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Meet the Jewish teens whose social media experience is better than you think

This article was produced as part of JTA’s Teen Journalism Fellowship, a program that works with Jewish teens around the world to report on issues that affect their lives.

(JTA) — At the SAR High School, an Orthodox Jewish day school  in Riverdale, New York, teens participate in anti-harassment training every fall. Students listen carefully as faculty list the dangers of TikTok, the potential social isolation resulting from excessive social media use, and the negative implicit messaging — both Jewish and otherwise — that often pervades these platforms. 

Yet for many Jewish teens and young adults, social media provides the opposite effect by furnishing them with a voice, community and alternate avenues for exploring identity. 

Olivia Fertig, a student at the Orthodox Ramaz High School in Manhattan, acknowledges that social media might tempt her to one-up someone with a better post or photo, but she also feels connected to the people whose posts she comments on or likes. “Social media allows me to interact with other Jews and come across Jewish content which teaches me more about how other Jews live,” she said.

Despite the risks involved, 35% of teens use YouTube, Tiktok, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook “almost constantly.” Movies and podcasts from Jewish community leaders warn of the dangers of social media “overuse” and its ravaging effects on teen mental health and cognition. “Teen mental health is plummeting, and social media is a major contributing cause,” the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt told Congress in 2022, citing adolescent mood disorders, self-harm and suicide rates.

But for some observant Jewish teens, social media provides the connection for them to be their authentic selves and learn from others.

Ilana Gadish, a member of the Judaic faculty at SAR High School, highlights the benefits of social media. “When teens, especially Jewish teens, are struggling with personal issues — whether it’s Jewish identity, sexuality, gender identity, relationships or complicated relationships that might be possibly dangerous — social media has so many accounts out there that help teens and adults navigate spaces where people can feel connected to others that aren’t in their life going through the same thing as them,” she said, while acknowledging that social media shouldn’t be the only way young people connect.  

For teen content creators like Tali, who asked that only her first name be used to protect her safety and her family from antisemitism, TikTok helps her explore Jewish identity without the constraints of her real-world Orthodox community. As a self-described “practicing, religious” teen, she creates mainly Jewish content with an overarching aim of exploring sensitive Jewish issues that might otherwise remain unspoken. Specifically, she focuses on the place of women in Orthodox Judaism and seeks to raise awareness of sexual assault in Orthodox Jewish communities. 

In one video, she highlighted the case of a student who had been the victim of sexual abuse, whose identity was kept anonymous. The video provided explicit support for the victim and showed “her that she wasn’t alone.” The video, which has 30,000 views on TikTok, led to a partnership between Tali and Za’akah, an organization that fights child sex abuse in the Orthodox community.

“Learning about Judaism online gives you everyone’s perspective on it, not just your school’s or your community’s,” Tali said. TikTok introduced her to “topics that are considered  taboo and generally not taught in school, like the laws of sex in Judaism etc.”  

This openness may be perceived as dangerous by various community leaders but also as liberating by young social media users. “Social media gives me the freedom to express it [Judaism] however I want without restrictions from community or school etc.,” Tali said. “In certain circles you will be ostracized for voicing certain opinions.” On TikTok she is able to find a peer group that is accepting of her views. 

TikTok also gives her the opportunity to learn about a diverse range of Jews, including Rabbi Seth Goldstein, a Reform rabbi whose popular TikTok videos explain Judaism through pop culture. His beliefs differ from her Modern Orthodox upbringing and allow her to gain a better understanding of his liberal denomination.

Some haredi Orthodox communities, including a number of Hasidic movements, have called for its members to disconnect from social media entirely. In the summer of 2022, two rallies organized by Orthodox rabbis specifically urged Jewish women and teens to rid themselves of these platforms, saying they encourage impure thoughts and gossip. 

And some teens, even among the less insular Modern Orthodox, share this pessimistic view of social media. Jacob Prager, a sophomore at SAR High School, does not have a smartphone and does not use social media. “For the people who say that social media brings them happiness that can actually be dangerous because that’s the only way that you seek to find confirmation and love,” he said. He used to have an Instagram account for school but gave it up when he started getting addicted and didn’t have time to do things he enjoys, like crossword puzzles. “Now that I don’t use it as much I think my mental health is so much better and I’m able to do stuff that I really love,” he said. 

