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.

Something New

Something New

The fall post-holiday period is always a good time for launching new things. To the extent we’re not completely exhausted, our five-day work weeks are back (instead of five days of work crammed into three-day weeks), and we’re able to get into something of a rhythm and build momentum in moving toward specific goals.

Adding to the sense of newness and adventure, the third post-holidays Torah portion of Lekh Lekha, which was read this past Shabbat, begins with Abraham receiving divine instructions to leave his home and begin a journey to a new land.  Commentators highlight the uncertainty inherent in the command’s wording: instead of being directed to a specific place, Abraham, at least initially, is told to go “to the land that I will show you,” a vague and undisclosed destination. While he is promised blessings galore for his obedience, setting out requires an element of faith and quite a bit of trust as he leaves his home land and father’s house for somewhere new.

While it’s certainly several orders of magnitude smaller than the journey Abraham undertook, Hillel Ontario is trying something new this week: we’re introducing a new section to our regular newsletters and will be including a d’var Torah to showcase our students’ and staff’s skills and present our readers with a bit of Jewish learning. We hope you’ll find these commentaries inspiring and meaningful and that they’ll provide a glimpse of the Hillel Ontario community that spans our nine campuses.

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

Dear students, parents, supporters, and other members of the Ontario Jewish community,

We are writing to you as the Hillel presidents representing nine universities across Ontario. 

We are often asked what it’s like to be a Jewish student on campus. And, in previous years, we would have taken a more upbeat approach to answering that question. The truth is that things have changed over the past 5 months.

Prior to this spring’s war in Israel, we had never experienced the level of vitriol and backlash that we did recently. We were caught off guard. Many Jewish students lost friendships and severed connections that had been created over many years. Our mental health was stretched to the limit; we have felt burnt out, isolated and anxious.  Even now, with autumn upon us, we are still feeling the exhausting effects of a summer spent advocating for the well-being of our fellow Jewish students. 

Walking back onto campus this week, it was difficult to see some students obviously (and understandably) anxious – both because of the pandemic, and because of the antisemitism Jewish students have experienced over the past several months. At the same time, we also feel more empowered than ever to proclaim pride in our Jewish identity, bolstered by the tremendous support we have felt from across the community.  

Whether you are a first year student, a parent, a sibling, an alum, or simply a member of the community concerned about what seems like an endless barrage of attacks aimed at Jewish students on campus, we want to assure you that as Hillel presidents, we are deeply committed to our roles and responsibilities. We hear your concerns. And, we are proud to serve the current and future Jewish students we support.  

We are working to build relationships with student governments, clubs, interfaith groups, faculty, and administrators on each of our campuses. We continue to empower our peers to learn, to educate, and to advocate for the issues close to our hearts. And, we continue to provide a safe and welcoming community for Jewish students, both on and off campus. 

We also seek to increase resources and staff available to our students so that no one feels unsupported or ill-prepared. We want Jewish students to feel like they can be their entire selves without having to hide a Magen David or avoid conversations about Judaism, Zionism or Israel. 

As we move into a new Jewish year and a new school year, we wish we could say with more certainty exactly what is to come in the next few months. However, it would be naive to do so. Instead, we would like to take this opportunity to commit to you that we will continue to have challenging, but necessary, dialogue with allies across campus. We will continue to support our peers when they feel uncomfortable. And, we will continue to ask for help when we need it. 

Time and time again, our collective history has proven that in a proud, empowered, and united community there is strength, and that from one another we can draw resilience. 

L’shana Haba on quieter, more inclusive campuses. 

Ariel Oren, Guelph Hillel
Evan Kanter, Hillel Student Leader Representative, Hillel UofT
Nathaniel Katz, Queen’s Hillel
Shira Miller, Hillel Laurier
Danielle Lebowitz, Hillel Waterloo
Hannah Silverman, McMaster Hillel
Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson
Isabel Borisov, Western Hillel
Nicole Bodenstein, York Hillel

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