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Mike Pence and the Jews: What to know as he begins a presidential campaign

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Until the Jan. 6 insurrection, Mike Pence made sure to stay on the same page as Donald Trump — except, sometimes, when it came to the Jews. 

Both men delighted the pro-Israel establishment — Trump by fulfilling a long wishlist of Israel’s right-wing government, Pence by proving himself as a stalwart Christian Zionist through years in elected office. But just weeks after Trump assumed office, the difference in how each man approached Jewish anxieties was already stark. 

Jewish community centers and other Jewish institutions were getting bomb threats, and a Jewish journalist asked the president what he planned to do about antisemitism. Trump lashed out, accusing the reporter of lying and quipping, “Welcome to the world of the media.”

A week later, Jews in St. Louis were reeling after a vandal knocked over over 150 tombstones in a Jewish cemetery. Pence was in town and took the opportunity to condemn the bomb threats and the vandalism as “a sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.” Then, he headed over to the cemetery, picked up a rake and helped clean up the mess.

Pence’s bid is the longest of shots. He polls in the low single digits, while Trump leads in the polls. The former president routinely depicts Pence as a traitor for not trying to hand him the election when Pence presided over the certification of the electoral vote on Jan. 6, 2021. Pence, meanwhile, has said Trump’s behavior that day endangered his family. If Pence does succeed in unseating his old boss, it will be because he’s tapped into a deep thirst among some Republicans for a more conventional candidate to wean the party off Trump. 

No matter how he does in the race, here’s what you need to know about Mike Pence and the Jews.

He has been pro-Israel from the get-go

First elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as an Indiana Republican in 2000, Pence made clear from the outset that defending Israel was among his priorities.

“My support for Israel stems largely from my personal faith,” he told Congressional Quarterly in 2002. “God promises Abraham, ‘those who bless you, I will bless, and those who curse you, I will curse.’”

In his autobiography published last year, “So Help me God,” he credits his interest in Israel and in Jewish issues to his late sister-in-law, Judy, “an elegant, sophisticated young woman from a prominent Jewish family in Milwaukee” who married his brother, Thomas, “a pickup-driving, dirt bike-riding, banjo-playing country boy from southern Indiana.” Pence wrote, “She made him a better man.”

For years, he has placed a quote from the Biblical book of Jeremiah above the fireplace in his personal and then his official residences — in the governor’s mansion in Indiana and then in the vice president’s residence in Washington, D.C: “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope, and a future.”

“They’re words to which my family has repaired to as generations of Americans have done so throughout our history, and the people of Israel through all their storied history have clung,” Pence told a conference of Christians United for Israel in 2017.

In Congress, Pence took the lead in advancing pro-Israel legislation, especially in defending the barrier Israel built cutting through portions of the West Bank to shield Israel and some of its settlements from terrorist attacks. Together with Rep. Ron Klein, a Florida Democrat, and the late Tom Lantos, a California Democrat who was the only Holocaust survivor elected to Congress, he co-founded the House’s antisemitism task force. 

Lantos, Pence said in his autobiography, had a profound influence on him. “He and I almost always disagreed on politics, but I was always inspired by his moral clarity and courage,” he wrote. Klein now chairs the Jewish Democratic Council of America.

As Indiana governor in 2016, Pence enacted the first state law banning state business with firms that support the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement targeting Israel, known as BDS. The bill also applied to businesses that boycott Israel’s settlements — one of the first pieces of legislation to erase the line between Israel and the West Bank.

Later that year, the Republican Jewish Coalition effusively praised Pence’s selection as Trump’s running mate, calling him “a critical leader and important voice regarding Israel during his time in the House and as governor.”

He attended every policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee during the Trump administration; Trump avoided all of them.

His evangelical beliefs shape his domestic policy

One of the most prominent issues of the 2024 election will be abortion, following the Supreme Court’s repeal of Roe v. Wade last year. The decision gave states the authority to determine reproductive rights and led to the swift narrowing of abortion access in many states. On abortion and other issues including LGBTQ rights, Pence departs from most of the Jewish community, where support for abortion access and LGBTQ issues are high. 

A number of Republicans — chief among them Trump — believe that the party should take the win and not pursue further abortion restrictions, arguing that the decision last year contributed to Republican losses in the midterm elections.

Not Pence: he wants to ban abortion nationwide. “Having been given this second chance for life, we must not rest and must not relent until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the land,” he said after the court’s decision.

