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Seeking latitude to press liberal causes, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs distances itself from federations

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the onetime standard-bearer for outreach to the non-Jewish world whose influence has waned, is loosening its financial and organizational ties to the Jewish Federations of North America in a bid to reassert its traditional role.

The decision announced Monday to go it alone, announced in a press release and a two-page brochure that will go out to Jewish organizations, will free the JCPA to pursue liberal agenda items that are favored by American Jews but can alienate or unsettle donors to the federation system who are more conservative or at least more cautious about maintaining an appearance of being nonpartisan.

The decision marks a resolution to tensions that surged in 2020, when JCPA was among 600 Jewish groups to sign onto a full-page New York Times ad declaring “Black Lives Matter.” That set off alarms among some conservative donors because of the anti-Israel positions adopted by some of the Black Lives Matter movement’s leading individuals and organizations.

As a result, JCPA and JFNA entered into talks about their shared future. Insiders said last year, as tensions burst into public view, that it was likely that the ailing JCPA would fold wholly into JFNA.

Instead, after a process that included officials from both groups as well as from local Jewish community relations councils, which are mostly controlled by their local Jewish federations, the decision was to tease apart the organizations. The decision means that JCPA will no longer officially speak on behalf of the community relations councils, and also will not draw dues from them or from the 16 national organizations that have funded it up to now.

But while the group will take on a fundraising challenge, those who engineered the new structure say it will also be insulated from the difficulties of arriving at a consensus in an increasingly polarized political environment.

Rabbi Doug Kahn, the retired longtime director of the San Francisco Jewish Community Relations Council who was a consultant in the restructuring, said the new arrangement is meant to offer a positive answer to the question, “Can we move forward in a way that enables us to be more impactful on our core issues, and more nimble at the same time, while retaining close relationships with our key stakeholders going forward?”

Rori Pickler Neiss, who heads the St. Louis JCRC, was among a number of local community relations council directors who had lost hope that the JCPA could adequately represent them. Now she said, she was hopeful it could resume its role of convening a national Jewish consensus around critical issues.

“The model of consensus-building in the way that some of the mainstream organizations talk about it has really been consensus towards a very narrow group of voices that wants to claim representation of the entire Jewish community,” she said. The newly constituted JCPA “is opening itself up to what could be greater consensus in a sense of a much broader community than many of our models have allowed for.”

The brochure tied to the split indicates some of the issues on which the renewed JCPA will advocate. “JCPA will represent a strong independent voice within the American Jewish community on issues aimed at strengthening our democracy and commitment to an inclusive and just society out of the belief that such conditions are essential in a pluralistic society and for the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel,” it said. “The reset takes place against a backdrop of rising antisemitism, racism, bigotry and hate, and polarization, and continued threats to our democracy.”

The group is launching two new initiatives, both apparently likely to dismay conservatives. One would focus on “voting rights, election integrity, disinformation, extremism as a threat to democracy, and civics education.” The other would focus on “racial justice, criminal justice reform and gun violence, LGBTQ rights, immigration rights, reproductive rights, and fighting hate violence.”

Some of the 16 groups that have paid dues to the JCPA in the past are supporting the restructured group. The new JCPA will rely at first on a three-year commitment from the UJA Federation of New York, one of the biggest pillars of the JFNA.

It’s not clear yet how the more conservative among the 16 groups will react. Nathan Diament, the Washington director for the Orthodox Union, said his group would wait and see how the new JCPA develops. But he said he regretted the polarization that led to the change.

“The trajectory of that JCPA is a reflection of the of the broader trend, more than anything about the JCPA itself,” Diament said. “It’s harder to find consensus these days with regards to Israel, it’s harder to find consensus with regard to a large list of domestic policy matters. I mean, even while we were in the JCPA we were in the position of having to dissent on some prominent issues.”

David Bohm, the current JCPA chairman who led the restructuring talks, said the organization would remain nonpartisan — but acknowledged that it’s become harder to maintain the perception.

“In today’s polarized environment, people get accused of being partisan when they take a stand on any issue, so I don’t know if that can be totally avoided,” he said in an interview.

The JFNA in a statement welcomed the new configuration. “We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with JCPA — as we always have — as it tackles issues of importance to Jewish communities in its new format.”

