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!

A Hillel Staff’s Perspective

A Hillel Staff’s Perspective

Students have had a very different academic year. One that they have never experienced before. There has been isolation, lack of extracurricular activities and little to no in-person contact. In a recent McMaster Hillel student executive meeting on zoom, I said “we are in the business of community so we need to think creatively about what it feels like to be part of this community. ” How does one do this in a pandemic, when campus is closed and when we don’t see each other at all? How do we know how each of us are doing? Are we alone? Are we lonely? Are we coping? Do we bring our best selves to a Zoom and then grapple alone with our worries? These are the questions that I struggle with when trying to support a community despite the challenges that exist for us. 

From the beginning, Hillel pulled out all the pandemic stops to connect with students. Shabbat in a box and delivered to you? Yes! Zoom games night? Yes! Mental health and wellness box? Sign up here! We have you covered. These programs and services were created to keep our community together while at our own homes. We are able to connect through a screen and eat dinner, not together, but knowing that there were over 70 students enjoying the same meal in the comfort of their own homes as well. And we connected face to face over Zoom before and after, while enjoying our rugelach, of course!

All of these programs are great, but the individual connections are even more paramount. A text to a student to check in, a happy birthday wish on their special day or an unfortunate condolence call for those who have lost loved ones. For me, it’s putting in the extra effort to make a student feel special and finding ways to do this. Does the student have dietary needs that we can fulfill and can we make this student feel seen in making a special box for them? Did a student forget to sign up for Shabbat but do we have an extra meal for them anyway? Can we put an extra dessert in a bag, just because we know that student had a tough week? Even though we are in Hamilton, can we make an extra effort so our Toronto or out-of-province students also feel a part of our community and send them mailings and deliveries so that they feel part of our programming? Having inclusive programming is a cornerstone of Hillel’s mandate. In a pandemic, even more so. 

I miss seeing the students. I miss hanging out in the Hillel office and chatting over a bagel and cracking jokes over the lineup at the toaster. I miss bumping into students on campus, catching up on their lives, and being part of a place where they come for comfort and support (and food!).    With all the programming and outreach we have done in the past 10 months, I hope that we can continue to maintain our virtual community. That even though we are not in person, our students know we are still here for them. While the medium may have changed, the sentiment certainly has not.

 

 

 

 


Judith Dworkin,
Director, McMaster Hillel

Hillel Ontario Welcomes University of Toronto’s Anti-Semitism Working Group

Hillel Ontario Welcomes University of Toronto’s Anti-Semitism Working Group

Hillel Ontario welcomes University of Toronto’s recent launch of a new Anti-Semitism Working Group. The Working Group will review programming, activities, processes, and practices in place at the University of Toronto’s three campuses and develop recommendations to support the University’s response to antisemitism.

“The establishment of a working group focused on antisemitism is a much-needed measure for the University of Toronto,” said Rob Nagus, Senior Director, Hillel UofT. “Too often, Jewish students who have faced antisemitism on campus have felt that their serious concerns around anti-Jewish hate were dismissed. Given the positive impact of recent anti-racism initiatives on the campus community, it is incumbent on our institutions to also address the unique challenges inherent to combating antisemitism.”

“Across the nine campuses we serve, Hillel Ontario is committed to working with all university administrations to champion the voices of Jewish students,” said Marc Newburgh, CEO, Hillel Ontario. “We look forward to supporting the work of the University of Toronto by ensuring these voices are heard and acknowledged. Doing so will help the Working Group better understand how contemporary antisemitism manifests on campus.”

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