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The sequel to the Holocaust novel ‘Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ is here. Its author has no regrets.

(JTA) – At one point in John Boyne’s new novel “All The Broken Places,” a 91-year-old German woman recalls, for the first time, her encounter with a young Jewish boy in the Auschwitz death camp 80 years prior.

“I found him in the warehouse one day. Where they kept all the striped pajamas,” she says.

The woman, Gretel, quickly realizes her mistake: that “this was a phrase peculiar to my brother and me.” She clarifies that she is referring to “the uniforms. … You know the ones I mean.”

Boyne’s readers are, in fact, likely to know what Gretel means, as “All The Broken Places” is a sequel to Boyne’s 2006 international bestseller “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” At a time when other Holocaust books intended for young readers have been challenged or removed from some American schools, the enduring popularity of “Striped Pajamas” has conjured up love and loathing in equal measure for its depiction of Nazi and Jewish youths during the Holocaust. It has sold 11 million copies, appeared in 58 languages and in major motion picture form, and been the only assigned reading about Jews or the Holocaust for countless schoolchildren, mostly in Britain. Yet Holocaust scholars have warned against it, panning it as inaccurate and trafficking in dangerous stereotypes about Jewish weakness.

Speaking to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency from his Dublin home on Tuesday, the day “All the Broken Places” hit U.S. shelves, Boyne said he hoped readers would take his new book on its own terms — as a more sophisticated meditation on guilt, culpability and evil, for an adult audience rather than children this time. But he also wants to defend the original work that made him famous.

“I do feel it’s a positive contribution to the world and to Holocaust studies,” said Boyne, who estimates that he has personally spoken to between 500 and 600 schools about “Striped Pajamas.”

Not everyone agrees. A 2016 study published by the Centre for Holocaust Education, a British organization housed at University College London, found that 35% of British teachers used his book in their Holocaust lesson plans, and that 85% of students who had consumed any kind of media related to the Holocaust had either read the book or seen its movie adaptation.

That level of widespread familiarity with the book led many students to inaccurate conclusions about the Holocaust, such as that the Nazis were “victims too” and that most Germans were unaware of the horrors being visited upon the Jewish people, the study found.

A promotional image from the 2008 film adaptation of “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.” (Miramax)

As overall awareness of the Holocaust has decreased among young people especially, Boyne’s novel has become a casualty of its own success. Holocaust scholars in the United Kingdom and United States have decried the book, with historian David Cesarani calling it “a travesty of facts” and “a distortion of history,” and the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre in London publishing a long takedown of the book’s inaccuracies and “stereotypes.”

“With the rise in antisemitism, such as it is in this country, and that so often manifests through trivialisation, distortion and denial of the Holocaust, this book could potentially do more harm than good,” Centre for Holocaust Education researcher Ruth-Anne Lenga concluded at the end of her 2016 study.

Boyne came to the Holocaust as subject matter purely on his own, having never been taught about the history growing up in Ireland. (He attended a Catholic school, where, as he has recounted publicly, he was physically and sexually abused by his teachers.) Reading Elie Wiesel’s “Night” as a teenager, Boyne said, “made me want to understand more.”

He would read many more Holocaust books during his twenties, from Primo Levi to Anne Frank to “Sophie’s Choice,” fascinated by the sheer recency of the atrocity. “How could something that seems like it should have happened, say, 1,000 years ago — because the death count is so enormous and so horrifying — how could that happen so close to the time that I’m alive in?” he thought. “And if it could, then what’s to stop it happening again?”

That fascination led to the publication, when Boyne was 33, of “Striped Pajamas,” which he’d always conceived of as a children’s story. In the book, Bruno, the 9-year-old son of a Nazi commandant, befriends Shmuel, a Jewish concentration-camp prisoner of the same age; it ends with Bruno donning the “striped pajamas” and following his friend into the gas chambers. Further driving home the fable conceit, an initial draft included a framing device of Boyne as a character reading the story to an audience of children, before an editor advised him to cut it.

During his writing process, Boyne said he was concerned with “the emotional truth of the novel” as opposed to holding to historical accuracy, and defended much of the book’s ahistorical details — such as moving the Auschwitz guards’ living quarters to outside the camp, and putting no armed guards or electric fences between Bruno and Shmuel — as creative license. A common critique of the book, that the climax encourages the reader to mourn the death of Bruno over that of Shmuel and the other Jews in the camps, makes no sense to Boyne: “I struggle to understand somebody who would reach the end of that book and only feel sympathy for Bruno. I think then if somebody does, I think that says more, frankly, about their antisemitism than anything else.”

He also justified his decisions by reasoning that a novel like his shouldn’t be the basis for Holocaust instruction.

“I don’t think that it’s my responsibility, as a novelist who didn’t write a school book, to justify its use in education when I never asked for that to happen,” he said. “If [teachers] make the choice to use a novel in their classrooms, it’s their responsibility to make sure the children know that there is a difference between what happens in this novel and what happened in real life.”

