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Jerry Izenberg covered 53 Super Bowls. His memoir covers his Jewish Newark upbringing.

(JTA) — Over the course of an illustrious 72-year career as a newspaper reporter, Jerry Izenberg has just about seen it all.

The longtime columnist for The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, Izenberg covered the first 53 Super Bowls. He’s been to 58 Kentucky Derbies, not to mention numerous Olympics, World Cups and boxing matches. He considered Muhammad Ali a close personal friend.

But the fiery 92-year-old, who still contributes to the paper as a columnist emeritus from his home in Nevada, doesn’t approve of the term “journalist.” He’s a newspaperman.

He dropped the name of Samuel Pepys, the 17th-century British diarist, as a contrast.

“Every day he took his big diary, and he wrote what he did this day, what he was planning to do later — that’s a journalist,” Izenberg told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. “I’m not in my world. I’m in the world of other people trying to interpret and to repeat what values they have or what lack thereof they have.”

Izenberg’s latest story breaks that rule. His 17th book, which hits shelves on Monday, is a memoir about his Jewish upbringing in Newark. Titled “Baseball, Nazis, and Nedick’s Hot Dogs: Growing Up Jewish in the 1930s in Newark,” the memoir centers on Izenberg’s relationship with his father Harry, a World War I veteran and former minor league baseball player who passed on his love of the sport to his son.

Izenberg’s father emigrated to the United States as a child, leaving Lithuania with his family to escape anti-Jewish pogroms. As his sportswriter son recounts it, Harry discovered baseball even before he could speak English.

The Izenbergs’ love of baseball transcended all. When Jerry got his first baseball glove at ten years old, it was a milestone that in his father’s eyes surpassed even his bar mitzvah. (Maybe unsurprisingly, Izenberg would later skip bar mitzvah tutoring to play baseball after school.)

“He had given me a lifetime gift — a simple game and a simple shared love for it,” Izenberg writes in the memoir. “It remains there, bright and shining in memory eighty-three years later. In the soul of my memory, I see our kind of shared love of baseball again. It never fades.”

Jerry Izenberg and his father Harry shared a bond over baseball. (Book cover courtesy of The Sager Group, LLC; photograph courtesy of Jerry Izenberg)

The pair’s passion for baseball was closely intertwined with their Judaism. Growing up in Newark in the 1930s and 40s, Izenberg was a fan of the New York Giants baseball team (which left for San Francisco after the 1957 season). They featured a lineup filled with Jewish players: Harry Danning, Harry Feldman and Sid Gordon.

But in the pantheon of Jewish baseball during Izenberg’s childhood, there was a clear king, and — much to the chagrin of Izenberg’s father — he played in Detroit. Hank Greenberg, the greatest Jewish hitter in baseball history, was at the peak of his Tigers career from 1935-1940, winning two most valuable player awards on his way to the Hall of Fame.

At the Izenbergs’ dinner table, there were only a few select topics that were allowed to be discussed: baseball and the Nazis.

In 1938, Greenberg was chasing all-time great Babe Ruth’s single-season record of 60 home runs, which Ruth had set in 1927 with the Yankees. Greenberg would ultimately reach 58 homers, falling just short of history, while drawing several walks in the season’s final games.

“My dad was convinced that was antisemitism,” Izenberg said. “And I said to him, later on when I got into the business and I knew people, ‘did it ever occur to you that the guys who pitched against him didn’t want to be the guy who threw his 60th home run ball? They’d be linked to him forever.’ My father said, ‘That’s an interesting theory, but you’re full of crap.’”

Of all the anecdotes Izenberg shares of his memories with his father, one non-sports related scene stands out. And it has to do with that second dinner table topic.

One Saturday in 1939, Izenberg and his father went to the Newsreel Theatre in Newark, where audiences gathered to watch news and sports highlights of the week. That day, the theater showed footage of the infamous Madison Square Garden rally held by the German-American Bund, the American Nazi organization.

Izenberg remembers leaving the theater with his father, who was visibly angry. His father talked about how the Nazis — or, as he called them, mamzers, Yiddish slang for “bastards” — had to be stopped.

“I’m an 8-year-old kid, and I say, ‘But dad, they’re in Germany,’” Izenberg recalled. “And he looks at me, he says, ‘They’re not in Germany, they’re here.’ And he was right.” Indeed, following Hitler’s rise to power, Nazi-sympathizers could be seen marching down Newark’s streets.

