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How hard is it to talk about Israel? We asked 4 Jewish teens

(JTA) — In addition to juggling school, extracurriculars and trying to fit in, American Jewish teens have the added challenge of trying to foster a relationship with Israel in an increasingly hostile environment. Proposed judicial reforms by Israel’s far-right government and terrorist attacks and reprisals have led to a sense of crisis within Israel and its supporters and critics abroad. Discussions in America about the United States’ continued support for the state are front and center on the political stage, and teens have noticed. 

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency gathered four teens from across the country to talk about their relationship with Israel. Their thoughts are uniquely influenced by their experiences as American Jewish teens who are constantly surrounded by those who often challenge their support and connection to a country where many have family or friends. They are also hesitant to voice their views about Israel due to fear of backlash from critics of Zionism or being told that they are not pro-Israel enough by its fiercest supporters. An edited transcription of their discussion is below.

JTA: How would you describe your relationship with Israel? 

Gayah Hampel, 15, HoustonI have a lot of family in Israel, and I haven’t been there since I was 8 years old, but I really, really want to go again. The trip was a very important part of my life, even though I don’t remember much from it. Israel’s history is very important to me, and I really want to go back to take in all the religious stuff there and all the history, because that really fascinates me. 

N.Z.,15, Los Angeles (N.Z. asked that their full name not be used because they do not share that they are Jewish and are concerned about antisemitic attacks): I have some family in Israel, but I only visited there once before COVID started. I’m not totally connected to it, because I don’t really talk to my Israeli cousins a lot since they live so far away and the time zones are far. I don’t really have a huge connection to it.

Avi Wolf, 14, Cleveland: I go to a school that’s based on Zionism, and we learn a lot about Israel and Israeli history in our school. We have a ton of teachers who are from Israel, and I visit every Passover along with keeping in touch with my Israeli friends a lot, so I have a very strong connection to Israel.

Emmie Wolf-Dublin, 15, Nashville: I write a lot about Israel for my local paper. I’ve never been, but I have a lot of family there. It’s really important to have a connection to that land, and I feel like it’s definitely important to me. One thing that I’ve thought a lot about, is the whole idea: Would you go fight for your country, for Israel, if there was some war to happen? I think I would. 

JTA: If you had to describe your biggest concern about Israel in one or two words, what would it be? 

Wolf: Probably safety. 

Hampel: The growing terrorist attacks.

N.Z.: Safety and reputation. 

Wolf-Dublin: Reputation, publicity.

JTA: What do you mean when you say reputation? 

Wolf-Dublin: My personal belief is that it’s not so much about Israel’s actions, but the way that Hamas and Palestine and the Palestinian Authority present them to the world. We would have a lot fewer issues on our hands if we were more careful about that and [would have] a lot more allies on our side if we made different choices in that sector.

N.Z.: Jewish people are already hated enough, especially in America, just for believing in Judaism. Having the addition of making it seem like we’re stealing this land away from Palestinians, people just find more and more ways to be antisemitic towards us and be like, “Oh, well, we have a reason.” So, the more bad things happen and the more things that get blamed on Israel, the worse antisemitic attacks will become.

JTA: Avi and Gayah, you both talked about safety. Is that safety from terrorism within the country or safety from foreign countries? Or both? 

Hampel: I would say both, but mainly, what’s happening inside the country because a lot of people living in Israel are also doing the terrorist attacks and physically attacking army personnel and citizens. So [I’m mainly worried about attacks from the] inside because it’s destroying us from inside, which is much scarier than from outside.

Wolf: It’s mainly that there’s a lot of terror attacks. There are a lot of other countries, like Iran, Syria and Lebanon, who surround Israel. They’re very big enemies with Israel, and they have a lot of power, so it’s always scary for the people inside but also [Israel is] the only Jewish state in the world. It’s the one place that all Jews can go and know they’re safe. If Jews don’t have a homeland anymore, it’d be a big issue.

JTA: What is your opinion on equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism? If someone is anti-Zionist, does that necessarily make them antisemitic? 

