5 Ways To Be a Better You In The New Year

by | Sep 14, 2018 | Hillel Ontario, Jewish Holiday | 0 comments

It’s that time of year to reflect on the past and set goals for the new year, but it’s no secret that Rosh Hashanah resolutions are often unfulfilled. This might be because the process laid out for repententance is pretty onerous, and transformation isn’t always easy.  Regardless, here are five small steps toward self-improvement you can actually stick to and may get at some of the elements of personal growth you may be looking for:

1. Connect with old friends and family so you can be a part of your community. Making an active effort to see people you didn’t see enough last year is an easy way to improve from the past and remind the people in your life how important they are. If you’re far from home, setting up a video chat or phone call can make all the difference to those who might be missing you!

2. Set aside time for hobbies. It’s easy to push our hobbies to the side when school gets hectic, but having activities to work on outside of class helps relieve a lot of studying-related stress and can help your emotional wellbeing.

3. Try new ways to get organized. Scribbling your class schedule on a piece of scrap paper may have been your way of life last year, but there’s always room for improvement when it comes to organization. Colour-coding your classes, getting an agenda from your student union or using a wall calendar can make all the difference in your student success.

4. Say thank you for the unexpected things. Thank your teachers for a thoughtful lesson, your friends for their creativity, your family for their comforting recipes and the people in your community for things they’ve done for you, big or small. It only takes a minute to send a thank you text or email, and a little positive reinforcement goes a long way!

5. Don’t forget to take breaks. Everyone needs a little vacation, and the winter holidays are a great time to get away and have some fun after the fall semester. It’s not too late to register for a Winter Birthright Israel trip! 

Most importantly, remember that resolutions for the new year are not promises – don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t save up for that new car or quit eating sugar. A resolution is something to work towards, not a promise!

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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