to share his words, the funeral director let me know that he had died earlier in the day. I paused, collected myself and continued to cite his teaching.

My journey intersected with Rabbi Kushner on numerous occasions, the first while I was serving as rabbi in Jackson, Mississippi. A member of my congregation brought him to speak to a group from across the Jackson community. “Who Needs God,” still among my favorites of his books, had just been published. He was so gracious and kind to this young rabbi he’d just met. He always was.

Fast-forward to my time in Newton, Massachusetts. I had invited Rabbi Kushner to speak at my congregation. I don’t even remember what topic we had agreed upon. His talk came just days after a tragedy in our community, in which four middle school students were killed in a bus crash on a school trip. He asked me, “What would you like me to do?” I replied, “I am so grateful you are here. Please be you, and let us be lifted by whatever you wish to share with us.” And it was so, as it has been for so many of us over the years of his teaching, preaching and touching.

Rabbi Vanessa Ochs, professor of religious studies, University of Virginia: It was Rabbi Harold Kushner who taught us, in his thought-changing book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People”: “I don’t know why one person gets sick and another does not. … I cannot believe that God ‘sends’ illness to a specific person for a specific reason.”

As we know, Jews do not interpret the Torah in a literal way. While the Torah’s God sends down punishment, Kushner’s interpretation of God does not. Kushner’s God does not punish us to teach us lessons. His God does not give us only as much as we can handle. Bad things happen. We have terrible losses. They just happen.

So where is God when we are grieving? For Kushner, this is certain, and his theology is compelling: God is with us when we grieve. God is with us when our communities organize to support us as mourners (and beyond) and when total strangers hold us up with random acts of kindness. 

Rabbi Ron Kronish, Jerusalem: Rabbi Harold Kushner played an important role in my life and the life of my family more 40 years ago. In 1977, when our second daughter was born with a form of dwarfism, my wife Amy and I went to visit him and his wife Suzette in their home in Natick, Massachusetts. We were living nearby in Worcester at that time. That was a short time after their son, who was a boy with short stature, had tragically died.

Rabbi Kushner welcomed us warmly into his home and counseled us with empathy and compassion. He didn’t make us feel that he was going out of his way to meet with us or that he was meeting with us just because I was a rabbinic colleague. He was simply understanding, gracious and accommodating.

I can say that the spiritual and practical advice that he gave to us stayed with us for many years. We have always been grateful for it.

By the way, our daughter with short stature grew up to be a wonderful human being and a great rabbi-educator at the Heschel High School in New York City. Coincidentally, one of her former interns, who is now a teacher at the school, is Rabbi Kushner’s grandson! So the legacy continues to be a part of our family.

Rabbi Noam Raucher, Los Angeles, California: After reading “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” I remember being excited to meet Rabbi Kushner. As the president of Hillel at Hofstra University at the time, I was responsible for escorting Rabbi Kushner through campus before his speaking engagement.

That was a big day at Hofstra, too. The men’s basketball team had made it to the 2001 NCAA tournament, and we were playing UCLA in the first round. As we walked through the student center, Rabbi Kushner heard the students cheering on our team and asked if we could stop to watch the game with them on television.

We stood in the back of a sea of student bodies, who would jump and shout with every shot made or blocked. I watched Rabbi Kushner as he watched the game. He stood there, tall and attentive, with his hands clasped behind his back. He had a grounding peacefulness about him. Every time the crowd grew animated, he just stood there, stoic and watching it all for the sheer enjoyment of being present for the experience.

That image stands out as I think about all the commotion I have, or will, face in my life. There will be successes and failures. Rabbi Kushner taught me to appreciate being here for all of it.

Irving Pozmantier, president, Pozmantier, Williams & Stone Insurance Consultants: For several years, it was my privilege and honor to serve with Rabbi Kushner on the board of directors for List College of the Jewish Theological Seminary. His brilliant mind was matched only by his personal warmth which made every meeting an uplifting experience. On a few occasions, we shared taxi rides to the airport during which we had an opportunity to share information about our lives and experiences. Each of those personal talks left me with feelings of gratitude for the opportunity to know someone of such innate decency and kindness. When my first wife died, he was one of the first persons to call and offer condolences. His incredible ability to express compassion was never more meaningful.

Jim Rigby, pastor, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Austin, Texas: What some critics of religion do not realize (understandably) is that people like Rabbi Kushner are trying to help dying and traumatized people make sense of their lives. It is a good thing to be scientific, but if someone is actively dying or traumatized we must enter their worldview to be helpful.

Reason and science are marvelous goals, but they can feel strangely irrelevant to someone lost in a waking nightmare. Before a terrified heart can hear an important truth it must first be healed of its fear. For me, religion has been the art of cave diving into someone else’s nightmare, learning the language of their heart, and then cheering them on as they climb out of their own private tomb and into the common light.