Wolf: In the past, anti-Zionism and antisemitism were very different things before the creation of Israel, but now, in our modern times, there are Jews who are very anti-Zionist and don’t believe Jews should have Israel. If you’re not a Jew, and you’re just a person who’s anti-the State of Israel, which is the only state of the Jews, you can’t antagonize Israel or be anti-Zionist without being antisemitic, even if it’s indirect. 

Wolf-Dublin: I agree, and I would honestly say that denying Israel’s right to exist and denying the Jewish connection, I think Jewish connection to Israel even more so, but Israel’s right to exist too. I feel like they’re both outright antisemitism.

JTA: Have you ever experienced anti-Zionism or antisemitism against you? 

N.Z.: I haven’t personally experienced antisemitism because I don’t share that I’m Jewish at my [public] school. I do see a lot of Israel-Palestine stuff online, and people are like, “get the Jews out, give it to Palestine.” We had a basketball game at this Jewish school that some of my old classmates went to a week or two ago, and they played against a non-Jewish school and they were holding up photos of the Palestine flag and swastikas and screaming Kanye West at some of the kids. It was really bad. I don’t know all the details because I wasn’t there, but I heard it was bad.

Wolf-Dublin: I live in Nashville, and Nashville does not have a big Jewish population. It’s in the south, there’s a lot of anti-Israel stuff, especially at school, but there’s also been Holocaust denial. It’s really everywhere, and I’m also really linked in the Jewish community, so I feel like it’s part of that. I had a teacher who had family in Palestine, and she got into this entire fight with me about it. She left earlier on in the year, so that was a win. I don’t understand how you can do that and still call yourself a professional. So I stopped paying attention in that class because why should I pay respect to someone who can’t respect my heritage?

Hampel: I haven’t personally directly towards me, but in seventh grade, a few years ago, when there were rockets firing every day from Hamas into Israel, like non-stop, there were Jews in my grade who were saying, “Israel is in the wrong, they need to stop attacking,” or “they need to stop attacking the innocent Palestinians.” It wasn’t directed towards me, but I still felt like they were, in a way [being anti-Zionist]. It was indirectly affecting me. I do know of Jews who have experienced antisemitism before.

JTA: How comfortable do you feel sharing your attitudes about Israel when around Jews?

Wolf: I feel extremely comfortable sharing all my opinions about Israel, regardless if it is a Jew or not. In Cleveland, most Jews believe in Israel and think the Jews should have a state. I have very strong attitudes towards Israel, and I don’t mind sharing my attitude with other Jews, even if they don’t believe in Israel or think what Israel is doing is wrong because I believe in it. There’s real history, and you can look in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible), and you can see the real claims to Israel and everything. That’s why I’m very comfortable sharing with other Jews.

Hampel: I’m extremely comfortable sharing my opinions about Israel with other Jews and also non-Jews as well because I think it’s important. I’ve noticed that there are so many people who don’t know what’s actually going on [in Israel], and the story behind it. It’s important to me that I share that history, and I share my side of [what’s happening in Israel], especially having people in Israel who are very close to me. I’m very comfortable sharing my views on Israel, for that reason. Also it’s part of my personality so even if I don’t mention it, in our friendship, you’ll most likely hear me saying something about Israel.

Wolf-Dublin: I’m sort of both. In terms of Jewishness, I’m always open to talking about that. In terms of talking about Israel with my Jewish friends, I might bring it up, but I’m not always super-wanting to. I don’t know that I generally do pose [questions]. I’m sure I’ve done it before, but with non-Jews, if somebody brought it up to me, I would not be shying away from the conversation. However, I don’t know that I would personally bring it up myself.

N.Z.: I don’t love sharing my opinion of Israel because I’m afraid I might say something wrong, and then people will come after me for it. Sometimes, when I’m not really confident in what I’m saying, I don’t like sharing my opinion because I’m afraid people will try to shame me for it, especially on something so touchy as a subject like this.

JTA: N.Z., you feel that way even around Jews?

N.Z.: Even around Jews, especially. I feel like talking about this kind of stuff would be even more awkward because if I don’t share the same views as them, I feel like they’d be like, “Oh, well, are you trying to say you’re antisemitic or something?”

JTA: How comfortable do you feel sharing your attitudes about Israel when around non-Jews? 

