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.

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

Blown Away

Blown Away

A few weeks ago, I joined a group of Hillel board members and lay leaders for a short presentation on Hillel’s Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF). Several students who had participated in the JLF program were on the Zoom call, as well as the Hillel staff who facilitate JLF cohorts on campus.

We were lucky to have a mini JLF experience. JLF was new to me, but as a graduate of the Wexner Heritage Program, I am a massive fan of adult Jewish education. I know firsthand the kind of transformative experience it could be to CHOOSE as an adult to learn about Judaism.

To say that I was blown away is an understatement. I heard directly from students that they had approached this program with some anticipation and trepidation but ultimately walked away feeling more connected to their Judaism and to their community than they ever thought possible. I saw Rabbis approach young people with openness and care; their focus was on making their cohort understand how Judaism was relevant to today’s world, not just their grandparents’ time. I felt the emotion that came across, even over Zoom, that showed me that these young people “got it” and could internalize how Judaism could play a role in their adult lives well beyond the eight-week program.

I was touched to hear that when the students were asked to “pay it forward”, the vast majority of them did, because they wanted others to have the chance to see what they saw, feel what they felt and learn what they learned. As a lay leader, it is so important to see that my work and philanthropic contributions are touching real people and making a difference in real lives.

This small taste was enough to make me want to support this program in the future and I hope others will join me in doing so – we work hard on Jewish identity and we don’t have enough programs that actually move the needle. This one does! 

Elisa Palter

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