The move theater incident is illustrated on the book’s cover — and was followed by a frequent father-son ritual: getting hot dogs at the popular chain Nedick’s.

To Izenberg, the virulent antisemitism of his youth — including the Bund, the reemergence of the Ku Klux Klan and the rise of Father Charles Coughlin, the antisemitic “radio priest” — is a corollary for the current state of antisemitism, which is again on the rise in the United States, punctuated, he said, by the 2017 antisemitic white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, which he blames on former President Donald Trump.

Izenberg said he doesn’t believe any law can force people to love or even like one another, but that “you could legislate people and pressure people into keeping their damn mouth shut.”

He went on: “And for 30 years, we had that. We got relief from antisemitism… And then one day in Charlottesville, that son of a bitch gave them the license to say whatever they want. And that was a trigger that lit the flame of antisemitism, which then began to grow all at once. It was always in their minds. But it was not fashionable. They made it fashionable.”

Despite the anti-Jewish sentiment that was ever-present in his youth, Izenberg said he has not faced antisemitism in his journalism career. As a columnist who has covered just about every sport, Izenberg has received his fair share of criticism — most notably having his car windows smashed by two men who did not approve of Izenberg’s defense of Muhammad Ali, when at the height of his career the boxer stirred controversy with his support for the Nation of Islam and his refusal to enlist in the military.

Jerry Izenberg, right, and boxer Muhammad Ali were close personal friends. (The Private Collection of Jerry Izenberg)

Izenberg has written about social issues frequently throughout his career — especially race relations — a tendency that he said is inspired by the value of “tikkun olam,” or repairing the world. It’s an idea he learned from Rabbi Joachim Prinz, the famous activist leader who spoke just before Martin Luther King Jr. at the 1963 March on Washington.

After leaving Nazi Germany, Prinz settled in Newark, on the same block as the Izenbergs. He would become a close family friend, and even offered to help Izenberg prepare for his bar mitzvah, despite the fact that his family belonged to a different synagogue.

Izenberg said he is guided by tikkun olam, “because I know [Prinz would] want me to keep it in the back of my mind, and my father would, too.”

“I’ve always tried not to fix the world — I don’t overrate myself that much — but I could fix the little part of it, the space that I take up,” he added. “And my job was a pathway to that.”

Izenberg’s decades-long career in sports journalism has earned him numerous accolades, including induction into 17 different halls of fame, among them the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame.

Along the way, he’s worked with and alongside a number of notable journalists, including ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap, who previously hosted “Classic Sports Reporters,” for which he invited veteran sportswriters like Izenberg on the show to discuss various topics from sports history.

“For someone like me who really treasures that art form, Jerry was one of its master practitioners, and he’s still doing it, which is amazing,” Schaap told JTA.

Schaap hailed the breadth of Izenberg’s career, which he said epitomized the kind of big-city sports columnist that has become increasingly rare in the digital age.

“He’s a maniac, there’s no other way to put it,” Schaap said with a laugh. “All those Super Bowls, all those fights… the energy, the enthusiasm, the passion, all those things, in addition to the skills, makes him unique and has made him unique for decades.”

Schaap added that he and Izenberg shared a sort of unspoken bond over their Jewishness, and that Izenberg has taught Schaap a few Yiddishisms over the years. Izenberg’s tendency to slip Yiddish into his prose is evident in the memoir, from a comical retelling of his bris in the prologue to the frequent frustrated “genug” (“enough”) he heard from his mother as a child.

Ultimately, Izenberg said his parents represent the tachlis — the bottom line — of the memoir, and what he hopes readers take away from it. Izenberg said writing the memoir was cathartic for him, and that it even serves as a sort of love letter to his father.

“We were not, you know, ‘I love you dad,’” Izenberg said. “We were very respectful, but we didn’t express it. I tried to express it in this book. I hope I did.”

The release of Izenberg’s memoir is in no way a sign that the nonagenarian is slowing down. Even though he claims he works less than he used to, Izenberg said he plans to write six columns about next weekend’s Kentucky Derby.

He already has plans for his next few books, too — including a biography of New Jersey’s own Larry Doby, who was the second Black player in the MLB and first in the American League.

“I’ve had a great life, and I’m having a great life, but I ain’t done yet,” Izenberg said.

The post Jerry Izenberg covered 53 Super Bowls. His memoir covers his Jewish Newark upbringing. 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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