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Why are there so many Jewish sports halls of fame? 

(JTA) — On one wall of the dining hall at the Indiana University Hillel sit 36 framed photographs of Jewish alumni who have made an impact in the sports industry, from athletes to executives. It’s the IU Jewish Sports Wall of Fame.

One of those pictures is of Josh Rawitch, who has had a long career as an executive in baseball. At first, Rawitch told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, he questioned whether he was truly worthy of being honored alongside fellow Hoosiers like Mark Cuban, the billionaire businessman and owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, and Ted Kluszewski, a four-time All-Star with the MLB’s Cincinnati Reds in the 1950s.

But then Rawitch thought about the location of the wall, and who it might impact.

“You’re going to have young people, 18, 19 years old, walking in there looking at the wall, seeing all these people who are up there who have gone on to do significant things in the industry,” Rawitch said. “That’s actually pretty cool. That actually inspires them. If I was 18 and I’d have walked in and that wall had been there when I was a freshman, I would have thought, ‘that’s really cool.’ I would love to be like one of those people someday.”

Rawitch knows a thing or two about halls of fame: He’s the president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. He said institutions like the one he leads are important “repositories for history.”

“I think having a hall of fame of any kind in any city essentially does two things — it honors people who are really good at what they do, and it documents the history of what’s gone on in that industry,” he said.

The Indiana University Jewish Sports Wall of Fame, located in the dining hall at Indiana University Hillel. (Courtesy)

The display that honors Rawitch in Bloomington is just one of many halls, walls and exhibits across the United States and the world — many of them small — that honor Jewish greatness in sports. From Southern California to Philadelphia, St. Louis to Washington, D.C., similar organizations and institutions recognize Jewish athletes, coaches, executives, media members and beyond.

Why so many?

“We want to call attention to that because of the antisemitic trope that Jews are not good soldiers, farmers or athletes. We need to overcome that,” said Jed Margolis, who runs the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Israel, which has honored over 400 athletes since 1981 and is housed in Netanya after being founded in the United States. “It’s simply not true. And telling the stories out there will help inspire people and lay to rest some of those falsehoods which I think are important to overcome.”

In the fight against antisemitism, Steve Rosenberg, who chairs the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, said “the best defense is a good offense.” The Philadelphia hall, which inducted its first class in 1997 and has moved locations multiple times, has 183 total inductees, including former NFL tight end Brent Novoselsky and longtime 76ers broadcaster Marc Zumoff.

“We shine the light on the great accomplishments of Jews in sports. And we need to do more of that in the world,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg added that he thinks there should be even more halls of fame, for Jewish actors, architects, poets and so on, “so that we can celebrate our accomplishments, not in the way that we pat ourselves on the back, but that we can talk about all the great things that we do as a people.”

For Craig Neuman, the chief programming officer at the St. Louis Jewish Community Center, a key feature of Jewish culture is the sense of connection Jews feel when they discover that a celebrity is Jewish. That sense of pride is clear in the work Neuman does with the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, which has its own hallway at the JCC.

“I can’t imagine any other place in the world where you would say, ‘I feel connected to this other country, or these other people, by sheer virtue of our religion,’” Neuman said. “There’s some pride that’s involved with that.”

Like the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame seeks to recognize the most elite athletes — Jewish world record holders, Olympians and the like. Or, as Margolis put it: “We’re looking for the best of the best: the Hank Greenbergs, the Mark Spitzes, people like that.”

Jed Margolis, left, with former Israeli basketball star Mickey Berkowitz, back center, and his family, at the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Netanya, Israel. (Courtesy of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame)

At the local halls of fame, the criteria are different. Rawitch likened it to the dynamic between national versus state and local politics.

“As the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I think it’s pretty clear that we are honoring the absolute greatest who ever played or worked within the game of baseball nationally,” Rawitch said. “Clearly, that should be harder to get into than, say, the California Baseball Hall of Fame or the New York Baseball Hall of Fame. But I don’t think it should diminish if you’re a recipient of that. It should be an honor for anybody who’s named to any sort of hall or wall of fame.”

Inclusivity is central to the local halls of fame.