Yet other teens say the good of social media outweighs the negative effects.

A recent study found that a majority of teens, like Tali, credit social media for “deepening connections” rather than fracturing them. Rachel SJ, an LGBTQ actor and content creator who asked to be referred to by their professional name, uses social media to make purposeful bonds with other Jewish creators on these platforms. “There’s something really wonderful about having a wider trans Jewish community, we’re able to share resources, get each other’s more niche jokes, and learn from each other,” they said. 

Rather than suppressing Jewish and other identities, social media provides a unique set of tools for self-expression and authenticity for Rachel and other members of Jewish Tiktok.

As a nonbinary practicing Jew, Rachel also uses their account to make connections and interact with a much wider audience than would be possible on a local level. “I have made so many incredible connections through Jewish TikTok, it almost feels undervaluing to call them just ‘connections,’” Rachel said. “Many of them have become friends, confidants, and support.” 

Rachel met @amaditalks, another Jewish creator who uses ze as a pronoun, through TikTok. “I really appreciate the compassion and humor ze brings to our conversations beyond content, but also about what’s going on in the world and our lives,” they said.

Rachel says these connections would not have been possible in any single community or real-world location. “Sure shared experiences/culture/belief/values etc brought us together but we don’t live in the same place, we very likely wouldn’t have ever met,” they said. “These community members are able to look to each other to talk through it, get input, respond, and stand up together.”

The post Meet the Jewish teens whose social media experience is better than you think appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Comparing European, American, and French Roulette at Canadian online casinos

Roulette is the most popular table game at online and land-based casinos alike. You can easily find a seat at the table, place your bets, and hope that the wheel turns in your favour. But you have surely noticed that the roulette section is quite rich, featuring at least a dozen different tables. Most of them come with a different design and different rules. The most popular roulette variants are American Roulette, European, and French Roulette. In this article, we will try to explain the main differences between each one.

French VS European Roulette

We’ll first compare the French versus the European version of roulette since they are the most similar. The layout of the bets and the wheel is basically the same. Even the table layout is pretty much the same at most online casinos. Depending on the provider some differences can be found, like the layout of the table or the order of the numbers of the wheel. But as far as the odds and gameplay are concerned, European and French Roulette are basically the same. 

Both roulette variants have a single 0 on the board and the same number of slots on the wheel and numbers on the table. There are 36 additional numbers you can bet on, along with the standard Red or Black and Odd or Even bets. This means both games come with a house edge of 2.7%. So, the only difference comes from the introduction of two basic rules in French Roulette. 

  • La Partage
  • En Prison

La Partage

This rule applies to even money bets, and in case the ball lands on the 0 slot. The term comes from the French word which means to divide. All even money bets are divided into half, and the player gets one half, while the other half goes to the house. This rule works greatly in your favour, especially if you’re playing on higher bets. 

En Prison

The En Prison bet is also applied to even money bets and only when the ball lands on 0. Instead of counting as a loss, the bets are held on the table for the following spin, and if you win, you get your bet back. Even though you don’t actually win anything extra, the En Prison rule gives you a chance to get your money back without a loss. 

The introduction of these rules lowers the house edge on French Roulette down to 1.35%. This is why many players prefer the French version, as the odds are better for the player. 

French VS American Roulette

The main and pretty much only crucial difference between American and French roulette is the 00 and the layout of the slots on the wheel. The added 00 on the American version means that the house edge is higher. It climbs up to 5.26%, which is almost double the house edge on European Roulette and a massive difference from the 1.35% on the French version. 

Since there is an added 00 number, the layout of the slots on the wheel is different. On the table, the 00 is next to the 0, so it doesn’t make a big difference to the layout of the table. But the rules in American roulette are quite simple. If your number doesn’t come up, you lose the bet. There are no extra rules like in the French version. 


If you go by the odds alone, it turns out that the best roulette variant to play at Canadian online casinos is French roulette. But this doesn’t mean you will lose more when you play American or European Roulette. Many players prefer to play the American wheel as it’s faster and more exciting. With the right strategy and some luck on your side, you can easily make a profit on any type of roulette game. 

