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‘Now it’s our turn to support him’: Crowds throng funeral of Israeli-American man killed in West Bank

RA’ANANA, Israel (JTA) — Recurring bouts of laughter were some of the most remarkable moments of the funeral of Elan Ganeles, the 27-year-old Jewish American from West Hartford, Connecticut, who was shot dead this week when driving through the West Bank.

Descriptions of an incredibly kind, open minded, funny, brilliant and humble young man came in sharp contrast to calls by the official representative of the Israeli government at the funeral to avenge the death of those who harm Jews in the Land of Israel.

“No one will raise a hand against a Jew in the Land of Israel,” said the representative, Rabbi Michael Eliyahu, who serves as Israel’s minister of heritage and is a member of the far-right Jewish Power party.

The contrast played out throughout the funeral, attended by nearly a thousand people in Ra’anana, a suburb of Tel Aviv.

Friends and family members remembered Elan as a caring and unique individual who brought joy to their lives, while those who did not know the recent Columbia University graduate, who was in Israel for a friend’s wedding, framed his heartbreaking story as the latest tragedy in Israel’s decades-old conflict with the Palestinians.

As Ganeles’ brothers and friends took turns, standing before his body wrapped in a shroud and laid out before them, they alternately choked up and laughed as they told stories about his love for learning and, for his friends, his disarming frankness and his “annoyingness.”

Mourners surround the grave of Elan Ganeles, killed Feb. 27 in the West Bank, at his funeral in Raanana, March 1, 2023. (Orly Halpern)

“Elan was intelligent, curious, goofy, idiosyncratic – and most famously lovably annoying,” said Akiva Raklin, a close friend of Elan, who knew him “since birth,” as people laughed aloud. “I know calling someone annoying at their funeral is a little less than traditional, but Elan was the only person on the face of the earth for whom this characteristic was absolutely positive in every way.”

Ganeles, recalled Raklin, would pose “intrusive questions” to his closest friends, making them “blush and cringe,” but they all saw his behavior for what it was: an expression of closeness and caring. “With every comment he made, no matter how irritating it was or how uncomfortable it would make someone, it would just make them closer to him,” he said, sparking chuckles and laughs from those who clearly knew him well.

Some of Ganeles’s friends came from abroad to attend the funeral, as did his family’s rabbi from Young Israel of West Hartford, who accompanied his physician parents on their trip to Israel.

“Elan was the ultimate friend,” said Ari Zaken, his roommate from New York, recounting a conversation they had in which Ganeles pulled out a list of over 100 close friends he made sure to keep in touch with.

Ganeles, an avid learner, traveler and birdwatcher, lived a life packed with knowledge and friends.

“He completed two majors in college, only one of which he planned to use, just because he loved to learn,” said his younger brother, Gabe. “He worked two jobs simply because he had so much interest in what he could learn from both. He was our resident expert in geography, history, travel, birds. He loved trivia and made trivia games for family and friends and he was able to finish the hardest crosswords in record time.”

Gabe ended his eulogy, breaking down in sobs: “Elan was my brother, my best friend and a huge inspiration to me. And I will miss him,”

On Monday, Elan dropped Gabe off at a train station in the north and then made his way south on Route 90, which passes through the length of the West Bank, alongside the border with Jordan, on his way to attend a friend’s wedding in Jerusalem that night. On the road that goes around the city of Jericho, he was shot by a Palestinian gunman.

“I was so lucky that I got to spend the last week of his life with him,” said Gabe, recalling their trips through historical sites in Israel in the past week. ”He used his unique skill of complete unabashedness to bring people together at every chance he got,” said Gabe. “Despite his brashness, Elan was the most thoughtful person I know.”

The Ganeles family tried to avoid turning his funeral into a political event and reportedly requested TV networks not to attend the ceremony. “He’s a friend of ours, not just another victim,” said Jamie Landau, 27, who went to a five-month ulpan in August 2015 with Elan Ganeles on kibbutz Sde Eliyahu. Afterwards, both joined the Israeli army. Elan served in the Mofet Unit as a computer programmer, working on soldiers’ salaries.

Nevertheless, Heritage Minister Michael Eliyahu had a clear message: “I tell you as a minister in the state of Israel … I say, ‘we failed’ and we need to do everything so that won’t happen.” The newly appointed cabinet minister went on to call for revenge following Elan’s murder. “It’s not acceptable that a Jew who comes to this country will be scared to be here,” Eliyahu said. “And if we do have haters, may God avenge their blood and we will avenge their blood.”

As the funeral was being held, Israeli forces raided a Palestinian refugee camp adjacent to the city of Jericho, not far from where Ganeles was killed, and apprehended four Palestinians, one of them suspected of carrying out the shooting attack that killed Ganeles and the other of assisting him. Another Palestinian was killed during the raid.

People pack the funeral of Elan Ganeles, who was killed in a shooting attack in the West Bank, in (Flash90)

Hundreds of people attended the funeral, filling Ra’anana’s old cemetery to the brim. More watched from outside the cemetery walls, listening to a live feed of the eulogies on each others’ cell phones. The majority were religious and did not know Ganeles, showing up out of a sense of duty and a wish to pay respect to the slain Jewish American visiting Israel. Some marched in with large Israeli flags, giving the private funeral ceremony an air of a national event.

Elan Ganeles was raised in a Modern Orthodox family in Connecticut and attended yeshiva in Israel after graduating from high school. He then decided to stay in Israel and served for two years in the IDF before returning to the United States to attend college.

Liora Lutrin, a 15-year-old student from Amit Rananim religious girls’ high school, who made aliyah a year and a half ago, stood with her classmates singing “Our brothers of all of the House of Israel.”

“We came with our school to show respect,” said Lutrin, who had five earrings in her right ear and wore a gray T-shirt and an above-the-knee black skirt. “He sacrificed his life to come here and be a soldier in Israel and even though he didn’t die as a soldier, he supported our country and now it’s our turn to support him.”

Or Cohen, a 25-year-old student wearing sandals, who came during a lunch break from his yeshiva in Ramat Gan, said it “was the least I could do.” Cohen, originally from Otniel settlement, said, “I heard he’s a new immigrant, someone whose parents don’t live here. I came in identification with the pain of the people, to show respect for my brother, who was murdered. This is bigger than us.”

After the funeral ended, dozens of people lingered near the grave.

After the funeral of Elan Ganeles in Ra’anana, Israel, friends loitered by the grave while a beggar, a common presence at Israeli funerals, sat nearby. (Orly Halpern)

Joining them was Mordechai Goldberg, a 70-year-old religious beggar with a stained white shirt and a cheap black suit jacket, who arrived from Jerusalem to attend and to panhandle at the cemetery, a common sight in Israeli cemeteries. Goldberg entered the circle of people around his grave and began saying the Kaddish prayer. The crowd automatically answered with ‘Amen.’ When the prayer ended, he began calling for the death of Arabs. “We will all pray to God that all of the Arabs die under our feet, now,” said Goldberg as some of the people responded with ‘Amen,’ while others remained baffled by the call.

“I don’t think that would represent Elan’s opinions,” said a young religious woman with an American accent, whose eyes were red from crying, and whose brother was another of Elan’s ‘best friends.’ “He wasn’t like that,” she said.

Indeed, Elan’s uncle, Dov Ganeles told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that Elan marveled over his uncle’s friendship with an Arab colleague.

“He thought it was lovely that such a relationship could exist and be normal,” said Dov Ganeles. “He was proud of that, that that relationship could exist. It was something to cherish.”

The post ‘Now it’s our turn to support him’: Crowds throng funeral of Israeli-American man killed in West Bank 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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