Hampel: I’m comfortable sharing my views about Israel with non-Jews. I personally don’t want to bring it up myself, like Emmie said because if they do disagree with me, I don’t like starting arguments. It’s not something that I seek to do, and so if it becomes an argument, and I started it, that doesn’t sit with me right. However, if it comes up, I will definitely, definitely not back down, and I will defend my opinion. 

Wolf: I also feel very comfortable sharing with non-Jews, but as opposed to what Gayah said, I feel comfortable bringing it up. I don’t mind if someone wants to argue with me about Israel or its attributes. I would obviously want to make sure to show the proper facts, but I feel very comfortable and confident with non-Jews because it’s the Jewish homeland, and I want to fight for what I believe in.

N.Z.: I guess if I’m really, really being pressured to share my opinion, I would, but it’s definitely not something I’d bring up because I don’t really like getting into fights about such touchy subjects.

JTA: Some of you said that you don’t want to express your attitudes about Israel, because you’re worried about starting fights. Has that happened to you?

Wolf: I’ve definitely gotten into arguments, but it has been with Jewish people. It was very interesting because they were talking about stuff, but I could tell it was from the news, but the media was twisting it. It’s like, “Israel attacks the Gaza Strip and fired a missile at an apartment building.” Yeah, it’s true, but they were just doing it after Hamas had killed a bunch of their civilians.

HampelThat has happened before. It started not as a conversation about Israel, but it morphed into that, and it was very disappointing to me because it was such a twisted version of Israel that I definitely had not seen before. I definitely don’t believe it at all, any bit of it, and it was also with a Jew. 

JTA: To change topics slightly, what have you heard about Israel’s new government?

Hampel: To be completely honest, I do not follow Israeli politics. It’s not that I don’t want to, but I just don’t. It’s more important to me to know about the events that happen, the dangers that happen, I want to know of that, or the good things that happen too, but the politics, I don’t keep up with that at all. 

Wolf: I’m pretty involved in the politics and everything. In our Hebrew class, we had a whole week, just learning about the Israeli government, how it works, and my teacher presented to us all the political parties during the election. We learn about it, some good, some bad, and I know there’s a lot going on in the media. It’s kind of hard to get the correct sources since I’m not living in Israel.

N.Z.:  I really don’t keep up with politics in general, but I haven’t heard anything about the new Israeli government at all. 

Wolf-Dublin: I’m not very happy about it. I’m pretty into politics in general, but I definitely don’t agree with 90% of the things they’re doing. There’s a bill on drag queens in Tennessee right now that’s probably about to get passed that will outlaw anybody performing in drag. That’s the kind of thing that’s alarmingly similar [in Israel, whose new government includes opponents of LGBTQ rights], and I can see that happening in Israel, and that’s not something I want to see.

JTA: Emmie, you’re seeing trends in Tennessee that are similar to what the new Israeli government is proposing?

Wolf-Dublin: Everybody can have their own opinion, but I have a lot of issues with the current government, and I have a lot more issues with what they’re doing with the judicial system.

JTA: Where do you get your info about the Israeli government?

Wolf-Dublin: Either from my dad or just reading.

JTA: Among the political issues that you think are most important. Where would you rank Israel? This can be compared to hot-button issues, like reproductive rights, the economy, immigration, climate change, LGBTQ rights and concerns about democracy. Where on that list, would you rank Israel?

Hampel: I would say for me that it’s pretty high. I wouldn’t say it’s the highest, but it’s pretty high for me, because even if I wasn’t Jewish, Israel produces a lot of things that everyone uses and has so many inventions that we all use. It’s important to keep that safe, and it’s still a democracy. That’s very important in today’s society. It’s not at the top of my list, but it’s pretty high up. 

N.Z.: I’m not really a political person, so it’s not really the top thing on my mind, but it’s definitely an issue that I read up about every now and then. 

Wolf-Dublin: I don’t know that I have a clear ranking. I don’t think I could clearly rank it, but I would say it’s important, but its politics are only as important to me as a citizen of the world and not so much. Its existence is important to me.

The post How hard is it to talk about Israel? We asked 4 Jewish teens 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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