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Joseph Borgen was beaten in the streets while wearing a kippah. Now, he’s fighting in the NYC court system

(New York Jewish Week) — Before Joseph Borgen was beaten in the street nearly two years ago, on the way to a pro-Israel rally, he enjoyed playing basketball after returning home to the Upper East Side from his day job as an accountant. 

In the time since Borgen, now 30, was attacked, that hasn’t been possible. The incident — in which five men shouting antisemitic slurs punched, kicked, pepper-sprayed and beat Borgen with crutches — left him needing surgery on his wrist. Only recently has he started going back to the gym. 

“It’s something that is still lingering and I’d love to put it in my rearview,” Borgen, who is the eldest of five siblings, told the New York Jewish Week. “It doesn’t just only affect me. My little brother was seeing me on the news. He’s still a kid. We’re very close.” 

The attack on Borgen drew national attention, and came amid a string of antisemitic assaults in the United States surrounding the May 2021 conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Now, Borgen is caught in a conflict of a different kind, one that illustrates the long tail of hate crimes that have faded from public consciousness. He doesn’t want the beating to define him, but finds that its after-effects have festered — and that a controversy over the ensuing trial of his alleged attackers has spurred him to become a passionate, if ambivalent, advocate against antisemitism.

“There is some value and good in speaking about what happened and just getting the message out there,” Borgen said. “But it’s not something I want to harp on.”

Joey Borgen, victim of a violent antisemitic attack last yr which took place few blocks from Times Square, said “The attack on me was no isolated incident.  Pittsburgh to Poway to across the river in NJ— violent, deadly antisemtism is increasing to record levels”#ShineALight pic.twitter.com/4x29t9Pzi2

— JCRC of New York (@JCRCNY) November 29, 2021

Borgen was walking to a pro-Israel rally when he was attacked in the street in midtown Manhattan on May 20, 2021 — the same day Hamas and Israel announced a ceasefire after 11 days of conflict. A blurry video of the attack that circulated on social media showed a small crowd of men surrounding Borgen, kicking him and beating him with sticks. A photo of Borgen from later that night shows Borgen with a puffy red face, and wearing a neck brace. 

“I was just wearing a kippah, listening to music, just minding my own business — and it all just erupted,” Borgen said, recalling the incident. “Before I can even really react or do anything, there’s a group of individuals surrounding me. I didn’t have the time to process what was going on.” 

Borgen is still facing those who have been accused of attacking him — but that confrontation has moved to the courts. The lead perpetrator, Waseem Awawdeh, was charged with hate crime assault, along with a list of other charges. The case is still in process, and the next hearing is on April 20.

“I can’t even tell you how hard personally I’ve been fighting for this,” Borgen told the New York Jewish Week. “If there’s no accountability or consequences of what took place, what happened to me is going to happen to someone else.” 

Borgen is currently worried that Awawdeh will go to prison for a small fraction of the maximum sentence he faces, which, according to Borgen’s attorney, is 15 years. That concern stems from reports in the New York Post and New York Sun that Manhattan D.A. Alvin Bragg offered Awawdeh a six-month plea deal

Those reports have sparked a chorus of criticism, as well as a letter to Bragg by nearly two dozen groups lobbying against the deal. The signatories were a mix of right-wing, pro-Israel and Orthodox groups, including the Rabbinical Council of America, an association for Orthodox rabbis; the Zionist Organization of America, a right-wing organization; and Americans Against Antisemitism, a group founded by former New York State Assemblymember Dov Hikind, who represented a Brooklyn district.

“Failing to impose severe consequences here would send the dangerous and unacceptable message that Jews can be brutally attacked with impunity,” said the letter, which was sent earlier this month. 

Hikind told the New York Jewish Week that he wants more Jews to vocally support Borgen. “We need to fill the courtroom,” Hikind said. “Unfortunately, we’re just not there. The community needs to come out.” 