I will never forget sitting in a pastoral care class taught by seminary professor Will Spong (the brother of the late John Shelby Spong, bishop of the Episcopal Church). One of the students had debunked the simplistic religion of a dying patient. Suddenly, Dr. Spong began to shake like Jeremiah in an earthquake. Will’s face turned beet red and he shouted at all of us, “Don’t you dare kick out someone’s crutch unless you’ve got something better to replace it with!”

My life as a heretical minister began that year of chaplaincy. I realized theology born of abstraction was like a personal life jacket that kept me from entering the depths of another person’s fears and uncertainty. I could not descend into another person’s hell unless I could detach from my worldview and enter theirs.

What a gift it has been to be invited into peoples’ traumatic cocoons and to witness them sprouting wings that work in the real world. What a gift to be present when people discover a faith born of science, a hope born of realism, and a love unbounded by any religious creed.

Harold Kushner, Suzette Kushner and Dubi Gordon at Kibbutz Kfar Charuv in Israel. (Courtesy Gordon)

Dubi Gordon, Natick: Rabbi Kushner was my rabbi, teacher, advisor and dear friend. When I was Natick USY president, Rabbi Kushner was deeply involved and took pride that three of us became region officers in one of the most robust chapters in New England. When I helped establish a Judaic Studies program at UMass Amherst and founded Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry in Western Massachusetts, he offered invaluable advice and encouragement.

Rabbi Daniel Greyber, Beth El Synagogue, Durham, North Carolina: As a congregational rabbi, I give copies of his book, “When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough,” to high school seniors before they go off to college and I tell them the story of how my mom gave it to me and how it helped shape my life: endeavoring to live a life of meaning rather than chasing after wealth and things. I would not be a rabbi today were it not for his wisdom.

When I published my own book, I sent him a copy and asked him if he would give me an endorsement for the back cover. He told me he would be honored to read it, but that he hardly ever gave endorsements and was an especially “hard grader” on books that tackled the question of suffering. In the end, he demurred but sent me a long email with praise and constructive advice. It felt like knowing a Supreme Court judge had taken the time to read and respond to something you wrote. That correspondence is a great treasure and honor.

Rabbi Ysoscher Katz, chair of Talmud, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School: If you study the biography of Moshe Rabbeinu, you notice something surprising in the Talmud. In the Bible, Moses is presented as a jurist; the “law” animates and inspires him. The Talmudic Moses is less of a jurist and more of a theologian, grappling with Judaism’s theological unanswerables.

Personally, I prefer the Talmudic version.

Judicially, his legal philosophy has been supplanted by Rabbinic jurisprudence; biblical “law” has little significance for contemporary jurists. His theology, on the other hand, is as relevant today as it was during the time of the Exodus. The things that perplexed him then still confound us today, many centuries later.

We are told that in every generation there is one person who is imbued with a streak of Moses’ spirit and is charged with carrying on his legacy. In our generation that person was Rabbi Harold Kushner — at least as far as the theological aspect of Moses’ persona is concerned. He too, like Moses, was deeply plagued by the theodicy question, grappling and struggling with it throughout this life.

In traditional yeshivot one is taught that in Talmudic discourse the question is more important than the answer. The sophistication and passion of the inquiry proves that one has truly mastered the material.

That is Rabbi Kushner’s legacy: the anguished question of “Why?!” Why, Hakadosh Baruch Hu, do you allow bad things to happen to good people? How could you?

The validity of Kushner’s “solutions” to this perplexing question can be debated ad nauseam, but the power of his anguished Abrahamic cry — “Is it possible that the judge of the universe would condone injustice” — will outlive him, living in perpetuity as a clarion call to his survivors to do our utmost to eradicate the injustices (natural and man-made) that plague our world.

The post Friends, colleagues and fans remember Rabbi Harold Kushner, whose voice ‘will continue to resonate’ appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Hating Israel Isn’t New; How the CIA and State Department Undermined the Jewish State

