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In Haifa, a university serves as a base for Arab-Jewish coexistence — and a place to tackle global problems

HAIFA — On a recent chilly morning, six Israeli Druze women gathered in a room at the University of Haifa library to discuss the joys and frustrations of living in a modern, Jewish, largely secular country.

Chatting in Arabic and Hebrew, many of the women, all students at the university, spoke about the challenges of balancing their traditional Druze identity with their modern Israeli aspirations.

“I spend two hours each way to come to school. But my education is so important, I’d do it even if I spent 10 hours a day,” said Walaa Bader, 20, an Arabic literature and music major from Horfeish, a Druze village of some 6,000 souls near the Lebanese border.

Adan Bader, 22, said she became secular four years ago in part to focus on her studies.

“I was a religious girl, but our religion doesn’t encourage young women to study,” she said. “At this stage of my life, I wasn’t ready for a full commitment to my religion.”

The get-together was part of a series of weekly meetings organized by Yael Granot, director of social engagement at the University of Haifa’s student dean office. It’s part of the university’s larger social and educational mission: to serve Israel’s Arab population and build bridges between Israeli Arabs and Jews.

Aside from being a world-class center for higher learning with over 18,000 students, the university runs various coexistence programs to facilitate dialogue and mutual respect between Jewish and Arab students. One is the Jewish-Arab Community Leadership Program, which facilitates dialogue and multicultural social interaction through joint community projects.

“In addition to creating scientific knowledge, our main mission is the expansion of professional opportunities for all members of society,” University of Haifa President Ron Robin said when he began his tenure as president. “We embrace the rich tapestry of communities that make up Israeli society.”

Approximately 40% of the university’s students are Arabs, including some 300-400 Druze women. Druze constitute an Arabic-speaking faith group with some 150,000 adherents in Israel, most of whom live in highly conservative villages in northern Israel. About 70% of all Arab students at the University of Haifa are women.

“We’re very proud to be Druze, and very proud to be Israeli,” said Bader. “But we are doubly marginalized because, even within the Arab minority, we’re not Muslims. And the Basic Law puts a question mark on our sense of belonging to Israeli society,” she said, referring to a 2018 law enshrining Israel’s identity as a Jewish state that many Arab Israelis complained relegated them to second-class status.

Granot sees her role as helping the Druze students balance their personal backgrounds with their academic and professional interests. The Druze women in her group recently created mentoring groups for Druze teenagers to encourage them to pursue higher education.

This approach is part and parcel of the university’s mantra of “thinking locally and acting globally.”

Druze high school students discuss “soft skills” with University of Haifa student mentors during a weekly meeting in the northern Galilee village of Horfeish, Israel. (Amal Merey)

On the local level, the university is trying to create a new broad and inclusive middle class. Its campus, located in a part of Israel with significant Jewish and Arab populations, strives to serve as an oasis of coexistence. Among the university’s joint community projects is Hai-fa Innovation Labs, a start-up incubator whose programs focus on social innovation and impact entrepreneurship.

On the global level, this university located on the Carmel mountains with sweeping views of the Mediterranean Sea has a strong research focus on the environment. At the university’s Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, scientists are studying how to improve seawater desalination — a major source of Israel’s water supply. Among the elements most critical to sustainable desalination, experts say, are ensuring the quality of drinking water while reducing byproducts of the desalination process. The school is actively monitoring these issues to protect Israel’s coastal and marine environments and provide guidance globally for how to replicate successes worldwide.

The university’s Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies is partnering with the Scripps Center for Marine Archeology at the University of California San Diego to investigate the long-term impacts of climate change and rising sea levels in the eastern Mediterranean.

Students and scientists at the Charney school are exploring the viability of using ocean plants as sustainable food sources to meet the needs of the globe’s rapidly expanding human population.

As the university celebrates its 50 th year, it has aligned its academic strategic plan with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at eliminating poverty, hunger and discrimination worldwide.

On a concrete level, the university has mounted a $150 million fundraising campaign to build infrastructure, expand research areas and update its technology.

Back in Granot’s group, students are figuring out their own ways to effect change.

“We put a great emphasis on providing tools for social entrepreneurship and letting students work and find their own voice for social change,” Granot said.

In one initiative, the group asked 15 local Israeli municipalities to identify a cause or problem they’d like the students to tackle.

In Acre, a city in northern Israeli that saw violence break out between Arabs and Jews during Israel’s 2021 conflict with Hamas in Gaza, 10 students — five Arabs and five Jews — worked together to map out challenges. They came up with a plan in which Jewish and Arab youth in Acre would create joint tours in Hebrew and Arabic for local schools. The students get about $2,850 each for their participation and are expected to volunteer 140 hours a year. The tours are expected to begin in the coming months.

The university also has enlisted two institutions, Beit HaGefen and the Boston-Haifa Partnership, for a project in which students are encouraged to utilize their creativity, activism and aspirations to design initiatives and opportunities for shared spaces in Haifa. In the program, 15 students of diverse backgrounds — native-born Israeli Jews, Arabs, Christians and Druze, as well as new immigrants from Russia, Ukraine and Ethiopia — meet on Tuesdays with local entrepreneurs while conducting tours of Haifa.

“Our main objective is to get them to know their city, with all its challenges and complexities, and make them into active citizens working toward social change,” Granot said. “Even people born here don’t really understand the richness of this city. We’d like them to experience that.”


The post In Haifa, a university serves as a base for Arab-Jewish coexistence — and a place to tackle global problems 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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Obituaries

Dr. NATHAN WISEMAN

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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