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Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism

niversity of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram

University of California, Santa Barbara student body president Tessa Veksler on Feb. 26, 2024. Photo: Instagram – “Never would I have imagined that I’d need to fight for my right to exist on campus,” laments Shabbos Kestenbaum, a student at Harvard University who is suing the school because “antisemitism is out of control.”

Jewish students have suffered an unrelenting explosion of hate on American higher education campuses—so far with little relief. They have endured antisemitic rhetoric, intimidation, cancellation and violence. But those charged with keeping campuses safe—whether administrators who govern student and faculty behavior or federal agencies responsible for ensuring that schools adhere to civil rights protections—are failing in their jobs.

Many Jewish students have complained to their colleges’ administrators about the injustices. But instead of responding with measures to ensure Jewish students’ safety—like stopping pro-Hamas protestors from hijacking campuses or expelling militants who incite Jew-hatred— administrators have largely shown indifference. In some cases, college authorities have made things worse for Jewish students by appeasing the riotous, pro-Hamas mobs who have been primary perpetrators of Jew-hatred on campus.

Snubbed by college administrators, Jewish students and their supporters have appealed for federal protection, filing Title VI complaints with the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the body tasked with enforcing protections under the Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, the OCR, which has the power to levy severe financial punishments against colleges that neglect students’ Title VI rights, has so far rewarded negligent universities with little more than slaps on the wrist.

Until college and university boards of trustees begin hiring administrators committed to Jewish students’ safety—and until the OCR begins seriously punishing antisemitic perpetrators—we can expect no respite. Safe to say, colleges and universities run by arrogant, apathetic administrators will not change until their jobs and schools’ survival are threatened.

College/university administrators don’t take antisemitism seriously. Their reactions to Jewish students raising concerns about Jew-hatred range from indifference to outright hostility. For example, when Mohammed Al-Kurd, who the Anti-Defamation League says has a record of “unvarnished, vicious antisemitism,” came to speak at Harvard, Shabbos Kestenbaum and other Jewish students complained to administrators.

Rather than cancel Al-Kurd’s appearance, which would have been the appropriate action, the administrators ignored the students’ complaints. “Harvard’s silence was deafening,” Kestenbaum wrote in Newsweek. Kestenbaum said he “repeatedly” expressed concerns to administrators about the antisemitism he experienced, but as his lawsuit alleges, “evidence of uncontrolled discrimination and harassment fell on deaf ears.”

Administrators at Columbia University reacted to Jewish students’ complaints about antisemitism even more cynically. In fact, during an alumni event, several administrators exchanged text messages mocking Jewish students, calling them “privileged” and “difficult to listen to.”

When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) asked the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania if calling for genocide against Jews violated their schools’ codes of conduct, none could say “yes.” The presidents of Harvard and UPenn have since resigned. Good riddance.

Some college/university administrators have outrageously granted concessions to pro-Hamas students. For instance, Northwestern University agreed to contact potential employers of students who caused campus disruptions to insist they be hired, create a segregated dormitory hall exclusively for Middle Eastern, North African and Muslim students, and form a new investment committee in which anti-Zionists could wield undue influence. Brown University agreed to hold a referendum on divestment from Israel in October.

Similar appeasements were announced at other colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Johns Hopkins, the University of Minnesota and the University of California Riverside.

So far, OCR has failed to take concrete action against antisemitism on campus. This is evident in recent decisions involving the City University of New York (CUNY) and the University of Michigan. CUNY was ordered to conduct more investigations into Title VI complaints and report further developments to Washington, provide more employee and campus security officer training, and issue “climate surveys” to students.

The University of Michigan also committed to a “climate survey,” as well as to reviewing its case files for each report of discrimination covered by Title VI during the 2023-2024 school year and reporting to the OCR on its responses to reports of discrimination for the next two school years.

Neither institution was penalized financially, even though the Department of Education has the power to withhold federal funds, which most colleges and universities depend on. There are now 149 pending investigations into campus antisemitism at OCR. If these investigations yield toothless results similar to those of CUNY and Michigan, it is highly unlikely that colleges and universities will improve how they deal with antisemitism.

Putting an end to skyrocketing antisemitism on campus involves three things.

First, donors and governments at every level should withhold funds from colleges that fail to hire administrators who will take antisemitism as seriously as they take pronoun offenses or racism directed at people of color.

