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‘Married to the Mob,’ but under a chuppah: A new memoir details a Jewish family’s crime ties

(New York Jewish Week) — The Geiks weren’t your typical Bronx working-class Jewish family. 

One brother ran a mob-protected trucking company in Manhattan’s Garment District. Another brother, an NYPD detective, chauffeured organized crime couriers around the city with illicit cash. Their kid sister visited a Las Vegas casino where the tween was set up with a couple of slot machines in a private room. 

And a close family friend was sent up the river for killing a notorious Jewish gangster.

Meet the family whose close ties to Jewish gangsters are chronicled in “Uncle Charlie Killed Dutch Schultz,” a memoir just published by Alan Geik.

Dutch Schultz was the mob name of Arthur Flegenheimer, the Jewish bootlegger and numbers racket kingpin who left this mortal coil in October 1935 at the Palace Chop House in Newark. The triggermen were two Jews, members of the organized crime group Murder Inc. Mendy Weiss and Charles “Bug” Workman, the Uncle Charlie of the memoir’s title, did the hit. 

Workman, who reportedly killed more than 20 people before pleading guilty to the murder of Dutch Schultz, was not a blood relative of author Alan Geik. But Workman grew up with Geik’s father on the Lower East Side and was so close to the Geik family he was considered an uncle. The author was in his 20s when he first met Workman, after the hitman was released from a New Jersey prison in 1964.

“I would never think of calling him anything but Uncle Charlie,” said Geik, 80, a retired TV producer and radio host who lives in Las Vegas.

In addition to diving deep into Workman’s story, the book also explores how Jewish mobsters and their hangers-on fought antisemitism, beat up Nazis and helped a fledgling Israel acquire arms for its War of Independence.  

“These were people, from the first generation of Jews in America, who fought back against antisemitism in the streets,” Geik said. “Their parents fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe. They were not going to let it happen again and they didn’t.”  

Geik’s book joins a crowded shelf of histories and memoirs of the Jewish mob, including “But He Was Good to His Mother: The Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters,” by Robert A. Rockaway, and “Tough Jews: Fathers, Sons, and Gangster Dreams,” by Rich Cohen. Like those books, Geik’s family history provides a sort of reverse image of typical Jewish immigrant stories: Instead of scrapping their way up from New York’s Jewish enclaves into retail and the professions, Geik’s family joined a criminal counterculture. 

Alan Geik’s family’s close ties to Jewish gangsters are chronicled in a just-published memoir, “Uncle Charlie Killed Dutch Schultz.” (Sonador Publishing)

Books such as Geik’s “really put a personal experience to this whole world that we all know about, the world of New York mobsters,” said Larry Henry, author of a monthly column for the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. “The public’s appetite for mob stories is insatiable.”

“Uncle Charlie Killed Dutch Schultz” describes a tangled family tree ripe with, well, rotten apples. Geik’s father, Lou, was not actually in the mob but did reap benefits from his ties with organized crime, Alan concedes. Lou Geik was one of several individuals who delivered mob cash to Workman’s family over 23 years.

“Uncle Charlie felt indebted to my father,” said Geik.

The author’s father is cited as a source for many of the anecdotes included in the memoir. Geik said that while his father’s business relied on mob protection, Lou Geik didn’t have “that extra whatever-it-took to be a really hardened criminal” — a trait, he said, his own older brother Bernard also lacked.

“My brother always wanted to be a gangland figure,” said Alan Geik. “So, instead my brother became a policeman.”

An ultimately very corrupt policeman. Bernard Geik joined the force in 1962 and resigned in 1971 after serving in the notorious Special Investigative Unit, which, as depicted in the book and the motion picture “Prince of the City,” devolved into an extortion ring. After resigning from the NYPD, Bernard Geik was arrested for bribery and bribe-taking in 1974. He reportedly pleaded guilty but served no time. 

The disgraced detective went to work at his father’s trucking company. According to the author, his brother was one of the detectives provided by a supervisor to drive their Uncle George and other mobsters around town when they were transporting mob money in New York.

Uncle George Gordon was a real uncle. Gordon is allegedly one of the gangsters the actor George Raft modeled himself after for his roles in 1930s and ’40s crime melodramas. For decades, beginning at a casino and speakeasy near the Hudson River in midtown Manhattan, Gordon had a big hand in organized crime’s gambling operations, supervising enterprises in Florida, the Midwest, Las Vegas and Havana. 

Alan Geik isn’t the only keeper of his family’s convoluted story. His sister Iris has her own memories of growing up mob-adjacent, such as when she and her parents were Gordon’s guests at the Stardust Hotel in Vegas when the mob was running its casino and skimming cash from the profits. Gordon wanted Lou Geik to work there.

According to Iris, Gordon posted a guard outside a private room in which she had been ensconced with a couple of slot machines. The 13-year-old was “mesmerized” by the slot machines. Her mother was initially unaware of what was going on.

