3 Important Messages in Netta’s Toy

by | Nov 15, 2018 | Hillel Ontario | 0 comments

The winner of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest “Toy”,  by Netta Barzilai, is a powerful song that will make anyone stop what they are doing and pay attention. Netta conquered the world with a song that is sticky, fun, interesting, and totally different. But the song is not just you average top 40 hit. The Israeli artist is using it to spread important and powerful messages that the audience may not catch the first time they listen. With punchy lyrics and strong visuals, Netta expresses her thoughts on the #MeToo movement and fights back against today’s beauty standards and stereotypes.

 

It Raises Awareness Of Sexual Harassment

Netta has made many statements confirming that her up-beat song is meant to support the #MeToo movement. Netta is a strong advocate for raising awareness of victims of sexual harassment, and gender inequality. In “Toy”, she uses terms like “stupid boy”, and “chicken” to describe the cowardly behaviour of  abusive men that continues in our society.

 

It Encourages Women To Speak Out

“Toy” aims to empower women with references to Wonder Woman, and by encouraging them to understand their own worth and to speak up for themselves. An example is the line: “The Barbie’s got something to say…” implying that women are not just iconic dolls with no voice but need to speak up for themselves.  Another powerful line is “I don’t care ‘bout your Stefa baby”. As Netta explains during an official Eurovision Song Contest interview the slang word “Stefa” is a term used to describe a pile of cash. By telling the world not to care about a man’s’ “Stefa”, Netta empowers women to free themselves from financial dependence and take charge of their own life.

 

It Fights Body Shaming and Societal Beauty Standards

Netta was quoted, saying that in the early stages of her career she was told to “dress like [she has] nothing to celebrate. Dress in black. Dress big. Short skirts are not for [her]. Short sleeves are not for [her]. [She’s] not sexy or beautiful. [She’s] funny – that’s what [she is].” But that was not how Netta saw herself. She wants to be part of today’s pop culture, and her music to reflect who she really is. Netta decided to break the stereotype that  “pop stars have to be thin and beautiful” which she does by wearing bright colors, fun hairstyles, and making funny noises. You can find this reflected in the lyrics of “Toy”, when Netta opens the song with the powerful line: “Look at me, I’m a beautiful creature”. (Source)

Now Netta is coming to Toronto to deliver her powerful message in person. On January 24th, Hillel Ontario is proud to host Netta’s first live performance in Canada during Out of Sync! If you haven’t bought your tickets already be sure to buy them today at www.outofsync.ca/tickets – See you there!

Weekly D’var: Netzavim

Weekly D’var: Netzavim

This week’s parsha, Nitzavim, begins with an expression of the universality of God’s covenant with the Israelites. It wasn’t enough to say ‘all of you’ who are standing before God, rather, we are given a list of all those assembled before Moses as he instructed them before they entered the land of Israel. In this list, we see a hierarchy of social and religious significance; we are told that among those present are tribal leaders, elders, officials, men who have households, children, wives, and ‘strangers’, the servants.

Moses continues to remind the Israelites of God’s actions during their journey out of Egypt, the commandments they have been given, and the consequences of both living by and living against the conditions of the covenant. There are warnings of curses and anger and wrath and promises of blessing and sustenance and reward. This is, at its simplest, Moses’ final attempt to give the Israelites a moral compass, a sense of right and wrong in God’s eyes, as they finally cross into the land promised to their ancestors, but without Moses’ leadership.

There is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful pieces of language in the Torah towards the end of Moses’ instructions to the Israelites (Deut. 30 12-16):

[This instruction] is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it. I set before you this day life and prosperity, death and adversity. For I command you this day, to love your God, to walk in God’s ways, and to keep God’s commandments, God’s laws, and God’s rules, that you may thrive and increase, and that your God may bless you in the land that you are about to enter and possess.

As Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur near again, this week’s parsha is a reminder that when we are celebrating, showing humility and remorse, asking one another and God for forgiveness, we are equal. The opportunity to act righteously, care for ourselves and others around us, and enjoy prosperity is accessible and within the reach of every one of us, regardless of privilege and position, as is the opportunity near to us to turn from our misdeeds and transgressions towards goodness in the new year.

Shanah Tovah U’metuka
A Happy and Sweet 5783!

A New Hillel Home in Kingston!

A New Hillel Home in Kingston!

Kingston, ON – September 21, 2022

For 50 years, the Otterburn House in Kingston, Ontario was the home of Queen’s Hillel. Since 2018, however, Queen’s Hillel has been without a permanent location, necessitating the use of temporary rental space on-campus.

Over the past year, Beth Israel Synagogue invested in an intensive rejuvenation project to give the Otterburn House its first major update since 1992. Today, with the invaluable support of two community visionaries, we are excited to share that our Queen’s Hillel staff, Yos and Leora Tarshish, will be making the Otterburn House both their own home, and a renewed base for Queen’s Hillel. By creating a welcoming community grounded in their own lives, Yos and Leora will serve as a model for what Jewish living in all of its dimensions can be, and leverage the successful models of Base and Moishe House.

On behalf of Hillel Ontario, Chief Executive Officer, Rabbi Seth Goren said the following:

“Hillel Ontario has been striving to ensure that Queen’s Hillel once again had a space to meaningfully engage Jewish students in Kingston. Yos and Leora Tarshish have been working tirelessly to nurture strong and resilient Jewish students, build innovative micro-communities, and empower the next generation of community advocates. With the invaluable support of community philanthropists who are committed to the Kingston community, and to the future of Jewish students at Queen’s, Hillel Ontario could not be more pleased to see Hillel once again have a permanent home in Kingston.”

On behalf of Queen’s Hillel, Director, Yos Tarshish said the following:

“Leora and I are incredibly excited to be moving into the Otterburn House, and welcoming a new generation of Jewish students into a space that holds such a special place in the history of Queen’s Hillel. The space has been lovingly restored by the hard work of the Beth Israel Otterburn Committee, led by Arnie Palmer, Michael Springer, Richard Kizell and Mark Malinoff, and it is a true testament to the vigour and tenacity of the Kingston Jewish community. Jewish student life has been steadily growing in Kingston for more than a decade, and Hillel is at the forefront of ensuring that the Jewish community on campus is both vibrant and inclusive. We are honoured to engage Jewish students on campus in Kingston, and are immensely grateful for the opportunity to bring Hillel activities back to Otterburn.”

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Hillel Ontario is the largest regional Hillel in the world, serving nine universities, with a combined Jewish student population of 14,000.

For additional information, please contact:

Jay Solomon
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer
jay.solomon@hillelontario.org

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