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These Holocaust survivors were once classmates in a DP camp. They just reunited after 76 years.

(New York Jewish Week) — The last time Michael Epstein, 87, and Abe Rosenberg, 83, were in the same room, they were in Germany, studying in a classroom in a displaced person’s camp in Bavaria after the Holocaust.

On Sunday, March 19, the two men — along with Rosenberg’s older sister, Ada Gracin, who was also in the DP camp — reunited after 76 years. This time around, it was in the social hall of Young Israel of New Hyde Park, New York, where the pair embraced, said the Shehecheyanu prayer to mark their reunion and shared their survival stories with an in-person audience of about 100.

The reunion came together quickly, just a few weeks after the two men learned they lived less than 40 miles from one another — Rosenberg in New Hyde Park, on the eastern border of Queens, and Epstein in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Originally intended to be an intimate meeting between the two families, the reunion soon broadened to a festive brunch and celebration open to the public.  

“The Torah says it’s a mitzvah to relate what happened to us,” Rosenberg said. “Hitler’s goal was to destroy Yiddishkeit, Judaism. When we gather here, we are involved in a victory over him.”

Michael Epstein, Abe Rosenberg and Ada Gracin, left to right, stand together for the first time in 76 years after meeting as children living in a displaced person’s camp after the Holocaust. (Julia Gergely)

The two were brought together by a sharp-eyed videographer. In February, Epstein participated in an interview at a Jewish day school in Edison, New Jersey as part of the “Names Not Numbers” oral history project, which is dedicated to preserving the memories of Holocaust survivors and ensuring their legacies live on in future generations. As part of the project, high school students interview survivors about their experiences, which are filmed and made into mini-documentaries. 

During the interview, Epstein presented a photograph of himself as a 7-year-old in “cheder” or elementary school at Feldafing, an all-Jewish displaced person’s camp near Munich, where he lived from 1945 to 1949. 

As it happens, the videographer that day recognized the photograph. He had seen the same one during an interview he had filmed the prior year with another survivor — Rosenberg — who was living in Queens. When Epstein and his two daughters learned this, they knew they had to arrange a meeting.

“This is the first time I know of a reunion happening between survivors as a result of our program,” Daniel Mayer, a Names Not Numbers board member, told the New York Jewish Week. 

As for Rosenberg, when he got the call from Epstein, “it just concretized the fact that the whole experience [of Feldafing] wasn’t a dream,” he said. 

Though the two men did not specifically remember each other — Rosenberg was 8 and Epstein and Gracin were 11 at the time of the picture, taken in 1947 — at the event, they acutely recalled their lives at the DP camp. 

Rosenberg and Epstein point themselves out in the picture of their childhood classroom, taken in 1947. (Julia Gergely)

Rosenberg, for example, remembers living in Barrack Nine with his sister and parents. During the war, the Nazis used Feldafing as a training ground for Hitler Youth. In Feldafing, like at other Jewish DP camps, survivors waiting for a country that would taken them in opened Jewish schools, started newspapers, composed music and began to rebuild their identities.

“We were hoping to go to Palestine, to Eretz Yisroel — that was our dream,” Rosenberg said. “It was not available to us” under the British Mandate.  “Unfortunately, the doors of the whole world were closed to us.”

“So what did we do?” he continued. “We started to build on Jewish life again.” 

On Sunday, as the assembled crowd noshed on bagels, lox and egg salad — and other participants joined via Zoom from California, Florida, New Jersey and Canada — Epstein, Rosenberg and Gracin shared their experiences with those in attendance. 

First to speak was Epstein, who brought with him a scrapbook of pictures from his childhood. Epstein was born in Łódź, Poland, in 1935, which his family was forced to flee when Germany invaded in 1939. They went to Bialystok, which soon fell under the control of the Russians, who transported Poles and Jews to labor camps in Siberia via cattle cars. After spending time at a gulag camp in Siberia, Epstein and his family were moved to another in Uzbekistan. 