In an interview, Elana Broitman, JFNA’s senior vice president for public affairs, said the new configuration would allow the JCPA to delve deeper on its favored issues. “If the JCPA is focused on particular issues, they can perhaps go into more depth on those issues that they had the opportunity to before,” she said.

In the past, the JCPA has taken positions on issues like voting rights, gun control, immigration rights and abortion, because they were favored by the local JCRCs with which it consulted and which sent delegates to its annual conference. Those JCRCs often initiated liberal policies, in part because they were favored by an American Jewish grassroots that polls show trends overwhelmingly liberal.

Another factor was the give and take in local community relations: Jewish groups seeking support for Jewish issues from Black, Latino, Asian American and other minority groups were happy to reciprocate on those groups’ favored issues.

But the JCPA’s profile on those issues has diminished in recent years; the smaller donor base triggered by the 2008 recession forced the vast majority of JCRCs to fold into their local federations, and to reflect the priorities of the federation donor base as opposed to the congregations, Jewish labor groups and fraternal organizations that once drove the agenda for Jewish community relations.

Tensions between the JCPA and the JFNA intensified in the summer of 2020, after a Minneapolis policeman murdered George Floyd, triggering civil rights protests and the “Black Lives Matter” ad by Jewish groups that JCPA signed onto.

The JFNA CEO, Eric Fingerhut, insiders said then, was not happy about having to explain to donors why JCPA was embracing a group identified closely with a movement perceived by some conservatives as radical and anti-Israel.

The new JCPA is betting that there are donors ready to support a progressive domestic Jewish lobby. In addition to the three-year grant from UJA-Federation, two other grants will come from a past chairwoman of the JCPA, Lois Frank, and its current chairman, Bohm.

Bohm, an attorney who assumed leadership of the JCPA in 2021, said the group would take a hit by losing the JFNA’s allocations and the dues it collects from the 125 community relations councils — but he expected to make it up with money from foundations invested in the the JCPA’s new agenda, including from individual federations.

“We expect we may lose some funding,” he said. “We’re hoping it’s not significant.”

“We are beginning to hear from foundations that have not historically necessarily focused on community relations, but now recognize why that is such an important part in the toolkit,” Kahn added.

Bohm said the board would be independent and limited to 30 people. “We will continue to have board members who are either JCRC directors or current or past chairs of JCRCs, but they will not be representing their specific community,” he said in an email after the interview. “Instead they will represent the Jewish community relations field as a whole.”

JCPA’s annual budget is now less than $2 million, Kahn said, down from nearly $4 million in 2015, and its staff has dropped from 13 in the 2000s to four. The group is seeking a fifth staffer now and hope eventually to employ at least 13.

Beyond polarization, a number of factors have been at play in diminishing the role of consensus-based Jewish community relations. There has been a flourishing of single-issue nonprofit groups, many of them Jewish, that are more attractive to donors than general interest groups.

Kahn noted that in the mid-1990s when many of the agenda items the national Jewish community pursued for decades seemed to be resolving themselves: Peace was breaking out between Israel and its neighbors, the Soviet Union collapsed and freed its Jews to travel, immigration reform was on track and race relations appeared to be improving.

“There was this shift from focusing on the external challenges or threats to more of the internal threats within the Jewish community,” he said, referring to an emphasis on Jewish education to counter assimilation.

The fragility of the hopes for peace and democratic growth in the 1990s were made evident in subsequent years with the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the eruption of the Second Intifada and the rise of nativist sentiment and its attendant bigotries, culminating in the Trump presidency.

Kahn said his hope was that the JCPA would once again assume the role it played from 1944, when it was founded as the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council: raising Holocaust awareness and taking the lead in promoting immigration in the late 1940s, establishing the Black-Jewish alliance in the 1950s, defending Israel in the 1960s, and advocating for Soviet Jewry until the USSR’s collapse.

He saw hope in the turnout of non-Jewish support for Jews after the recent deadly attacks on Jewish institutions, including the gunman who massacred 11 worshipers in Pittsburgh in 2018. “I think this model will enable that kind of solidarity-building around issues of common cause to grow infinitely greater than it’s been able to, up until now,” he said.


The post Seeking latitude to press liberal causes, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs distances itself from federations 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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Obituaries

Dr. NATHAN WISEMAN

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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