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How Arnold Horween, an unsung Jewish Harvard hero, changed American sports

(JTA) — Decades before Sandy Koufax sat out the first game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, and 18 years before Greenberg chased Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record in the late 1930s, a college athlete made some overlooked Jewish sports history.

Arnold Horween, a burly Chicagoan, became the first Jewish captain of the Harvard University football team in 1920 — an achievement that sent ripples through American culture.

Horween, who would later play and coach in the early years of what would become the NFL, was born to Jewish immigrants from Ukraine. He became a star player at Harvard, helping the Crimson go undefeated in both 1919 and 1920 after returning from serving in World War I. (His brother Ralph also played at Harvard and in the NFL, and they were the first and only Jewish brothers to play in the NFL until Geoff and Mitchell Schwartz.)

But it was Horween’s unanimous selection as the team’s captain, and more importantly, his appointment in 1926 as the team’s coach, that would prove unprecedented.

“In American Jewish culture, the only thing greater than being the captain of the Harvard Crimson, the only higher station in American culture might have been the president, or the coach of Harvard, which he eventually becomes,” said Zev Eleff, the president of Gratz College and a scholar of American Jewish history.

Eleff explores Horween’s story and its impact in his recent book, “Dyed in Crimson: Football, Faith, and Remaking Harvard’s America,” released earlier this year. He traces the history of Harvard athletics in the early 1900s, exploring how Horween, along with Harvard’s first athletic director, Bill Bingham, altered the landscape of America’s most prestigious college.

Horween’s ascendance came at a time when Harvard instituted quotas to limit the number of Jewish and other minority students it accepted — a practice the school would employ throughout the 1920s and 30s. His story also took place amid a political landscape that featured the rise of Father Charles Coughlin, the antisemitic “radio priest,” and the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan.

As Eleff underscores in the book, Horween did not fit the model of a “Boston Brahmin,” the class of elite, Christian, aspirationally manly men whose supremacy was unquestioned at Harvard Yard. Horween broke that mold, instead instilling a team culture where a love of the sport was almost as important as winning — the Ted Lasso effect, if you will.

“Dyed in Crimson” also uses early 20th century Harvard as an allegory for the broader theme of how sports can change society.

“The theme of the book, something that’s uniquely American, is how the periphery can influence the mainstream,” said Eleff. “How people on the sidelines can really make an influence.”

Eleff spoke to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency about how Horween’s story fits into the pantheon of Jewish American sports legends and what it says about Jews’ ability to succeed in America.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Let’s dig into Horween’s story. I liked the idea of him as like an earlier version of Koufax or a Greenberg, but to be honest, I had never heard of him. Why do you think his story isn’t as well known as other Jewish athletes? 

I think it has everything to do with the emergence of Major League Baseball. College football was America’s sport in the 1910s and 1920s. It was a big money sport, when there was very little money outside of the New York Yankees. And I think that Horween’s star started to sort of decline with Harvard football, but also the emergence of other sports.

The other reason is because the idea of the Jewish ballplayer loomed large. The New York Giants, for decades, tried to identify a Jewish superstar. They actually passed on Greenberg. There was a thought after Greenberg that there was Jewish DNA for baseball, and the signing of Koufax was directly linked to this notion. It was this eugenics-like link that you need a Jewish ballplayer. For the Giants, it was ticket sales. So the commotion about Greenberg and Koufax is more about Jewish identity. And baseball is, as a professional sport in New York, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, different than college football, particularly in New England at this time. Frankly, Jews lived near the Polo Grounds, they didn’t live near Harvard Yard.

Arnold Horween shown in The Baltimore Sun on November 16, 1927. (Wikimedia Commons)

For Horween, obviously he’s not at the level of a Greenberg or Koufax talent-wise, but he also didn’t seem to care as much personally about his Jewish identity. You write in the book that there were some Jews who took issue with the fact that Horween was not practicing, but there were also many Jews who were simply proud he was Jewish. What do you think about that dynamic? 

There becomes a sort of disconnect between lived religion and the perception and what they come to represent — the mantle that they wear almost towers above the practice. Horween eschewed the opportunity to claim the mantle of Jewish leadership, Jewish celebrity. But we do see in its moment that he is the topic of rabbinic sermons, that The American Hebrew and other Jewish press are reporting on him. They are elated. In American Jewish culture, the only thing greater than being the captain of the Harvard Crimson — it’s hard for people to realize, but in the moment when they were part of the big three [alongside Princeton and Yale] — the only higher station in American culture might have been the president, or the coach of Harvard, which he eventually becomes.

