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Warsaw Ghetto Uprising’s 80th anniversary remembered with daffodils, 3 presidents and an 11th commandment against ‘indifference’

WARSAW (JTA) — Exactly 80 years ago, a few hundred ragtag, half-starved Jews emerged from sewers in Warsaw to battle Nazis – and held them off for nearly a month rather than surrender themselves and their Jewish brethren to the Treblinka and Majdanek death camps. 

On Wednesday, thousands of Poles and international visitors, including Polish President Andrzej Duda, Israeli President Issac Herzog and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, marked the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in a stirring Holocaust commemoration festooned with daffodils, the emergent symbol of the largest Jewish rebellion against the Nazis during World War II.

“As German federal president, I stand before you today and bow to the courageous fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto,” Steinmeier told a few hundred politicians, Jewish leaders and others at the Ghetto Heroes Monument, marking the first time a German president has joined in the annual commemoration. “I stand before you today and ask for your forgiveness for the crimes committed here by Germans.”

This was also the first time leaders from all three countries came together for the official uprising ceremony to commemorate the fighters, none of whom are alive today. The last surviving fighter, Simcha Rathajzer-Rotem, also known as Kazik, died in December 2018. A handful of Warsaw Ghetto survivors who were not old enough to join the fighting remain, according to Holocaust scholars.

In another first, the three heads of state attended a commemorative service led by Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schdurich at Warsaw’s Nozyk Synagogue. By the end of the ceremony, which was conducted mostly in Hebrew and featured Polish-Jewish children singing the Polish and Israeli national anthems, many attendees had tears in their eyes.

“I just thought, the leaders are here, this is something we should do, it’s part of building relationships and collective memory that partnerships are built on,” Schudrich told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. 

Earlier in the day, Polish President Duda called the fighters “the heroes of the Jews all over the world” and “the heroes of Poland and the Poles.” 

Herzog, a day after Yom Hashoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, praised the fighters for sparking hope during one of humanity’s most tragic times. “In a world falling apart, in the shadow of death, under conditions of humiliation, famine, and forced labor, in the ghettos… they succeeded — mothers, fathers, children, grandfathers, and grandmothers — in upholding human morality, mutual responsibility, faith and basic humanity,” he said. 

From left to right: German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Israeli President Issac Herzog hold hands before the 80th anniversary commemoration of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, in front of the city’s Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, April 19, 2023. (German Government Press Office/Getty Images)

Wednesday’s diplomatic tribute, which also included speeches by World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and Marian Turski, a Lodz Ghetto survivor whose so-called 11th commandment — “Thou shalt not be indifferent” — became the slogan for programming by the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews around the commemoration. 

Eleven years ago, POLIN commissioned Jewish artist Helena Czernek to design a simple paper flower daffodil that has since been worn on the uprising’s anniversary to raise awareness of the day. The pin design was inspired by a commander of the uprising, Marek Edelman, who died in 2009. Each year he would receive a bouquet of daffodils to mark the anniversary date from an anonymous sender, and he would in turn place them on the city’s Monument to the Ghetto Heroes — a large sculpture standing at the site of the uprising’s first battle.

The daffodil marker has since changed the landscape of Holocaust memory in Poland, according to POLIN museum spokeswoman Marta Dziewulska. 

“Our research shows that since we began our educational programs around this event, including handing out the daffodils, the rise in general public knowledge about the uprising has been enormous,” said Dziewulska.

This year, thanks in part to financial support from Lauder, a billionaire heir to the Estee Lauder fortune and a major Republican donor, the daffodil campaign reached far more people than ever, both in Poland and beyond. Throughout the center of Warsaw, the paper daffodil was ubiquitous among pedestrians and cafe dwellers across generations. All crew members on LOT Polish airline flights wore them. 

For the first time, the daffodils were also distributed to 150,000 people in 100 Jewish communities around the world. More than 3,000 volunteers gave out 450,000 paper daffodils in six cities across Poland, and over 7,000 schools, libraries and cultural institutions participated in the museum’s daffodil campaign, which includes films and educational materials about the uprising.

Helena Czernek designed the paper daffodil over a decade ago. (Dinah Spritzer)

Krystyna Budnicka, who was 11 at the time of the uprising, told journalists about her story on Monday. The fighters of the Jewish Combat Organization (ŻOB) were armed with home-made grenades and Molotov cocktails. In the end, roughly 13,000 Jews were were burnt alive or suffocated as the Nazis burnt down the ghetto to quell the rebellion, sending the remaining some 50,000 Jews to be murdered further east.

Budnicka told the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza that “as the ghetto was burning, the underground was like a bread oven.”

But Budnicka and some of her 10 immediate family members, none of whom survived the Holocaust, had one advantage. Her brothers and father were observant Jews who happened to be carpenters. They had constructed a bunker to lead to the sewers so that eventually, at least she and her brother, who later died of typhus, were able to make it out.

