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In an unusual alliance, Jewish media and striking journalists are uniting to cover the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial

PITTSBURGH (JTA) — How many times should an alleged synagogue shooter’s name be mentioned in a news story about his trial, now beginning after more than four years?

For the Pittsburgh Union Press last month, the answer was seven. For the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, it was an uneasy five, in a departure from its usual answer of zero — a number chosen out of deference to a community devastated by the shooting.

The slight difference was the only discrepancy between one set of stories published by the two news organizations covering the trial of Robert Bowers, accused of murdering 11 Jews in their synagogue here in 2018.

The anomaly offers a window into an unusual partnership between the two publications — the city’s Jewish paper and the news site established by striking staffers for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — born in February when it became clear that the trial would last months.

Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle editor Toby Tabachnick was dreading the trial coverage, with a staff of just three on the editorial side: herself and two reporters, David Rullo and Adam Reinherz.

“I started getting really nervous. Like, how are we going to do this?” Tabachnick said on the eve of the trial, speaking at the federal courthouse where jury selection would soon begin. “Our regular reporters could have been here. But it would have been extremely taxing, difficult and emotional for us, because we’re so ingrained in the community too.”

Plus, she added, “In addition to this trial, which is going to be every day for three months, we’re covering the synagogues, events and the holidays, the lectures, we still have a regular community newspaper to put out.”

Tabachnick knew Andrew “Goldy” Goldstein, one of the Post-Gazette’s team that picked up a Pulitzer for their coverage of the massacre, from his time as a Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle intern. She also knew he was on strike and wondered whether he could use the extra freelance opportunity.

Instead, Goldstein immediately offered up a better idea: Join with the Pittsburgh Union Progress, the strike paper, in a joint reporting project, organized in part through the Pittsburgh Media Partnership, an incubator for local journalism. (The Jewish Telegraphic Agency is raising funds for the coverage.)

Working together just made sense, Goldstein said. The Chronicle was deeply resourced and credible in the Jewish community, and the Progress had on board Torsten Ove, a local legend.

From left to right, Bob Batz of the Pittsburgh Union Progress, Toby Tabachnick of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle and Andrew Goldstein of the Progress pose in the Joseph Weis Jr. Courthouse in Pittsburgh, April 21, 2023. (Ron Kampeas)

“We have the all-star federal courts reporter in Torsten and we have a lot of really great journalists who love Pittsburgh, love this community, and we’ll do our best to cover it,” Goldstein said, noting that the Chronicle would also have access to the Progress’s photographers. “But the Chronicle brings something different entirely to the table, which is, they’re so deeply sourced in the Pittsburgh Jewish community, and they have such an interest in this trial in particular.”

Newsroom collaborations have become more frequent in recent years as publications realize they can expand their impact and audience by working together. But while there are a growing number of relationships between local and national publications and between daily and investigative outlets, ties between mainstream newsrooms and community or ethnic media are less common.

S. Mitra Kalita, the founder and director of URL Media, a network of Black and Brown community news outlets that share content and revenue, said the value in such partnerships was not just in delivering relief as media staffs shrink, but also in sensitizing mainstream media to minority sensibilities.

“Talking about who [the ethnic media outlet is] serving and why we’re doing it this way — the spirit of real collaboration is a bit of that give and take,” she said. “We make mainstream media way better because it starts to infuse mainstream media with aspects of community and thus redefine the mainstream.”

The residual trauma of the massacre in the Pittsburgh collaboration made it all the more important for the mainstream reporters to be sensitive to the nuances that the Jewish media was bringing, she said.

“Especially a story like this one, which was such an attack on a community — a community that was singled out for their sheer existence, the strategy cannot be ‘let’s just work in parallel,” Kalita said. “It’s not going to work. It has to be kind of a cross-pollination and a real collaboration.”

That’s exactly what is happening, according to the reporters and editors involved in the project, with communication easy between each publication’s editor and expertise flowing in both directions.

Ove a denizen of the Joseph F. Weis Jr. Courthouse for so long that he can tell stories about a sizable stretch of the portraits of judges that line its corridor walls; he may be the only court reporter to seek an interview with a judge after his death, to ask him why he was haunting the place. (The judge never showed, but his widow was less than surprised to hear that he was still working.)