“Uncle Charlie” Workman, seen in 1941, pled guilty to the 1935 murder of mobster Dutch Schultz and was given a life sentence. (NYPD)

“I was having a blast,” Iris Geik said. “I’ll never forget when the door flung open and my itty-bitty mother came in with a big guard behind her. She immediately made me stop [playing with the slot machine] and give back the money I had won.”

Iris Geik, now a privacy lawyer in the Boston area, has written hundreds of pages of her own memoir about the wives and girlfriends of the Jewish gangsters, tentatively titled, “The View From the Women’s Table.”

“Their lives were complex but they were also heimische Jewish women,” she said, using the Yiddish word for cozy and familiar. She and her father eloped because they were a mixed couple: Her mother Reba was a Sephardic Jew and her father was Ashkenazi.

Geik remembered that as a child she noticed a newspaper article about a family friend being arrested. She said, “Mom! Mom! Look, we’re famous.” To which her mother replied, “That’s infamous, dear.”

Geik said that on several occasions her mother observed: “There are no second-generation Jewish mobsters. Jews don’t make gangsters out of their children.”

Reba Geik had been involved in caring for two of Iris’ aunts who lived in Brooklyn while they were dying. Those acts of kindness had a profound impact on Uncle George, the casino supervisor.

After the aunts passed away, Gordon always stood when Reba entered a room, Iris said. “My mother was very honored by that because he was such a big shot.”

Throughout her life, Reba Geik remained close to Sylvia Lorber, a friend from her teenage years. Lorber was the only mob mistress her mother would spend time with, said Iris. Lorber was the paramour of two Jewish gangsters: Benny Kassop, the brother of Murder, Inc. gunman Sammy Kassop, and Sam “Red” Levine, an observant Jew who wore a kippah under his fedora. Levine won the affection of Lorber while the Kassop brothers were in Sing Sing, the maximum-security prison in Ossining, New York. 

“Sylvia was a hell of a lot of fun but my mother worried about her,” Iris said. “Sylvia told me her stories, which were kind of glamorous when she was young but sad when she was older.” After spending 20 years with Levine, Lorber couldn’t attend his funeral. Sylvia Lorber stopped talking to Reba Geik in her last years.

Jewish gangsters do, on occasion, display some altruism in Alan Geik’s memoir. Take Moe Dalitz, the head of the Cleveland Syndicate. He was a major bootlegger during Prohibition whose flotillas of illegal liquor on the Great Lakes came to be known as The Little Jewish Navy. His family ran legitimate laundry businesses in Boston and Detroit. Too old to be drafted during World War II, he enlisted at the age of 42 and was commissioned as a lieutenant. Dalitz ran the military laundry service on New York’s Governor’s Island — but declined to bunk in the island’s barracks, opting instead to stay at a swanky hotel overlooking Central Park. 

Then there was Johnny Eder, a major source for Geik’s narrative. Eder was part of the Lower East Side teenage crime crew that included Uncle Charlie and Uncle George. As an adult he was a major fence for stolen jewelry and always had a bag of stolen rings on him. Eder also had many connections at City Hall and in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. 

According to Geik’s account, Eder was the mob’s representative to the Haganah, the Jewish paramilitary force in Palestine. Eder arranged meetings in the noisy kitchen of the Copacabana, a mob hangout, between Haganah agents and mobsters and others described as “former wartime U.S. intelligence agents” working to secure weapons for Israel’s War of Independence. (The late Teddy Kollek, Jerusalem’s longtime mayor, would tell a story about passing cash to an intermediary at the Copacabana, who brought the money to an Irish sea caption with a ship full of munitions bound for the Holy Land. The bagman, according to Kollek, was Frank Sinatra.)  

Author Alan Geik’s father-in-law, Lou Lenart, left, and other fighter pilots in front of Avia-S-199 plane. Lenart was part of the group of men transporting surplus fighter planes and other weapons to the Holy Land for use in the War of Independence. (Courtesy of Boaz Dvir)

Alan Geik has a very personal connection to the creation of the Jewish state. His late wife Nina was the daughter of Lou Lenart, a World War II fighter pilot who served in the U.S. Marines. Geik’s memoir details how the elder Lenart was part of the group of men transporting surplus fighter planes and other weapons to Palestine for use in Israel’s War of Independence. Lenart’s story was featured in Nancy Spielberg’s 2014 documentary “Above and Beyond,” about the creation of the Israeli air force. 

The story of how Jewish gangsters used some violent muscle against Nazi sympathizers in New York has been told before in historical accounts, but one episode in Geik’s memoir is particularly dramatic. A pair of Jews attended a Bund rally at Camp Siegfried on Long Island, a summer camp that taught Nazi ideology, and were offered a ride back to the city by a Nazi sympathizer who they ended up beating senseless in Brooklyn.

Alan Geik was not really hungry when he met Meyer Lansky at a Central Park hotel in the late 1950s. The gangster asked the 15-year-old nephew of George Gordon if he wanted a pastrami sandwich. Geik declined. Then Lansky, who struck Geik as an “older Jewish man who I knew was really powerful,” suggested that they split one. It was an offer that Geik did not refuse.

The post ‘Married to the Mob,’ but under a chuppah: A new memoir details a Jewish family’s crime ties 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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