5 Things to do over Reading Week (In Addition to Reading!)

by | Feb 14, 2019 | Entertainment, Hillel Ontario | 0 comments

Although Reading Week is the best time to catch up on all your coursework and prepare for midterms, it’s also time for you to unwind and relax because you deserve it! After months of hard work, it’s easy to get carried away with school and focus less on yourself. Make this Reading Week all about balance.  Here are our top five suggestions of things you can do to de-stress this week.

GET OUT AND EXPLORE
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Spending hours upon hours in a classroom or in the library can be tiresome. The best way to totally unwind? Take a mini vacation! Something as simple as a day or two in Niagara Falls would do the trick. If you like to ski or snowboard, find some friends and rent an Airbnb at Blue Mountain. If you’re not into leaving your hometown, find something fun to do on Groupon! From a spa day to go-karting, you are sure to find something you like.

BINGE A NEW SERIES!

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So many new Netflix series, so little time! If you have never sat in bed for hours binge watching a TV show with popcorn in hand, now is the time to try it. Our favourite though? The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel! Set in 1950s Manhattan, the show follows Midge Maisel, a young Jewish, recently separated mother of two, as she pursues her passion for a career as a comedian.  This award winning show is absolutely hilarious. You may even want to watch it with your bubbie. You’ll thank us later.We asked the Hillel Ontario staff what they thought were binge worthy shows, and here’s our list!

  1. YOU
  2. Glitch
  3. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  4. Salt Fat Acid Heat
  5. Chef’s Table
  6. Big Mouth
  7. The Good Place
  8. Ozark  

BRING OUT THE BOARD GAMES

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When you are busy with school, a quick text or like is sometimes all you can manage. Unplug during Reading Week and bring everyone together for a fun games night at your place. Monopoly, Settlers of Catan, and Life are classics, and sure to be crowd pleasers. If you don’t want to have the hassle of hosting at your place, unleash your competitive side and unwind with a hot drink or a glass of wine at Snakes and Lattes. You can’t go wrong.

MAKE A PLAYLIST
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Remember our Out of Sync Spotify playlist? It had all the best hits to make you get up and sing your heart out. With midterms coming up, make a playlist to help you get in the study zone. Spotify has great pre-made playlist, but we recommend making your own. A few of our favourite artists that we like to play in the office while we work are Ed Sheeran, John Mayer and James Bay.

REGISTER FOR BIRTHRIGHT

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While having the cold winter air hit you in the face while shovelling your driveway, you’re bound to start dreaming about warmer days.  Put those winter blues away and start thinking about summer vacation! How about a free trip to Israel? If you haven’t registered for Birthright yet, what are you waiting for? The trip will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life. You will be immersed in Israel’s history and culture, while also trying delicious Israeli food, learning about Judaism, and making friendships that  will last a lifetime.

Stronger Together!

Stronger Together!

Over this past Family Day Weekend, I spent a lot of time reflecting both about the challenges we face, but also about the incredible strength and resiliency of this community. Jewish students are often at the forefront of hate and discrimination on campus and online, but we are at our most powerful – and most effective – when we work together as one.

With that in mind, I want to provide several important advocacy updates.

First, I am excited to share that Hillel Ontario has begun convening meetings to coordinate advocacy initiatives amongst Jewish campus organizations across the country. The time has come for Hillel Ontario to lead the way in encouraging cooperation to accomplish the goals we collectively share. Joining us in these monthly discussions are Hillel Montreal, Hillel BC, Hillel Ottawa, CJPAC, Hasbara Fellowships and StandWithUs. We appreciate their willingness to engage with us in these important conversations.

Second, I want to update you on the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) matter that galvanized much community discussion last week. In addition to endorsing a motion to divest from companies doing business in Israel, the union misrepresented the recently released report of the Antisemitism Working Group and its approach to what does or does not constitute antisemitism. Hillel views these type of divestment motions as part of a wider issue of antisemitism on campus, and we have made that point clearly and consistently to university leadership and members of the Working Group for the better part of the past year.

Late Friday, Working Group members released an important statement, which both criticized the rhetoric of union leaders, and vindicated our belief that hate speech directed at Israel, Israelis or Jews based on actions (real or imagined) of the Israeli government is antisemitism. This is an important moment; one that underscores why our approach to these issues, and the allies we foster across campus are so critical. While we may not be able to stop every divestment motion from passing, we can – and we will continue to – have our voices heard by university leadership to ensure antisemitism remains on the margins. This is precisely what happened last week at the UofT.

Jewish students deserve to study, live and socialize in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. Hillel will continue to condemn antisemitism, defend Israel and our right to self-determination, and build essential relationships on campus to secure the well-being of the students we so proudly serve.

And, we will do so in concert with our allies; because we believe we are stronger together.

Sincerely,

Jay Solomon
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Weekly D’var: Toldot 5782 by Scott Goldstein

[Warning: Ted Lasso show spoiler] I just finished watching the second season of Ted Lasso, and I cannot get the image of the finale out of my head. Haven’t seen it yet? That’s ok, I’ll recap part of this week’s Torah portion as you go catch up and then tie it in at the end for when you get back.

When not detailing the intricate politics of well-digging and water rights, this week’s Torah portion takes some time to highlight our favourite biblical twins – Jacob and Esav (a.k.a. Esau). Some may even refer to this as the first twin study on “Nature vs. Nurture” (shoutout to my psychology peeps) ever recorded. We are presented with brothers that were raised in the same environment but turned out to be polar opposites. I’ll let you read the riveting stories of birthright transactions and elaborate deceptions on your own, but the narrative we are presented with is clear: Jacob is good, and Esav is bad. Here’s the problem I had with this narrative: If Esav was raised in a good environment, but still did bad things, then is the Torah telling us that our destiny is sealed by nature?

I just finished watching Ted Lasso, and I cannot help but think about how loveable Nate (played by Nick Mohammed) is a perfect example of what I think our Torah portion is trying to tell us. Ted Lasso (played masterfully by Jason Sudeikis) created a nurturing environment where Nate could grow from invisible kit manager to assistant coach that everyone loves. Despite all that, it comes down to the decisions Nate made to allow jealousy to influence his actions, leading him to leave Richmond FC and betray his teammates by joining West Ham United.

I think the story we read in the Torah is reminding us that both nature and nurture are really important (just as science does), but our decisions, ultimately, are our own. Whether it’s Esav going down in history as the ultimate example of bad decision-making or Nate likely being the reason we see Ted cry next season, the lesson is clear… be like Jacob because we can make good decisions no matter the circumstances.

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