“Teddy Roosevelt’s great-great-great grandson is an anti-Israel protester at Princeton,” blared a New York Post headline on May 4, 2024.
The Post reported that Quentin Colon Roosevelt, an 18-year-old freshman, and descendant of the 25th President, is an anti-Israel activist at the Ivy League university. But far from being hip and new, Quentin’s brand of anti-Zionism is old hat — he is merely continuing a long family tradition of anti-Israel activism.
There is an abundance of literature on Franklin D. Roosevelt’s views on Jews and Zionism, the belief in Jewish self-determination. Both FDR and his wife Eleanor had made antisemitic remarks. In a private conversation in 1938, then-President Roosevelt suggested that by dominating the economy in Poland, Jews were themselves fueling antisemitism. And in a 1941 Cabinet meeting, FDR remarked that there were too many Jewish Federal employees in Oregon. In his final days, FDR promised Saudi leader Abdul Aziz Ibn al Saud that he would oppose the creation of Jewish state in the Jewish people’s ancestral homeland.
FDR is the president who led the United States to victory against Adolf Hitler. He also employed Jews in high-ranking positions in his government. But he is also the president whose administration failed to save more Jews fleeing Nazism, and who refused to bomb the railway tracks leading to Auschwitz and other death camps where millions of Jews met a ghastly end. Accordingly, it makes sense that his beliefs regarding Jews have been the subject of books and belated study.
Less examined, however, is the Oyster Bay branch of the Roosevelt clan, and their beliefs regarding Zionism. In part, this is easily explained by the unique place that FDR holds in American history. He is the only president to serve four terms, and presided over both the Great Depression, World War II, and arguably the beginning of the Cold War. His branch of the family, the Hyde Park Roosevelts, were Democrats and remained active in public life for decades after his 1945 death.
At first glance, the Oyster Bay Roosevelts were more of a turn of the 19th century affair. They were Republicans, and their scion was Teddy Roosevelt, a war hero turned governor of New York state who, thanks to an assassin’s bullet, found himself as the nation’s leader in 1901.
The famously ebullient Roosevelt helped redefine the country’s idea of a president, and served as an inspiration for his cousin Franklin. But Teddy largely presided over an era of peace and tranquility, not war and upheaval.
Teddy was a philosemite. He was the first occupant of the Oval Office to appoint a Jewish American to the Cabinet. He championed the rights of Jews, both at home and abroad, and was harshly critical of the numerous pogroms that unfolded in czarist Russia.
As Seth Rogovoy has noted, Roosevelt’s “special relationship with Jews was forged during his time serving as police commissioner in New York City, a post he assumed in 1904.” When an antisemitic German preacher named Hermann Ahlwardt gave speeches in the city, Roosevelt assigned a contingent of Jewish police officers to guard the man.
Roosevelt was also a Zionist. In 1918, shortly after the Balfour Declaration, he wrote: “It seems to me that it is entirely proper to start a Zionist state around Jerusalem.” He told Lioubomir Michailovitch, the Serbian Minister to the United States, that “there can be no peace worth having … unless the Jews [are] given control of Palestine.” Six months later Roosevelt died in his sleep.
Not all his descendants would share his belief in Jewish self-determination, however.
Two of Teddy Roosevelt’s grandchildren, Kermit and Archie, served their country in the CIA during the early years of the Cold War. Both were keenly interested in Middle East affairs, and were fluent in Arabic. Both were well read and highly educated, authoring books and filing dispatches for newspapers like the Saturday Evening Post, among others.
They were also prominent anti-Zionists.
Kermit Roosevelt, known as “Kim,” played a key role in anti-Zionist efforts in the United States and abroad. He was not, by the standards of his time, an antisemite. But he was ardently opposed to the creation of Israel.
As Hugh Wilford observed in his 2013 book America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and the Shaping of the Modern Middle East: “the anti-Zionism of the overt Cold War foreign policy establishment is well known” but “less widely appreciated is the opposition to Jewish statehood of the individuals responsible for setting up the United States’ covert apparatus in the Middle East.”
This began with the OSS, the CIA’s precursor. And it included men like Stephen Penrose, a former American University of Beirut instructor, and Kim Roosevelt’s boss during his wartime service in the OSS.
“Documents among Penrose’s personal papers reveal him engaged in a variety of anti-Zionist activities at the same time that he was commencing his official duties with the OSS,” Wilford notes.
Like many of his fellow Arabists, Penrose was the son of American missionaries who, failing to convert the native population to Christianity, sought to foster Arab nationalism instead. Penrose described himself as a “chief cook” who was “brewing” opposition to Zionism. He became one of Kim Roosevelt’s mentors.
In a January 1948 Middle East Journal article entitled, “Partition of Palestine: A Lesson in Pressure Politics,” Kim called the 1947 UN vote in favor of a Jewish state an “instructive and disturbing story.”
Roosevelt believed that the US media was unduly supportive of the creation of Israel, and claimed that almost all Americans “with diplomatic, educational, missionary, or business experience in the Middle East” opposed Zionism.
Kim’s pamphlet was reprinted by the Institute for Arab American Affairs, a New York-based group whose board he sat on. He also began working with the Arab League’s Washington, D.C., office and “turned elsewhere for allies in the anti-Zionist struggle, starting with the Protestant missionaries, educators, and aid workers.”