Boyne added that he was “appalled” by a recent JTA report about a Tennessee school district removing Art Spiegelman’s graphic Holocaust memoir “Maus” from its curriculum. If teachers are choosing between teaching the two books, he said, “‘Maus’ is better, no question about that. And a much more important book.” (Earlier this year, Spiegelman himself took a swipe at “Striped Pajamas” by telling a Tennessee audience that no schools should read Boyne’s novel because “that guy didn’t do any research whatsoever.”)

“The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” John Boyne’s 2006 bestseller, has been critiqued for the way it presented the Holocaust to children. (Illustration by Grace Yagel)

For the first decade of his book’s release, Boyne would frequently receive invites to speak at Jewish community centers and Holocaust museums. He met with survivors who shared their stories with him.

Over the years, more research has been published about the book’s popularity in the classroom, which has led to more scrutiny of its factual inaccuracies. Other authors, Holocaust researchers and some educators have come out forcefully against the book’s use in the classroom. At the same time, Boyne said, his invitations to Jewish venues dried up.

The author has also been known to exacerbate the issue by sparring with his critics, even when they are respected institutions. Most infamously, in 2020, Boyne got into a Twitter feud with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, which said his Auschwitz-set book “should be avoided by anyone who studies or teaches about the history of the Holocaust.”

The back-and-forth was provoked after Boyne criticized what he saw as the crassness of more recent Holocaust novels, such as “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris. Reflecting on the spat, Boyne said of the Auschwitz memorial, “I hope that they do understand that, whether my book is a masterpiece or a travesty, that I came at it with the very best intentions.”

Boyne conceived of the sequel shortly after finishing “Striped Pajamas.” It follows Bruno’s older sister Gretel as she lives in hiding after the war and successfully conceals her Nazi upbringing all the way into the present day. A preteen during the Holocaust, Gretel becomes gradually more aware of its horrors after seeing newspaper articles and documentaries and encountering former Resistance members and Jewish descendants of survivors (including one, David, who becomes her lover without knowing her true background).

Unlike “Striped Pajamas,” “All the Broken Places” is intended for adults. It’s filled with sex, violence, suicide attempts and bad language — and also some of the details of the Holocaust that were omitted from the first book. It mentions the Sobibor death camp by name, for example, and also takes the time to correct Bruno’s childish assumptions about the death camps being a “farm.”

But it tells the story from the perspective of a German who was directly implicated in the Holocaust. Throughout, Gretel reflects on her complicity in the Nazi regime, and her self-interest in hiding from authorities in the following years rather than trying to bring people like her father to justice. Missing from the book is any serious discussion of antisemitism as an ideology, and to what extent Gretel ascribes to it — though there is plenty of hand-wringing over postwar anti-German sentiment. In one shocking moment, a former S.S. lieutenant in hiding presents Gretel with a pair of Hitler’s eyeglasses and urges her to try them on; she is terrified to discover that this excites her.

The book’s reception has been mixed. While praised by publications including Kirkus Reviews (“a complex, thoughtful character study”) and the Guardian (“a defense of literature’s need to shine a light on the darkest aspects of human nature”), the New Statesman took Boyne to task for writing an “immoral” and “shameless sequel” that further erodes the “Jewishness” of the Holocaust.

At the behest of his publisher, Boyne has included an author’s note with “All The Broken Places” alluding to criticisms of “Striped Pajamas.” “Writing about the Holocaust is a fraught business and any novelist approaching it takes on an enormous burden of responsibility,” he tells the reader. “The story of every person who died in the Holocaust is one that is worth telling. I believe that Gretel’s story is also worth telling.”

Still, “Striped Pajamas” has its Jewish defenders. One, the 24-year-old composer Noah Max, is behind a new opera adaptation of the book, to be titled “The Child in the Striped Pyjamas.” It will debut in London in January; a recent story by the U.K. Jewish Chronicle helped convince the film’s rights holder Miramax to waive a $1 million licensing fee for the project.

A great-grandson of Jews who fled Vienna when the Nazis arrived, Max told JTA he’d initially read the book “years before I was capable of absorbing testimony,” and that it inspired him to seek out actual survivor testimonies and to begin composing the opera at the age of 19. He compared its message to Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ writings on moral relativism.

“Ultimately, the book motivated me to write an opera about the Shoah and integrate Holocaust education into my music,” Max said. “Any book capable of that is worthy of attention.”

Composer Noah Max (center) rehearses for his upcoming opera adaptation of “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,” to premiere in January 2023. (Courtesy of Noah Max)

Max’s passion for “Striped Pajamas” inspired at least one Holocaust group to change its mind about its educational merits. The Holocaust Educational Trust, a London-based group that advocates British educators on how to teach the Holocaust, had as recently as 2020 declared that “we advise against using” the book in the classroom.

But following what Max described as “richly fulfilling conversations” about “the story’s symbolic and artistic worth,” the trust fully endorsed the opera and, he said, has begun to rethink its view of the book. (The group did not respond to a JTA request for comment.)

Even with 16 years of hindsight and the chance to rethink his bestseller, Boyne said he wouldn’t change anything. Reflecting on his youthful audience, he said, “If they weren’t reading ‘Striped Pajamas,’ it’s more likely they would be reading something that has no relevance to this subject at all.”

The post The sequel to the Holocaust novel ‘Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ is here. Its author has no regrets. 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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