Connect with us
Seder Passover
Israel Bonds RRSP
JNF Canada


NYC public schools don’t have the final two days of Passover off next year. A petition is trying to change that.

(New York Jewish Week) – New York City educators and parents are protesting after the city announced that public schools would be open for part of Passover next year, breaking from a longstanding tradition.

The eight-day holiday has overlapped virtually every year with the city’s spring break since 1973, when Jewish teachers successfully lobbied to guarantee the alignment.

But next year, Easter and Passover are separated by three weeks, making it impossible for the city’s weeklong school recess to overlap with both of them. The school-year calendar released last Friday revealed that the NYC Department of Education had scheduled the final two days of the holiday, April 29 and 30, as school days.

Because those days are Jewish holidays, when certain activities are prohibited according to Jewish law, observant educators and students would not be able to attend. The departure from tradition has put those people in a difficult situation, in part because educators have limited flexibility to take days off under their union contract.

“I’m religious and I am required by my religion to take those days off, regardless of whether we have school or not,” Yocheved Diskind, an occupational therapist at a public school in West Harlem, told the New York Jewish Week. “So now I have to take two extra days off and I don’t get paid at all for them.”

Diskind is one of around 1,500 people to have signed a petition calling on the city to extend the spring recess to include the Passover holidays.

“At a time when the values of inclusion are under attack, respecting the full observance of the Passover holiday should not be dependent on its proximity to Easter on the calendar,” says the petition, whose first signatories are from the occupational and physical therapists’ chapter of the United Federation of Teachers. 

The pushback comes at a moment when the structure of the school year is being contested on several fronts. In a bid for inclusion, the education department has recently added holidays from multiple traditions to the school calendar — including the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha; the Chinese Lunar New Year; Juneteenth and, potentially in the future, the Hindu festival of Diwali. Depending on how each holiday falls, the new days off can put pressure on the city to meet a 180-day minimum set by state law.

At the same time, the city education department and its teachers union negotiate annually over when teachers must work, and the city’s goal is to maximize the time that teachers are required to be in the classroom. Next year’s school calendar includes 185 required workdays for educators, including 182 instructional days, leaving some in the union concerned that members are being exploited.

“They used to build in an extra two or three days: In case they had to cancel for snow days, they would still reach 180 days. But since the pandemic, snow days are all remote days,” Diskind said. “So there’s no reason to build in even an extra two days into the calendar without extra compensation.”

The city, meanwhile, says it negotiated the new calendar with the union and that the holidays that are required contractually to be days off are. About the end of Passover, Nathaniel Steyer, the DOE press secretary, told the New York Jewish Week that the union “never ever brought this up” in negotiations about the calendar.

The UFT did not respond to repeated requests for comment by press time.

There is no precedent for giving all days of Passover with a split,” Styer said in a statement. “There has been a split three times in recent memory — with the last night falling on the weekend. It is in our labor agreements that only the first two days of Passover and Good Friday are covered. Spring Recess is not in our labor contracts, but we generally attempt to cover most of Passover & Easter, when they are aligned on the calendar.”

New York City is among the rare school districts where Jewish holidays have been baked into the school-year calendar. For decades, the city had so many Jewish teachers and students that having classes on major Jewish holidays was a fool’s errand. The 1973 agreement around Passover came as the number of Jewish students and teachers was dwindling. 

Now, the district has relatively few observant Jewish students; Orthodox schoolchildren in the city almost all attend private schools. But there are significant numbers of Orthodox education department employees, including in support services such as speech and occupational therapy. (The petition notes that students who attend school on Passover might have to do so without the support of these providers.) And the expectation not to have school on major Jewish holidays has largely survived, at times resulting in quirky calendars, such as a five-day gap between the first and second days of school in 2010.

The school calendar departed from the 1973 Passover agreement only once, in 1986, according to the petition. That year, Passover and Easter were not close in time, and adding two additional days off would have taken the district below the state requirement. Teachers then were given blanket approval to take the days as personal days, the petition says. 

Diskind, the occupational therapist in West Harlem, explained that teachers could take the two days of Passover as personal days next year but would be left with only one discretionary day for the rest of the school year. They could also take time off without pay, an option that some Jewish educators exercise when other Jewish holidays fall on school days, but doing so has financial repercussions. (During the next school year, the fall Jewish holidays all land on weekends except for Yom Kippur, when schools are closed. Shavuot, the two-day spring festival, falls midweek in June.)

“Most people choose to take an unpaid day off because you generally need to use personal days for other reasons that would not be excused throughout the year,” Diskind said. “In the long term, unpaid days also require you to stay longer in order to reach your pension.”

Districts around the country have contended with how to accommodate religious observances — and not everyone believes the solution is ever to close schools at all.

David Bloomfield, an education professor who was a parent leader in New York City when his own children attended its public schools, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 2020 that he thought districts should ramp up their protections for students and teachers who miss school for religious reasons instead of trying to adjust the calendar to please everyone.

 “With the growth and sensitivity toward diversity, it’s one thing for a hermetic community to observe its traditions,” Bloomfield said. “But as we become more diverse, we have a harder time accommodating all of those important ceremonial obligations.”

“New York City is home to a diverse population, including 1.6 million Jews. People who celebrate Passover are a part of the rich fabric of our city,” says the petition. “The Passover holiday should not be an arena for givebacks and increased instructional days without compensation.”

“The proposed DOE calendar is especially disturbing in light of the increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks in recent years, particularly in New York City,” it also noted.

The number of anti-Jewish hate crimes in the first five months of the year was 100, according to data released this week by the New York Police Department, showing a 25% decline from 135 during the same period last year. Jews accounted for the victims of half of all hate crimes in the city last year and remain the most-targeted group, according to the police data; two men recently pleaded guilty to hate crimes related to a high-profile 2021 attack on a Jewish man who was beaten while walking to a pro-Israel rally. 

The post NYC public schools don’t have the final two days of Passover off next year. A petition is trying to change that. appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


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.

Continue Reading


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.  

Continue Reading



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.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News