Connect with us
Seder Passover
Israel Bonds RRSP
JNF Canada


In a shift, Hebrew College will now admit and ordain rabbinical students whose partners are not Jewish

(JTA) — Hebrew College will begin admitting and ordaining rabbinical students in interfaith relationships, according to new admissions standards revealed on Tuesday.

The decision makes the pluralistic seminary outside of Boston the second major rabbinical school in the United States to do away with rules barring students from dating or marrying non-Jews. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Seminary was the first to do so in 2015.

Hebrew College’s decision comes as rabbinical schools compete over a shrinking pool of applicants and after decades of rising rates of intermarriage among American Jews.

Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld, Hebrew College’s president, announced the policy change in an email to students and graduates on Tuesday evening. She said the decision, which followed a year and a half of review, came amid a broad revision of the seminary’s “guiding principles for admission and ordination.”

Those new guiding principles were published on the admissions page of Hebrew College’s website late Tuesday, replacing different language that had included the partner policy. “We do not admit or ordain rabbinical students with non-Jewish partners,” the page had previously said, adding that applicants whose partners were in the process of converting would be considered.

“This is a really exciting moment for Jewish communities everywhere,” said Jodi Bromberg, the CEO of 18Doors, a Jewish nonprofit that supports interfaith families. “We all will get to benefit from Jewish leaders in interfaith relationships who have been sidelined from major seminaries up to now.”

Hebrew College has set aside time on Wednesday for its roughly 80 rabbinical students and others to process their reactions about the change, which Anisfeld had previously said she expected to be intense no matter the decision. She declined to comment late Tuesday, saying that she was focused on communication with members of her community.

“This has not been a simple process and, in addition to the strong feelings raised by the policy itself, there have been complex feelings about various stages of the process we’ve undertaken over the past year,” Anisfeld wrote in a message to students in October, in a series of emails obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Hebrew College’s policy change reflects a longstanding and sometimes painful dynamic in American Jewish life: While nearly three-quarters of non-Orthodox Jews who married in the last decade did so to non-Jews, few traditional rabbinical schools have been willing to train or ordain rabbis in interfaith relationships. Their policies have roots in Jewish law, known as halacha, which prohibits marriages between Jews and non-Jews. But they also reflect anxiety among American Jewish leaders over whether high rates of intermarriage threaten the future of Judaism, and whether rabbis must model traditional practices in their families.

At Hebrew College, which launched its rabbinical school 20 years ago, the prohibition against interfaith relationships had been the only admissions requirement rooted in Jewish law beyond the rule that applicants must be considered Jewish according to at least one Jewish movement. There was no requirement that rabbinical students keep kosher or observe Shabbat.

When the school’s leadership first solicited feedback from students a year ago, several took aim at what they said was hypocrisy in the approach to Jewish law.

“This is the one area of students’ halachic life where I am acutely aware that the school does not trust us, does not think we are capable of navigating our own personal lives, and does not believe that the choices we may make for ourselves have the capacity to expand and enrich our Jewish practice,” wrote one student, according to a collection of anonymous comments shared among students at the time.

A chuppah at a Jewish wedding. More than 60% of American Jews who have married in the last decade have done so to non-Jewish partners, according to a 2021 study from the Pew Research Center. That proportion rises to nearly 75% for non-Orthodox American Jews. (Scott Rocher via Flickr Commons)

Most of the 15 comments that students and graduates shared with their peers called for doing away with the ban on interfaith student relationships, often citing the benefits of having Hebrew College-ordained rabbis reflect the families they are likely to serve.

“We should be training rabbis for the Jewish community that exists and that we want to cultivate, not the one we wish existed or that existed in the past,” one student wrote. “Having intermarried rabbis could do a lot of good: perhaps having role models for a fulfilling, active, intermarried Jewish can help people feel welcomed, not just grudgingly tolerated after the fact — and can increase the likelihood that those intermarried couples want to raise Jewish children.”

Several students and graduates wrote that the policy as it stood incentivized students to obscure their relationships, denying them dignity and preventing their mentors and teachers from fully supporting them. Several suggested that prohibiting students in interfaith partnerships could have a disproportionate effect on queer Jews and Jews of color.

At least one person argued against changing the policy, instead suggesting that the school strengthen enforcement and clarify expectations about other Jewish practices and values.