The six-month deal, however, seems like far from a sure thing. Awawdeh’s lawyer, Peter Marc Frankel, confirmed the deal to the Post in January, as did prosecutors on the case. But speaking to the New York Jewish Week on Monday, Frankel said he was unsure if the deal would come to fruition.

“I don’t know if it’s going to happen, frankly,” Frankel said. “It’s unclear at this point. I don’t know if it’s going to be a six-month deal, but I would not expect a shorter deal, certainly.”

The deal has not yet been openly discussed in court, and Borgen’s lawyer, Ross Pearlson, who is representing his client pro-bono on behalf of the Anti-Defamation League, told the New York Jewish Week that “it’s not clear” if the six-month deal will hold. 

“I’m unaware of any offers being made,” Pearlson said. “I believe that a year would be more appropriate. Six months to me still seems a little light considering the mob violence and the damage that was done to [Borgen].” 

Bragg’s office declined to comment on the deal. The ADL likewise did not respond to requests for comment on the case. 

Shortly after the attack, in 2021, a prosecutor on the case said that Awawdeh had told one of his jailers, “If I could do it again, I would do it again,” according to the Post. But Frankel told the New York Jewish Week that “that quote was taken completely out of context” and that Awawdeh has offered to meet and apologize to Borgen. He also met with the prosecutors to explain how remorseful he felt.

“[Awawdeh’s] behavior was the result of bad impulse control and a bad reaction to a bad situation, rather than an effort to try to seek someone out who is Jewish to commit a hate crime,” Frankel said.

Borgen said that any offer Awawdeh made to apologize is “news to me” and would be “surprising” given Awawdeh’s previous conduct. He said that while he would like to move on from the incident, he understands that “applying public pressure to the D.A.’s office” is important for ensuring accountability. He called the Jewish groups advocating for him “the biggest support network I have.”
“It would be kind of shocking if they offer [Awawdeh] six months,” Borgen said. “At no point has he shown any remorse. When people think of this case, they think of this guy. All of these factors make people like myself more resolute in pursuing justice.”

Pearlson added that Borgen “has been traumatized by this event.”

“He’s very emotional when I speak to him about it,” Pearlson said. “He gets agitated for each one of these court appearances. When we talk about the case, he’s passionate about it.” 

There are now five defendants in the case, including Awawdeh, and the D.A.’s office is treating them differently based on their alleged respective roles in the beating.  

“Justice is not one size fits all,” Pearlson said. “It doesn’t move quickly, but in this case, it’s not the D.A.’s office delaying things or dragging its heels. There’s going to be some element of justice done.” 

The fact that Borgen’s case is being prosecuted at all puts it in the minority of hate crimes complaints in Manhattan. According to NYPD statistics, police precincts in the borough received 241 hate crime complaints in 2022, and made 118 arrests based on those complaints. 

Bragg’s office told the New York Jewish Week that 92 hate crimes were prosecuted in Manhattan last year.  His office currently has 20 open hate crime cases related to antisemitism for this year. A report last year in The City, a local publication, found that most hate crimes charges are dropped before any convictions take place.  

Although Borgen remains involved in the case, and has spoken about his experience publicly, he suggested that it was still hard to think about.

“Some people have said, ‘God only put you through this because you can handle it,’” said Borgen, who is modern Orthodox and puts on tefillin daily. “But if I start to think about it in those terms, I don’t want to go there. I don’t want to let it factor into my views on God and spirituality because if I did, it might make me start to question and wonder about things. I don’t want to go down that road.” 

On March 9, Borgen appeared in court, sitting in the same room as his alleged attackers. While he could not comment on the specifics of the hearing, not wanting to impact court proceedings, he said that “it sucks to be in the same room as individuals who could have killed me.” 

“I don’t like going to court,” Borgen said. “I do it because when I’m there with other people, a large group of Jewish individuals, it sends a message that we’re not lying down and taking this.” 


The post Joseph Borgen was beaten in the streets while wearing a kippah. Now, he’s fighting in the NYC court system 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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