Second, the OCR must mete out serious consequences to Title VI violators in the form of funding cuts. This may require legislation that specifically mandates withdrawing funding from offending parties. A bill recently introduced by Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.)—the University Accountability Act—may be ideal, as it is designed to financially penalize institutions that don’t crack down on antisemitism.

Third, if OCR won’t act, Jewish students and their supporters should turn to the courts. Lori Lowenthal Marcus, the legal director of the Deborah Project, a public-interest Jewish law firm, argues that the CUNY settlement demonstrates the futility of going to OCR and that going to court is more likely to produce “a clearly delineated and productive result,” such as punitive and compensatory fines. As of late May, at least 14 colleges and universities are facing lawsuits over their handling of antisemitism on campus since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre.

As long as college administrators are allowed to ignore antisemitism on campus and as long as OCR and other government institutions fall short in punishing Jew-hatred, antisemitism will continue to plague Jewish students.

The post Universities Must Be Forced to Address Antisemitism first appeared on

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Candace Owens Claims US ‘Being Held Hostage by Israel,’ Suggests Zionists Killed JFK

Candace Owens speaks at CPAC on March 2, 2023. Photo: Lev Radin via Reuters Connect

Political commentator Candace Owens claimed on Friday that the US is being held “hostage” by Israel and suggested that AIPAC, the foremost pro-Israel lobbying organization in the US, was behind the assassination of former US President John F. Kennedy.
“It seems like our country is being held hostage by Israel,” Owens, a right-wing provocateur, said during the opening segment of her YouTube show, where she interviewed far-left commentator Briahna Joy Gray.
“I’m going to get in so much trouble for that. I don’t care,” Owens lamented.
Gray, who was the guest for this episode, was recently fired from The Hill‘s TV show, Rising, after aggressively cutting off and rolling her eyes at the sister of an Israeli hostage who said that Hamas sexually assaulted women during the terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel and that people should believe those women. Gray, who claimed her firing was politically motivated, had repeatedly cast doubt on the sexual violence perpetrated against Israeli women during the Hamas-led onslaught.
However, Owens said that part of the reasons she was addressing the subject was that people were being fired because they were “not happy … when an innocent Palestinian kid dies” or for “critiquing a foreign nation.”
Also on Friday’s show, Owens claimed US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) was “wading into some dangerous waters” when, during an interview with host Tucker Carlson, he spoke about how effective the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is at lobbying members of Congress and suggested the group should have to register as a foreign agent that is acting on behalf of Israel.
The reason it was dangerous, Owens said, was because “we know there was once a president that wanted to make AIPAC register, and he ended up shot … so Thomas Massie better be careful.”
Owens was referencing the fact that Kennedy wanted the American Zionist Council, a lobby group, to register as a foreign agent. However, there is no evidence the group had anything to do with Kennedy’s assassination.
Owens and The Daily Wire, which was co-founded by conservative and Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro, parted ways after Owens flirted with antisemitic conspiracy theories for a number of months, especially following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war.
“In all communities there are gangs. In the black community we’ve got the Bloods, we’ve got the Crips. Well, imagine if the Bloods and the Crips were doing horrific things, murdering people, controlling people with blackmail, and then every time a person spoke out about it, the Bloods and the Crips would call those people racist,” Owens said while still at The Daily Wire. “What if that is what is happening right now in Hollywood if there is just a very small ring of specific people who are using the fact that they are Jewish to shield themselves from any criticism. It’s food for thought, right? … this appears to be something that is quite sinister.”
Additionally, after getting into a spat with an outspoken and controversial rabbi, Shmuley Boteach, she said, “Are you going to kill me? Are you going to kill me, because I refuse to kowtow to you, and I think it’s weird that you and your daughter are promoting and selling sex toys, that’s why I deem you an ‘unholy rabbi?’”
“You gross me out. You disgust me. I am a better person than you, and I do not fear you,” Owens continued.
The list of controversial incidents involving Owens continued to grow longer with time. In one case, she “liked” an X/Twitter post that promoted the antisemitic “blood libel.” The post read, in response to Boteach, “Rabbi, are you drunk on Christian blood again?”
The “blood libel” is a medieval anti-Jewish slur which falsely claims that Jews use the blood of non-Jewish children in their religious rituals.

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