Pence also has a long career of opposing LGBTQ rights. When he was governor, he sought to exempt Indiana from a Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex marriages. As a congressman, he opposed funding for outreach to HIV patients that he said promoted gay lifestyles. (His handling of an HIV outbreak in Indiana is understood to have worsened it.)

As Indiana governor in 2015, Pence signed one of the most far-reaching state laws allowing businesses to decline to serve LGBTQ customers. Businesses threatened to boycott the state, and he soon signed modified legislation that increased protections for LGBTQ people. 

Months later, Pence was facing questions about why he pushed through the law from the Republican Jewish Coalition, a group that trends moderate on social issues and whose director said members had “a lot of questions” about the legislation. His tone was apologetic. “Ultimately we adopted a few reforms and made it clear this was a shield, not a sword,” he said of the bill.

He was the Trump administration’s top trauma whisperer for the Jews

During his time as vice president, Pence was often the favored spokesman when tragedy befell the Jews. 

In 2018, at a Trump administration religious freedom event, Pence singled out the threats of violence faced by Jews in Europe, including in countries seen as allies by Trump.

“While religious freedom is always in danger in authoritarian regimes, threats to religious minorities are not confined to autocracies or dictatorships,” he said “They can, and do, arise in free societies, as well — not from government persecution but from prejudice and hatred.”

The same year, he said he was “sickened and appalled” at Nazi graffiti on an Indiana synagogue he knew well. 

In 2019, he and his wife visited the Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, after a deadly attack by a white supremacist. “We had to come,” he told the rabbi.  

The same year, he toured Auschwitz and the next year, he attended the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial.  

Some efforts to mark Jewish tragedy went awry. In 2018, when Pence marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Jewish figures chided him for imbuing Christian imagery in his celebration of Israel’s founding in the wake of the Holocaust. “A few days ago, Karen & I paid our respects at Yad Vashem to honor the 6 million Jewish martyrs of the Holocaust who 3 years after walking beneath the shadow of death, rose up from the ashes to resurrect themselves to reclaim a Jewish future,” he said on Twitter.

It was not the last time a Pence event would bring Christian themes into Jewish mourning. Pence was scheduled on Oct. 29, 2018, to campaign in Michigan for a Jewish Republican running for Congress, Leah Epstein. 

Two days earlier, a gunman massacred 11 Jewish worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, the worst-ever attack on Jews in U.S. history. Epstein invited a Messianic Jewish leader to deliver a prayer. Messianic Jews, who call their spiritual leaders rabbis, believe in the divinity of Jesus, and Jewish groups took offense. That led Pence’s folks to scramble to tell reporters that he was unaware that the rabbi was not, in fact, Jewish.

Pence was not among the many Trump administration figures and supporters who urged the president to walk back his “very fine people on both sides” equivocation after a neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 in which a counter-protester was killed. The vice president defended his boss: “I stand with the president,” he said when asked about Trump’s statements.

Trump-Pence vs. Trump

Pence, increasingly at odds with his former boss since their Jan. 6, 2021, falling-out, has a unique way of distinguishing Good Trump from Bad Trump: He portrays the administration’s wins as “Trump-Pence” policies, while the not-so-salutary stuff is Trump’s alone. 

That dynamic was in evidence last November at the annual conference of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas, when Pence was among an array of presidential prospective candidates to speak, including DeSantis, Nikki Haley and Trump himself.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem? “Trump-Pence.” “It was the Trump-Pence administration that kept our word to the American people and our most cherished ally, when we moved the American embassy to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the state of Israel,” Pence said.

As for Trump’s false claims that he won the 2020 election? Pence didn’t directly name the former president, but differentiated himself from him.

“The American people must know that our party keeps our oath to the Constitution even when political expediency may suggest that we do otherwise,” Pence said then. “We must be the leaders to keep our oath even when it hurts.”

Will he get Jewish funding?

Until filing papers on Monday, Pence’s main vehicle for fundraising has been a 501(c)4, a political advocacy group that is not required to reveal donors or extensive financial information. Advancing American Freedom has said its aim is to raise tens of millions of dollars to promote Pence’s favored conservative causes.

Now that he’s in the race, it will be interesting to watch where Pence draws Jewish support. One clue may be in a plane ride: Last year, Pence went on a campaign style tour of Israel and Ukraine. Loaning him the plane was Miriam Adelson, the widow of casino magnate and Republican kingmaker Sheldon Adelson. 

Adelson has since said she’s not planning to get involved in the GOP primaries.

The post Mike Pence and the Jews: What to know as he begins a presidential campaign 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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