251 episodes

A daily bite-sized newscast from The CJN, hosted by veteran broadcaster, writer and journalist Ellin Bessner.

The CJN Daily The CJN Podcast Network

    • News
    • 4.4 • 19 Ratings

A daily bite-sized newscast from The CJN, hosted by veteran broadcaster, writer and journalist Ellin Bessner.

    Meet the Canadian behind Globle, the web's hot new geography game

    Meet the Canadian behind Globle, the web's hot new geography game

    One of the biggest stories in international relations this week erupted when Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. For a high-ranking American to visit the disputed country, unrecognized by the United Nations because of its conflict with China, was controversial—perhaps almost as much as when 27-year-old web developer Abe Train decided to include Taiwan in his web game, Globle.

    Okay, so maybe the two aren't that comparable. But hundreds of thousands of people play Globle every day, putting real stress on Train to handle geopolitical issues from his apartment in downtown Toronto. Globle, which launched in January 2022, is one of many mimics of Wordle, the popular online word game bought by the New York Times for $1 million. Globle's spin is geography: players guess a country, and are informed by a colour code whether the country of the day is near or far. Players then keep guessing until they find the nation in question.

    Train joins today to explain what drove him to quit his day job and focus on innovative web design full-time, and how he handles hate mail over international border definitions, such as Taiwan—or the Middle East.

    What we talked about:


    Play Globle at globle-game.com
    Play Abe Train's new game at plurality.fun
    Read about the 2021 hate crime stats at thecjn.ca

    Credits

    The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Production assistance by Gabrielle Nadler and YuZhu Mou. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We're a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    We visited the set of Adam Sandler’s bat mitzvah movie being filmed in Toronto

    We visited the set of Adam Sandler’s bat mitzvah movie being filmed in Toronto

    It seems every Jew in Toronto has spotted Adam Sandler this summer—or knows someone who has. He’s in the area filming a new movie for Netflix, based on a coming-of-age book, called You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah!

    Sandler stars in the film with his wife and daughters, as well as Idina Menzel and Sarah Sherman, and a whole bunch of local teenagers (and some adults) were paid $100 a day to be extras. The crew is filming at the Royal York Hotel, the Liberty Grand and midtown’s own Beth Tzedec synagogue—so The CJN Daily visited to see if we could spy any celebs (we couldn't) and talk to some of the staff who are helping out. That includes Rabbi Steven Wernick and Daniel Silverman, who share what they did to help on set and how the shoot seems to be going.

    What we talked about:


    Learn more about the film adaptation of You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah!
    Read Ellin's piece about the Zisman family and Benjamin's funeral home at thecjn.ca

    Credits

    The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Production assistance by Gabrielle Nadler and YuZhu Mou. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We're a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 15 min
    For nearly 40 years, Benjamin’s funeral home foundation has been keeping 10% of charity donations—until a family sued

    For nearly 40 years, Benjamin’s funeral home foundation has been keeping 10% of charity donations—until a family sued

    When their only child, Liam, died in January 2022, Jeanne and Raziel Zisman of Toronto had to book a funeral quickly—Jewish law states a burial should happen as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours. Liam was 19. The Zismans, distraught and emotional, met virtually with a representative from Benjamin's Park Memorial Chapel, the country's biggest Jewish funeral home, to make arrangements. Among their services, Benjamin's offered them the use of the Benjamin Foundation, a charity arm of the company that collects donations in the name of the deceased and transfers the money later, to a charity of the family's choosing.

    What's only in the fine print, however, is that Benjamin's Foundation keeps 10 per cent of the money for administrative purposes. It's been this way for nearly 40 years. In the past decade alone, Benjamin's has routed more than $3 million through this foundation to charities—and quietly deducted 10 per cent of that. That's a higher percentage than many other charities, particularly many Jewish ones.

    When the Zismans found out, they set off on a lengthy legal battle. The case is still ongoing in provincial court, but on July 27, the Zismans won a small victory: the regulatory body that oversees funeral homes in Ontario sided with the grieving family, ordering Benjamin's to release all funds—including the 10 per cent fee—to the charities, and mandated the company to make their fee structure more transparent on their website and in contracts and in conversations with clients.

    On today's CJN Daily, the Zismans joins to talk about their son and their legal struggles, and you'll also hear Benjamin's side of the story.