Budnicka was later taken in by a Catholic orphanage while the war was still raging and hid her Jewish identity, changing her last name to Kuczer. Until the 1990s, she told almost no one of her travels. But today she is the ambassador of POLIN Museum.

Her recollection of life at the time is limited, except that she had hope for survival. The fighters slept during the day in bunkers the Nazis couldn’t easily find, and came out of the sewers to fight at night. She remembers hunger, being the only girl among many boys and dreaming about what bread tasted like, a distant memory.

Many decades later, after the end of the Communist dictatorship, a “Children of the Holocaust” association was formed in Poland. For the first time, Budnicka and many others started telling their stories out loud, and at schools.

“Now I feel that I have to do it,” she told Gazeta Wyborcza. “When I mention my loved ones at meetings, it’s like I’m erecting a monument to my family. They live then. I see them. It’s in order: my mother Cyrla, father Josef Lejzor, brothers Izaak, Boruch, Szaja, Chaim, Rafał.”

Budnicka is not the only Warsaw Ghetto survivor to ask the world to remember what she endured. Helena Birnbaum, 93, who also survived by hiding in a bunker, participated in this year’s March of the Living — an annual Holocaust remembrance event that brings thousands of participants from around the world to Auschwitz-Birkenau. She told reporters at the march on Tuesday why she flew all the way to Poland from Israel to talk about her ordeal.

“The importance of knowing about the Holocaust is to know the person in all situations, on the brink of death,” she said. “The importance of knowing that the Holocaust was life within death and not everyone died at once. The individual stories matter.”

An iconic photo from the Warsaw Ghetto shows Jews being led by Nazis in 1943. (U.S. Holocaust Museum/Wikimedia Commons)

The act of international unity in display at the official uprising ceremony comes at a time when Poland’s right-wing government continues to espouse a nationalist narrative that international scholars say downplays Polish antisemitism and violence towards Jews before, during and after World War II. Multiple Polish laws connected to Holocaust rhetoric and restitution payments caused diplomatic tensions between Poland and Israel for years, and the two only resumed more full relations last month. The rapprochement came after Israel’s foreign minister announced the resumption of Israeli student trips to Holocaust sites in Poland, which now could include sites that explain Nazi violence against non-Jewish Poles.

Six years ago, some Polish Jews who rejected their government’s patriotic narrative launched their own uprising commemoration, which has grown from a group of hundreds to nearly a thousand. During the alternative commemoration on Wednesday, which featured Yiddish songs sung by school children and recitations of poetry by Polish-Jewish authors, participants laid paper and real daffodils at Warsaw Ghetto monuments such as Umschlagplatz, where the Nazis deportee 350,000 Jews by train to Treblinka. 

Patrycja Dolowy, director of Warsaw’s Jewish community center, was an early supporter of what she called a grassroots alternative to the pomp and circumstance of the government’s ceremony, only a few hundred feet away. 

“Jews were sentenced to death in the center of their own city and the majority of people outside the ghetto were doing nothing about this,” said Dolowy, who believes government focus on heroism should not erase inquiry into less heroic actions by Poles. 

“If Jews were not treated before the war as strangers, it would have been much easier for everyone, Jews and non-Jews, to rise together and resist,” she theorized. 

The counter-commemoration reflects the contrasting attitudes in Poland towards honoring Jewish and Holocaust memory. In 2017, the government passed a law that assured public schools taught history from a heroic, patriotic perspective, and in 2018 made it illegal to insult the Polish nation’s Holocaust record, condemning scholars who dared delve into historical Polish aggression against Jews. 

Attendees shown at an alternative Warsaw Ghetto Uprising commemoration, which has grown in recent years. (Dinah Spritzer)

Jerzy Warman, 76, a Polish-born Jew participating in the non-governmental commemoration whose parents survived the Warsaw Ghetto, said the Polish government wants to turn the uprising commemoration into an event where “they can do a roll call of Poles who they say helped the Jews.”

Warman noted that his father joined Edelman at the Warsaw Uprising, a major Polish resistance campaign that took place year after the Ghetto Uprising. “The Jews tried to join the Polish Home Army as a group but were rejected by them,” Warman recalled his father explaining. 

Moshe Kis, 22, a Jewish political science student from Warsaw whose grandmother spent two years in the ghetto, echoed Warman’s view. 

“So many people here still don’t understand their own history,” said Kis, who will immigrate to Israel next year. He added, fiddling with a daffodil over coffee, “when the sirens went off today in honor of the uprising, I heard people around me saying on the street, ‘what is this for, are we being invaded?’”

The post Warsaw Ghetto Uprising’s 80th anniversary remembered with daffodils, 3 presidents and an 11th commandment against ‘indifference’ 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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