“I think we want to, on some level, send a message that says, ‘hey, just because you’re not in Cooperstown doesn’t mean that you didn’t have an impact in the world, on your sport, in your community,’” said Neuman.

But that doesn’t mean the standards for entry aren’t high. In fact, in St. Louis, candidates for induction must possess more than just athletic accomplishments — there’s also the “mensch factor.”

“When you are in a position where people might look up to you because of some accomplishments, and whether it’s because you’re an athlete, or you’re a politician, or a lawyer or whatever the profession that puts you in the public’s eye, there’s a certain responsibility that comes along with that,” said Neuman. “It’s a great example to set that, yeah, this guy was a great baseball player, but he was also a great human being as well.”

The St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame has 84 members inducted across eight classes dating back to 1992 — including Chicago Cubs ace Ken Holtzman and basketball legend Nancy Lieberman. The last group was enshrined in 2018.

Many of those inductees represent more than the typical professional sports — baseball, basketball, football, soccer and hockey. There are racquetball and handball players, even a hot air balloonist. (Whether that counted as a sport was a topic of debate for the selection committee.)

In Philadelphia, a similar conversation was held around whether poker should qualify — in that case, poker was allowed, but it turned out the candidate in question wasn’t actually Jewish.

For Rosenberg, recognizing people from a diverse range of sports is an important part of the work, especially as he works to engage younger members of the community.

“I want the young people, particularly the young Jews, to know that there’s a place for you, no matter if you’re a golfer, a swimmer, a gymnast, a baseball player, whatever you want to do, that you can go on to achieve greatness and that greatness will be recognized,” Rosenberg said.

He added that very few people stop by the hall of fame.

“The reality is, if I stood at the hall of fame on any given day, people that are coming in just to see the hall of fame, we couldn’t get a minyan,” Rosenberg said, referencing Judaism’s 10-person prayer quorum. “Maybe over the course of a year. But we do get the sort of incidental traffic, people that are going to the JCC for other activities.”

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. (Courtesy)

The Philadelphia hall’s journey to the JCC was not a simple one. The collection used to have a permanent space at a local YMHA, featuring typical sports artifacts like bats and jerseys. Then it moved into the Jewish federation building — until September 2021, when Hurricane Ida caused severe flooding that destroyed much of the hall of fame’s memorabilia. The current exhibit at the JCC is more two-dimensional, Rosenberg said.

One of the Philadelphia inductees is Arn Tellem, the vice chairman of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons and a longtime agent who represented A-list athletes like Kobe Bryant. Throughout the 2000s, Tellem was regularly ranked among the top agents in all of sports, and he is a member of the Southern California, Michigan and Philadelphia Jewish Sports Halls of Fame.

By the time Tellem got the call from the Philadelphia hall in 2015, he had received his fair share of recognition. But that didn’t make this honor count any less for the Philadelphia native. Rosenberg said Tellem “couldn’t wait to come” to the ceremony, bringing three tables worth of supporters with him.

“Arn Tellem isn’t doing this for recognition, or for money, or for fame,” Rosenberg said. “He has that. It means something to him.”

That sentiment seems to be shared by honorees from across the halls. Rosenberg added that he has seen some inductees moved to tears by the news. When Chris Berman, the ESPN broadcaster who has anchored the network’s flagship program “SportsCenter” since a month after it launched in 1979, was honored by the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, he was “very touched,” said Margolis.

Lauren Becker Rubin, a former star lacrosse and field hockey player at Brown University, was inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.

“It was a big honor for both me and my family,” Becker Rubin told JTA. “I think the connection of celebrating both the athletic achievement and the community makes it meaningful on another level.”

Becker Rubin, who is now a mental performance coach, is also a member of Brown’s athletic Hall of Fame for setting numerous school records in both sports during her college career. But being recognized by her local Jewish community was a particularly special honor, she said.

After her induction, Becker Rubin joined the hall’s board. “Celebrating positive achievements and putting out positive messages about Jewish athletes is a good counter to the negative rhetoric that is out there,” she said.

The post Why are there so many Jewish sports halls of fame?  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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