One of the parts of this book that I enjoyed learning about is the extent to which college football in the early 20th century was all about honor, masculinity, gentlemanliness. And at the time, that kind of stands in contrast to how Jews were viewed — that Jews were not masculine, Jews couldn’t fit into that mold of the “Harvard man.” 

Being on the sports team, that was probably far beyond Jewish expectations. Not to say that Jews could not be athletic, but very often the varsity players weren’t picked for their talent but rather their surnames. What the sea change at Harvard is, [within] gentlemanly culture — in which “gentlemanly” is a Protestant, Christian masculinity — Horween is not Protestant. What allows him a pathway into that elite group is that drive to win. And as a player, he’s good luck. He never loses. He becomes a signature player for victory who even wins the Rose Bowl.

But as a coach, he subverts that. What he and Bill Bingham do is their campaign isn’t necessarily for winning, it’s for having fun, it’s for enjoying the game.

In the 1910s and 20s, college football was the peak of American sports, but that’s certainly not the case anymore. What do you think would be the modern comparison for someone like Horween?

Is Becky Hammon with the Spurs, the first woman [to act as] head coach in basketball, something like that? Or the very important discussions about people of color as coaches in the NFL? Sports and education are, for some reason or another, where change is made in American life. Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 ends, at least officially, segregation. Title IV, what is basically American law for anti-discrimination based on sex, is based on women’s college sports. You have the breaking down of color barriers and Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and Vietnam. You have the first [openly] gay athletes, you have questions of breaking the glass ceiling for women and Serena Williams.

It’s absolutely 100% true that sports doesn’t matter. Who wins the World Series is of no great consequence to most people’s lives. Although it’s interesting, if you drive up I-95 on a Sunday, you will see that the bumper stickers and the flags change. There is some sort of passion, obviously, about sport. But it’s absolutely true that for some reason or another in the 20th century and 21st century in American sport, really important social and cultural decisions, and political decisions, are made in American sport.

Zev Eleff, president of Gratz College and author of “Dyed in Crimson.” (Courtesy)

Another main topic in the book is that the goal for immigrants, especially Jews, was Americanization, assimilation — that to become part of the mainstream was the marker of success. But that seems to be the case for Jews in a very different sense than it is for Catholics and for Blacks. 

The major contribution of this book to American Jewish history beyond telling this story is  to complicate notions of Americanization. Jews and Catholics in particular view Americanization very, very differently. The Catholic experience is to create parallel systems. If you’re a good Catholic boy with immense football talent, play for Notre Dame, play for Boston College. Don’t play for the Protestant mainstream. Cream them on the football field. Create parallel systems.

The Jewish experience is not so. Outside of Orthodox day schools in the early 20th century, it was anathema, it was considered almost heretical, for American Jews to [go] to private schools. To the contrary, the so-called golden citadels of the public schools — that is the agent of Americanization. Jews don’t establish their own educational systems. They somehow Americanize and acculturate into the mainstream. We don’t compete with Harvard, we get into Harvard.

Thinking about the antisemitism of that time — the quotas, Father Coughlin, all of that — how do you think that compares to what we’re seeing today? 

Historians disagree about the 1920s. Was it a time of great prominence of American Jews? There was affluence in the roaring ’20s. There were institutions that were created, there was creativity, from the Orthodox and Mordecai Kaplan certainly, across the board, the Jewish Theological Seminary. American Judaism was at a certain high point in the 1920s. At the same time, there were quotas, and there was rising antisemitism. I think today we also have to deal with the tension of, on the one hand, there are great opportunities for Jews in the United States; at the same time, there is antisemitism. And so from the 1920s to the 2020s, 100 years later, you see a model for how to grapple with those tensions.

What do you hope, more than anything else, someone takes away or learns from your book?

It’s a book that begins like a punch line: a working class Protestant, a Catholic and a Jew walk into a football field. But it ends with something I think a lot more pronounced, which is, it’s a story about change. As a historian, I study change, particularly in American Judaism, broadly in American religion and Jewish Studies. Change is the best asset that a historian has to study. I wasn’t interested in just finding another Sandy Koufax story, replicating that story. This is a story that isn’t just about a Jew who happened for his moment to become quite successful and quite famous, or a Catholic or a former mill hand turned first athletic director in college history. It’s really about how people on the periphery influence the mainstream.

The post How Arnold Horween, an unsung Jewish Harvard hero, changed American sports 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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