This nascent group soon received financial support from the American oil industry, which maintained close links to Kim’s OSS/CIA colleague, William Eddy.
As Wilford noted, the Arabian consortium ARAMCO “launched a public relations campaign intended to bring American opinion around to the Arab point of view.”
In addition to missionaries and big oil, Kim gained another important ally in the form of Elmer Berger, a rabbi from Flint, Michigan. Berger served as executive director of the American Council for Judaism, an anti-Zionist group that, among other things, opposed the creation of a Jewish army during World War II at the height of the Holocaust. Berger and Roosevelt became drinking buddies and close collaborators on their joint effort against the Jewish State.
Kim eventually became “organizing secretary” for a group called The Committee for Justice and Peace. The committee’s original chair, Virginia Gildersleeve, was both a longtime friend of the Roosevelts of Oyster Bay and the dean of New York City’s Barnard College, which today is part of Columbia.
Gildersleeve was “also a high-profile anti-Zionist” who “became involved with the Arab cause through her association with the Arabist philanthropist Charles Crane and the historian of Arab nationalism George Antonius.”
Crane, a wealthy and notorious antisemite, had lobbied against the creation of a Jewish state since the beginning of the 20th century, even advising then-President Woodrow Wilson against supporting the Balfour Declaration.
By 1950, the Committee had managed to recruit famed journalist Dorothy Thompson to their cause. Thompson was reportedly the basis for actress Katharine Hepburn’s character in the 1942 movie Woman of the Year. A convert to anti-Zionism, Thompson’s extensive network of reporters and celebrities proved crucial to Kim and Berger’s efforts to rally opposition to the Jewish State. In a 1951 letter to Barnard College’s Gildersleeve, Thompson wrote: “I am seriously concerned about the position of the Jews in the United States.” People, she claimed, “are beginning to ask themselves the question: who is really running America?”
Another ally emerged that year: the Central Intelligence Agency.
The CIA began funding the Committee, as well as its successor, the American Friends of the Middle East (AFME). Beginning in June 1950, Kim’s correspondence with Berger began making veiled references to the ACJ head taking on “official work” in Washington. This, Wilford believes, is a reference to working with the CIA. Indeed, the well-connected Kim and Archie Roosevelt had known top CIA officials like Allan Dulles since childhood.
With support from figures like Eddy, AFME also began encouraging Muslim-Christian alliances — ostensibly to counter Soviet influence, but also to attack the Jewish state. This led to some awkward alliances, including with Amin al-Husseini, the founding father of Palestinian nationalism and an infamous Nazi collaborator.
Husseini had ordered the murders of rival Palestinians, incited violence against Jews since the 1920s, and had led forces, equipped with Nazi-supplied arms, to destroy Israel at its rebirth in 1948. Now, along with the Secretary General of the Arab League, and Saudi King Ibn Saud, he was meeting with Eddy to discuss a “moral alliance” between Christians and Muslims to defeat communism. Kim himself knew Husseini, having interviewed him for the Saturday Evening Post after World War II.
AFME lobbied for the appointment of anti-Zionist diplomats and in favor of Eisenhower administration efforts to withhold aid from Israel. And both Berger and Thompson pushed for favorable coverage of the new Egyptian dictator, Gamal Nassar, who would wage war on the Jewish state for nearly two decades. Initially, they were successful, with TIME magazine writing that Nasser had the “lithe grace of a big, handsome, all-American quarterback.” Of course, there was nothing “all-American” about Nasser, who would become a Soviet stooge.
AFME officials like Garland Evans Hopkins would draw rebukes after claiming that Jews were bringing violence against themselves — a staple of antisemitism. Hopkins claimed that Zionists “could produce a wave of antisemitism in this country” if they continued acting against “America’s best interests in the Middle East.”
AFME itself would eventually lose influence, particularly after its boosting of figures like Nasser was revealed as foolhardy. Berger would go on to advise Senator J. William Fulbright (D-AR) in his efforts to get pro-Israel Americans to register as foreign agents.
In 1967, as Arab forces gathered to annihilate Israel, Berger blamed the Jewish State, accusing it of “aggression” and its supporters of “hysteria.” Top ACJ officials resigned in protest. That same year, Ramparts magazine exposed CIA support, financial and otherwise, of AFME.
Kim and Archie Roosevelt, however, would continue their careers as high-ranking CIA officers before eventually starting a consulting business and making use of their extensive Middle East contacts.
For some college protesters, attacking Israel — and American support for Israel — might seem new and trendy. Yet, both the CIA and big oil were precisely doing that, decades ago, forming alliances with anti-American dictators, antisemitic war criminals, the press, Protestant groups, academics, university administrators, and fringe Jewish groups claiming to represent “what’s best” for American Jewry.
As William Faulkner once wrote: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
The writer is a Senior Research Analyst for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis
The post Hating Israel Isn’t New; How the CIA and State Department Undermined the Jewish State first appeared on Algemeiner.com

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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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