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This Upper West Side appetizing shop stands apart by standing still

(New York Jewish Week) — Paul Klausner, a native Upper West Sider, has clear memories of shopping with his mother as a young boy at Murray’s Sturgeon Shop, a store on Broadway and 89th Street known for smoked fish. In Klausner’s family, when it came to buying lox and all the fixings, Murray’s was the place.

Now, some 60 years later, Klausner is still a devoted fan. Although he no longer lives in Manhattan, his beloved Murray’s remains very much the same as the Murray’s of his childhood — in fact, little has changed there since it first opened in 1946. As for Klausner, he and his wife, April Stewart Klausner, keep their freezer in Litchfield County, Connecticut, stocked with Murray’s sliced center-cut nova, which they pick up whenever they are in the city.

In the changing retail world now dominated by chain stores and online shopping, Murray’s is a unicorn. Even among other renowned, longstanding New York appetizing stores like Barney Greengrass, Zabar’s and Russ & Daughters, Murray’s stands apart by standing still. Except for one short move in the 1940s — half a block uptown to its present location — it has always occupied the same tiny piece of real estate. Throughout its 77 years of existence, Murray’s has never expanded its brick and mortar store, nor have its owners opened an adjacent restaurant or cafe. It is a small, narrow slip of a shop, more similar in size to a subway car than a food emporium.

“We are one of the oldest continually running stores on Broadway,” said 65-year-old Ira Goller, the third owner of the shop. “There is nothing else like this anywhere.”

Numerous aspects make Murray’s stand out — the lack of in-store seating, for one, as well as the care in which every customer’s order is hand-filled. Varieties of smoked fish are sliced with surgeon-like precision — so finely that each piece is practically transparent — and, perhaps most notably, said fish is wrapped, origami-like, in heavy white waxed paper, never plastic.  Wax paper “absorbs any oils and grease,” said Goller. “If you put the appetizing in a little plastic bag, it is not fresh in a day or two.”

At Murray’s, the smoked fish is still sliced by hand and wrapped in wax paper. (Talia Siegel)

Stewart Klausner describes the shop as “stepping into a time machine where there’s a real connection between merchant and customer.” The countermen, who greet each customer warmly, have all been at Murray’s for at least 10 years. Ecuador-born, Yiddish-speaking Oscar Leon, whom Goller considers his right-hand man, is now in his 45th year. “It’s a family here,” Leon told the New York Jewish Week.

Even the decor is nearly the same as it always was: stainless-steel refrigerators and counters, mirrored side wall, tilework from the 1940s. Of course, over the years, there’s been some nods to modernity: A clock that hangs on the back wall was installed in the 1960s, and somewhere along the way, air conditioning was installed. These days, Murray’s has an online presence — and the store takes many phone orders, especially since the pandemic — but about half of its business is from people who walk in, Goller said.

One regular customer is 54-year old baker Jen Daniels. “Despite the fact that it is actually kind of old, it is immaculate,” Daniels told the New York Jewish Week. “You could eat off the floor there, it is so clean.”

Goller, who previously worked as a Wall Street commodities analyst, bought the store in 1990 from Artie Cutler, founder and owner of several popular Upper West Side eateries, including Artie’s Deli, Ollie’s Noodle Shop and Carmine’s Italian Restaurant. Cutler took over Murray’s in 1974 from the original owners and founders, brothers Sam and Murray Bernstein.

In passing the torch, Cutler stipulated that Goller would find a partner with experience in the food business. There was also an understanding that nothing would be changed in the first year.

After that 12-month learning period, Goller untethered himself from his partner and got to work making a few — just a few! — changes, with an eye on the bottom line. “I had notes to pay, mortgages to pay, mouths to feed,” Goller recalled. No longer would the store be closed on Mondays, as were so many of the stores on Broadway in the 1980s, when Monday was considered the slowest day of the week. Going forward, Murray’s would be open 363 days a year — the store closes only on the first day of Rosh Hashanah and on Yom Kippur.

Although previous owners shut the store during the eight days of Passover, Goller decided to keep it open, and even to sell bagels over the holiday, during which the consumption of bread is forbidden. Goller said he knew he made the right decision when a longstanding customer came in during Passover, wagged his finger at him for selling bagels — and then purchased a dozen.

All of the fish is smoked according to Goller’s specifications in a local smokehouse; the soups and salads are made in house. The food emerges from the tiny kitchen at the rear of the long, narrow shop. It’s not much to speak of: There’s a walk-in refrigerator — for storing pickles; matjes, schmaltz and pickled herring, coleslaw and smoked fish — and a 36-inch electric Garland oven with four burners, used for making soups made from recipes passed on to Goller by his mother-in-law. The crumb cake, baked apples and dairy noodle pudding are baked in that single oven. You won’t even find a dishwasher —  everything is hand washed.

While waiting for their orders, customers might overhear the sound of music — what’s perceived as a steady beat is actually the sound of onions being hand-chopped. What you won’t hear is the sound of a food processor: When making whitefish salad, the cooks use tweezers to pluck out the bones from the smoked fish, then crush it by (gloved) hands so that chunks of fish remain in the finished product.

All the salads at Murray’s are made in-house. (Talia Siegel)

Perhaps the biggest change Goller made was in 1995, when he decided to add sliced deli meats to Murray’s menu. “You would have thought I shot the pope,” he joked. “It was the first thing I did that caused an uproar.” The kerfuffle eventually died down, and now, alongside creamed herring, lox and Waldorf salad, items like sliced roast beef and turkey breast are available. All of the meat is kosher and sliced on a dedicated meat slicer so that, in deference to the laws of kosher food, there is no mixing of meat and dairy. (There is no ritual oversight in the store other than Goller, who takes the kashrut of the place seriously.)

But you don’t have to keep kosher — or even be Jewish — to love Murray’s. ”When I first came here, 95% of the customers were Jewish,” Goller told the New York Jewish Week. “Now it’s probably 70%.”

He credits Russ & Daughters, in part, for this expansion of Ashkenazi appetizing foods into the general, and younger, population. “Russ & Daughters has introduced people to bagels, lox and cream cheese,” he said. “Exposure of this type is good for everybody.”

The post This Upper West Side appetizing shop stands apart by standing still 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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