    What we talked about:


    Read Liam Zisman's obituary
    See how Benjamin's describes The Benjamin Foundation on their website

    Credits

    The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Production assistance by Gabrielle Nadler and YuZhu Mou. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We're a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 15 min
    At nearly 80 years old, Gary Averbach is trekking 1,000km across Canada for cancer research

    At nearly 80 years old, Gary Averbach is trekking 1,000km across Canada for cancer research

    Gary Averbach left Calgary on a mission. The 79-year-old real estate mogul, based in Vancouver, is currently trekking through 40-degree heat waves across the Rockies from Calgary to his home city to raise money for cancer research. He's about three-quarters of the way there—his goal is to arrive home by mid-August, just shy of his 80th birthday, and to have raised $500,000 in the process.

    The project stemmed from a promise Averbach made last summer to his late cousin and business partner, Robert Golden, who passed away from bone cancer. After Averbach lost two more cousins and his housekeeper to cancer this spring, he decided to embark on the journey to raise money for a good cause, while also ticking off a bucket-list adventure.

    Averbach spoke to The CJN Daily from Boston Bar, B.C., around 45 kilometres south of Lytton, where he stopped after completing another daily 24-km hike.

    What we talked about:


    Follow Averbach's journey
    Find Miriam Libicki's comics on her website, or read about her in The CJN (from 2017)

    Credits

    The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Production assistance by Gabrielle Nadler and YuZhu Mou. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We're a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 14 min
    The butterfly effect: Why the endangered monarch is a Jewish issue

    The butterfly effect: Why the endangered monarch is a Jewish issue

    Last week, an international conservation body declared the monarch butterfly an endangered species. But that didn't surprise Carol Pasternak, who writes under the pseudonym "The Monarch Crusader". For years, she's used her garden in Toronto as a launching pad to teach Canadians about the importance and habits of monarchs, which—like many Canadian Jews—spend their winters flying thousands of kilometres south to warmer climes.

    Yet between climate change and rampant real estate development, butterfly habitats have been decimated in recent decades, and the insect's population has decreased 75 percent, according to some estimates. That's why Pasternak has transformed her townhouse lawn into a monarch waystation, filled with milkweed and other pollen-packed flowers that help the creatures lay new eggs. The CJN Daily team had the chance to visit Pasternak at her home to better understand the crisis, the solutions and why the species' endangerment is a Jewish issue.

    What we talked about:


    Learn more about The Monarch Crusader
    Join the Monarch Blitz
    Hear the CJN Daily episode with magician Ben Train

    Credits

    The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Production assistance by Gabrielle Nadler and YuZhu Mou. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We're a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 14 min
    Go behind the scenes of Zach Hyman's very Jewish charity golf tournament

    Go behind the scenes of Zach Hyman's very Jewish charity golf tournament

    After the Edmonton Oilers lost four straight games in the conference finals to the Colorado Avalanche this past June, star player Zach Hyman returned to his hometown of Toronto with his family. There's plenty filling his busy schedule—including the birth of his second child any day now—but one keystone event was his annual celebrity golf tournament, which aimed to raise $350,000 for Jewish Federations in Edmonton and Toronto, as well as Sick Kids Hospital.

    The CJN Daily visited the Oakdale golf club to catch the action and join the media scrum with Zach Hyman, who brought his NHL friends Connor McDavid, Mitch Marner, Jake Muzzin and Darnell Nurse. And while most of the reporters there wanted to talk hockey, we were able to speak to Hyman about his Jewish identity and what it means to give back to Edmonton's community.

    Plus, we spoke with several Jewish attendees about what the event, and Hyman's involvement, means to them.

    What we talked about:


    Learn about the Zach Hyman Celebrity Classic at hymanhelps.com

    Credits

    The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Production assistance by Gabrielle Nadler and YuZhu Mou. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We're a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To learn how to support the show by subscribing to this podcast, please watch this video.

    • 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
19 Ratings

19 Ratings

OT in TO ,

Relevant updates

Appreciate the relevance of the topics to current event impacting the Jewish community & world at large in this concise format.

MF432 ,

Very professionally done

Ellin is an excellent host, very brisk and asks concise questions. Good qualities for a daily newscast. I appreciate the depth in which she goes into every topic. Mazel tov!

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