“By changing the policy Hebrew College is sending the message to the Jewish world that love-based marriages are more sacred than the covenant with which we made at Sinai,” that student wrote, referring to the moment in Jewish tradition when God first spoke to the Israelites. “However, by not changing the policy Hebrew College is affirming that students learn the art of lying. Therefore, my suggestion is to keep the policy but change the ethics on how it is enforced.”

Those comments followed a two-day workshop, facilitated by experts in conflict resolution, about the policy a year ago. The experience was challenging for many of those in attendance, according to the student comments.

“The pain of the need to hide was on full display during Winter Seminar, and I found myself wondering if I could remain in a community whose first response was anything other than to seek healing for the hurt that the policy has inflicted,” one wrote at the time.

With tensions high, an initial deadline to decide whether to keep the policy came and went last June. In late October, Anisfeld wrote to students with an update. A special committee including both rabbinic and academic faculty members had been meeting regularly since July, she said, and would be presenting their recommendation by the end of January.

Last week, she said in her message to students and graduates on Tuesday, Hebrew College’s board approved the policy change and admissions principles revisions.

The decision could renew pressure on other rabbinical schools amid steep competition for students. Several non-traditional rabbinical schools that do not have a requirement about the identities of students’ spouses have grown in recent years, while Hebrew College; the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College; and the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in the Conservative movement all shrunk. Hebrew College recently completed a move to a shared campus after selling its building under financial duress.

“We continue to hear from folks who want to be rabbis and up until this moment had really limited choices,” said Bromberg. “I can’t help but think that this will have a really positive impact on the enrollment in Hebrew College’s rabbinic program.”

The pressure could be especially acute for Hebrew Union College, the Reform seminary with three campuses in the United States. (Because of declining enrollment, the school is phasing out its Cincinnati program.) HUC does not admit or ordain students in interfaith relationships, even though the Reform movement, which does not consider halacha to be binding, permits its rabbis to officiate at intermarriages and to be intermarried themselves.

That policy, which the movement reaffirmed after extensive debate in 2014, has drawn resentment and scorn from some who say it is the only thing holding them back from pursuing Reform ordination.

“All my life, my community had told me that no matter who you are or who you love, you are equal in our community and according to the Divine. But now it feels like I’ve been betrayed, lied to, misled,” Ezra Samuels, an aspiring rabbinical student in a queer relationship with a non-Jewish man, wrote on Hey Alma in 2020, expanding on a viral Twitter thread.

But even the Conservative movement, which bars rabbis from officiating at intermarriages and only recently began permitting members of its rabbinical association to attend intermarriages, is grappling openly with how to balance Jewish law and tradition against the reality around interfaith relationships.

The movement recently held a series of online meetings for members of its Rabbinical Assembly to discuss intermarriage, sparking rumors that the movement could be headed toward policy changes. That’s not the case, according to movement leaders — though they say other shifts may be needed.

“There are no proposals at present to change our standard,” said Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, the CEO of the RA and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the movement’s congregational arm. “But there is a conversation about what are the ways that we can provide more pastoral guidance to colleagues, especially around moments of marriage.”

The Pew study found new high rates of intermarriage in the Jewish community. (iStock/Getty Images)

Keren McGinity, the USCJ’s interfaith specialist, previously directed the Interfaith Families Engagement Program, a now-defunct part of Hebrew College’s education school. She declined to comment on the internal conversations underway within the Conservative movement. But in 2015, she argued in an op-ed that the Jewish world would benefit from more rabbis who were intermarried.

“Seeing rabbis — who have committed their careers, indeed their lives to Judaism — intermarry, create Jewish homes and raise Jewish children should convincingly illustrate how intermarriage does not inhibit Jewish involvement,” she wrote, citing her research on intermarried couples.

That argument got a boost two years ago, when a major survey of American Jews found that most children of intermarried couples were being raised Jewish. And on Tuesday, McGinity said she was glad to hear that Hebrew College was dropping its partner requirement, which she said she knew had caused students to leave the program in the past.

“The decision to admit rabbinical students who have beloveds of other faith backgrounds is a tremendous way of leading in the 21st century, illustrating that interpartnered Jews can be exemplars of Jewish leaders,” she said.

She added, “Knowing my colleagues, I can only imagine the hours and hours of thought that went into this decision.”

The post In a shift, Hebrew College will now admit and ordain rabbinical students whose partners are not Jewish appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


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.

Continue Reading


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.  

Continue Reading



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.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News