When the war ended, Epstein and his parents returned to Łódź, only to find that their entire extended family had been killed and a Polish family was living in their apartment. With nothing left for them in Poland, they left for Feldafing. They lived there until they could find a way to get to the United States, where they eventually arrived in 1945.

Epstein, who is known as Zayde to his 11 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren — many of whom were in the room — left the crowd with a message to invest in Jewish education, and to work to uphold democracy.  “We live in ‘di Goldene Medine’ (the Golden Land),” he said. “We thought, in Europe, that meant there was gold on the street. There’s no gold on the street but there is gold on paper in our Constitution, and in our Constitution there is still mining to do. There is still work to be done to make our Constitution’s morals realistic.” 

The family of Michael Epstein gathered from New York and New Jersey to celebrate his life story. Epstein, second from the right in the front row, is holding one of his five great-grandchildren. (Julia Gergely)

Rosenberg and Gracin, who spoke next, were also from Łódź. Gracin, born Ada Rosen in 1935, recalled wearing the mandated yellow Jewish star patch on her clothing as a 4-year-old. Her mother was pregnant with her brother when they left Poland for Soviet Georgia, a journey she said was “fraught with peril,” as they were stopped multiple times by the Gestapo. The family lived in Georgia for six years and “fear was a constant.”

When the war ended, the family also returned to Łódź to look for surviving family members — there were none. They connected with the Jewish Agency and HIAS, which helped them get to Feldafing in 1945.

There, “we were referred to as ‘she’arit hapletah,’ the surviving remnants,” Gracin said. “I refer to this period in my life as ‘life reborn,’ as I lost my childhood prior to this. Although we lacked many things, I never felt deprived. The survivors cherished each child as if it were their own. We were precious jewels to them, as they had lost their own children.”

“For the first time in my life, I went to school, made friends, played and laughed,” she added. “I was a happy 9 year old.”

Gracin, her brother and her parents arrived in New York Harbor on April 6, 1949. “At last we were free of fear, free to live and practice our religion and thrive,” she said. “I feel blessed to have been given this chapter in my life and my revenge to Hitler is that I was blessed with three children and six grandchildren.” Two of Gracin’s children and four of her grandchildren were at the event.

In his remarks, Rosenberg recalled the heroism of the parents, teachers and rabbis in Feldafing, many of whom had lost their entire families but made it their mission to educate the few children who made it to the camp. “They were the heroes,” Rosenberg said. “They deserve the accolades — we were kids.” It is in their honor and memory that Rosenberg continued to share his story throughout his life, he said. 

Though Epstein and Rosenberg did not stay in touch upon their respective arrivals to the United States, their lives continued to follow similar paths. Both went on to study engineering at the City College of New York and for a time both worked at Bendix Corporation, though in different departments — Epstein in the space program and Rosenberg on the supersonic transport team. 

Congregants and community members brunched on bagels and listened to the survival stories in the social hall of Young Israel of New Hyde Park. (Julia Gergely)

Chuck Waxman, a docent at the Museum of Jewish Heritage who moderated the discussion, told the New York Jewish Week he was “blown away” by the event — he said he expected less than half the room to be filled. 

But full it was, with family, friends, community members and other survivors who wanted to be a part of the miracle — both the miracle that happened in Feldafing and the miracle of the reunion in Queens. 

The event also included speeches from Mayer Waxman, executive director of Queens JCC and Torah commentaries from Lawrence Teitelman, the rabbi of Young Israel of New Hyde Park, where Rosenberg is a member, and Benjamin Yudin, the rabbi of Congregation Shomrei Torah in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, where Epstein is a member.

At the close of the event, the lyrics of “Zog nit keynmol,” the “Song of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” — which was sung by Jewish partisan groups around Eastern Europe — were passed in sheets around the room. Rosenberg heartily led everyone in Yiddish.

“We plan to meet again in another 76 years,” Rosenberg joked to the New York Jewish Week. “Everyone is invited.”


The post These Holocaust survivors were once classmates in a DP camp. They just reunited after 76 years. 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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