4 Steps to Forgiveness

by | Sep 21, 2018 | Hillel Ontario, Jewish Holiday | 0 comments

Just like the art of apologizing, figuring out how to forgive can be hard work. With Yom Kippur, we not only are offering apologies for our past mistakes, but are also getting and, ideally, accepting apologies from others.

For better or worse, Jewish tradition generally requires a person to accept an apology and offer forgiveness at a certain point.  Even after verbally forgiving someone, it can take some work to really feel at peace and to heal, to the extent it’s even possible. Here are four actionable steps you can take toward forgiveness this year:

1. Acknowledge and consider the person’s point of view. Take a moment to try to understand why they might have done what they did and the factors in their life that could have caused conflict. Acknowledging – not justifying – the complexities in someone’s life can help you come to terms with what they did and see them for more than just their mistake.

2. Focus on the good – it’s easy to forget someone’s positive qualities when they have wronged you, but the good often outweighs the bad. Considering the ways they’ve contributed to your life in a positive way can bring you one step closer to forgiving them.

3. Show you’re willing to move forward – letting someone off the hook and closing the door is not the final step in forgiveness. It’s important to show you’re willing to maintain your relationship with them, and it takes two.

4. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean returning to the previous status quo – just because you’ve forgiven someone doesn’t mean that everything goes back to the way it was before. If might be that forgiving someone comes with setting boundaries on how much time you spend with them or how you engage with each other.

Taking actionable steps toward forgiving someone, even if they aren’t trying to make amends, is an important practice that can protect you from unwanted stress, but true forgiveness takes work from both sides.

Annamie Paul Joins Hillel Ontario

Annamie Paul Joins Hillel Ontario

Last month Hillel Ontario heard from Annamie Paul, leader of the Green Party of Canada. After winning the leadership race back in October of 2020, Annamie became the first Black person and first Jewish woman to lead a federal Canadian political party. Since then, she has been speaking to Canadians all across the country, spreading messages of hope and inspiration, during a time where these moments are a rarity. No matter the political orientation of the Zoom attendees of this fireside chat, everyone walked away with a few life lessons up their sleeve.

Here are some of my biggest takeaways. First, Annamie spoke about following your passion, a message that I know many students needed to hear. When I graduated from grade 12, I was constantly asked where I saw myself in five years, ten years, and sometimes even twenty years. Although I was asked with the best intentions, I’ve always felt overwhelming pressure to envision a clear career path. Annamie dispelled this myth by referencing the enjoyment associated with the process of discovering your passion rather than having a final goal in mind, and Annamie’s enthusiasm for human rights through a policy lens has shaped the course of her life. Second, Annamie spoke about the importance of speaking up in the face of injustice. Whether you consider yourself an advocate or not, Annamie highlighted the need to follow your moral compass, never remaining complicit. Following Annamie’s time as the leader of the Green Party, it is clear that she isn’t afraid to use her voice and position to shine light on racism, antisemitism, and sexism. These are two lessons I think everyone can learn from.

Annamie spoke about growing up in Toronto Centre (the riding where she will be running in the next federal election), her career as an international lawyer, and her decision to enter politics. As someone who doesn’t fit the mold of a traditional politician, Annamie referenced about the challenges that she’s faced as a Black, Jewish woman. Racism, antisemitism, and sexism were all constant throughout her leadership campaign, and her six months leading the Green Party. 

Throughout Annamie’s talk, I learned about the importance of elevating voices that have previously gone unheard. In a predominantly white space, Hillel students and staff need to work hard to ensure that Jews of Colour feel welcomed. 

After 45 minutes, the latter half of which consisted of an insightful Q&A, Annamie mentioned that she would love to be invited back to another Hillel Ontario fireside chat. For now, I’ll take Annamie’s lessons with me while looking forward to hearing about all of her accomplishments in a year from now.

  • Skylar Banks, Guelph Hillel
Collaboration Breeds Diversity and Inclusion

Collaboration Breeds Diversity and Inclusion

Collaborating with other student organizations allows us to diversify the students at our events, build coalitions, establish good rapport with other student groups and broaden the topics of the content that we deliver. 

This past month, we had the privilege of working with the Waterloo and Laurier chapters of Menstruation Redefined, which is committed to helping with the “institutional and social barriers surrounding menstruation that risk the health, well-being, and daily lives of many.” This mission resonated with us at Hillel because we understand the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion for all. These are values that we hold as Jews, and want to embody at Hillel. 

We joined forces to produce a fun evening of trivia and learning. The event allowed us to reach new students, educate others on Jewish practice for those who menstruate, and learn more about Menstruation Redefined’s mission. Collaborative events like this allow us to understand key issues and causes that other student-run campus groups advocate for and to build strong allyships and ensure that we propel Hillel’s values forward, such as inclusion and equity.

Jessica Bloom, HIllel Waterloo Student President
Veronica Grad, Hillel Laurier Student President

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