He led a passel of Chronicle and Progress staffers through the warren-like courthouse on the Friday before the trial, handily impressing them with his intimacy with the building — he knew the provenance of the paintings in each courtroom — and its staff. Soo Song, the assistant U.S. attorney who is leading the prosecution team, smiled and nodded as she passed.

Torsten Ove, left, of the Pittsburgh Union Progress and Adam Reinherz of the PIttsburgh Jewish Chronicle confer on the first day of jury selection for the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre trial, April 24, 2023. (Toby Tabachnick)

Ove showed the reporters how to access court records for free, and while they stood around him at one of the computer terminals, the teams’ different emphases emerged: Ove predicted that jury selection, which started last week and is expected to last as long as three weeks, would not be a news generator, because in his experience, it rarely has been.

Reinherz and Tabachnick, attuned to reporting on faith communities, were not so sure: Reinherz wondered whether believing Catholics, who reject the death penalty, would be eliminated, and Tabachnick wondered whether defense attorneys would seek to keep Jews off the jury — and how they would go about doing that.

Reinherz ended up covering the first day of jury selection. “Local and national reporters decided the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle should have one seat during the initial session of day one,” Reinherz explained in a story that appeared on both news sites. He noted that the first member of the public to enter the courtroom was Daniel Leger, one of two survivors of the attack.

Working together across platforms was odd, said Bob Batz Jr., the Progress’s interim editor, but he could get used to it.

“This is uncharted territory for someone like me, and I’ve been doing this for a long time, and we don’t, you know, we don’t collaborate,” he said.

“We compete!” Tabachnick interjected.

“What we’re doing is not common, and it’s not going to be easy,” Batz said. “Surely, we’re going to tick each other off about something or somebody is going to put the wrong word in or there’s a million things that can go wrong, but the breaking of ground where you’re actually working together, it just makes sense in so many ways on this story. We’re really trying to serve the community.”

Tabachnick said she saw added value in keeping journalists she admired in the limelight while they are on strike. Journalists at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette went on strike back in October over wages and working conditions, in a crescendo of mounting tensions between the paper’s longtime owners and the staff that contributed to a newsroom exodus even in 2018, when the paper won a Pulitzer for its synagogue shooting coverage. The strike is now one of the longest in journalism history, and the staffers contributing to the Pittsburgh Union Progress are doing so despite earning well below than their regular salaries.

“I feel good about getting their names, their publication’s name out,” Tabachnick said.

Each story is running in essentially identical form on both publications’ websites, with a line crediting their collaboration. Tabachnick and Batz had a brief and friendly email exchange before each clicked “publish” on their story about debate among victims’ families about the appropriateness of the death penalty.

The Chronicle is minimizing appearances of the name of the accused killer, out of sensitivity to readers who may want to see their community members centered rather than their aggressor. Some researchers and law enforcement officials have also called on journalists not to print mass shooters’ names and photographs, citing evidence that doing so may contribute to their glorification and even copycat crimes.

Batz says he totally gets the Chronicle’s thinking, despite making a different choice in his newsroom.

“We’re still feeling our way, we’re still figuring this out,” Batz said. “They don’t name the defendant in their story, and they haven’t. And our guy Torsten who’s an all-star courts reporter, he’s going to use the guy’s name. And then in real time going back and forth on email and text we came up with his solution and that story was on both websites in minutes and it was really kind of cool.”

Tabachnick picked up the account of the previous night’s collaboration as if she’d been working across a desk from Batz for decades instead of online since February.

“The solution was that I realized that with the trial starting, it really didn’t make sense not to use his name at all anymore that we really needed to as a news organization,” she said. “But that didn’t mean we had to overuse his name. And I’m not saying Torsten overused his name. He used it as much as he needed to use it in terms of style, but I took out a few of them and replaced it with ‘the defendant’ and we were all happy.”

The post In an unusual alliance, Jewish media and striking journalists are uniting to cover the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting trial 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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