A Message from Rob Nagus, Director of Hillel UofT

by | Nov 26, 2019 | Press Release | 0 comments

Hillel U of T is deeply troubled by a motion put forward for the upcoming Scarborough Campus Student Union (SCSU) AGM. While the SCSU has formally endorsed the BDS movement since 2013, recent actions indicate the possibility of fortifying that position and further aligning itself with the BDS movement.

This motion is problematic for two reasons.  First, in an attempt to “…reaffirm [the SCSU’s] commitment to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement…”, it personally and publicly attacks the SCSU’s VP External, Chaman Bukhari, for displaying an Israeli flag in his office, where he also displays a Palestinian flag.

In addition to this personal attack, the motion includes the following:

“Be it further resolved that, the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union refrain from engaging with organizations or participating in events that further normalizes Israeli apartheid;..”

This amounts to an institutional boycott of almost every Jewish organization, student and otherwise, and would constitute a clear example of systemic antisemitism according to the IHRA definition and alleging guilt by association against a broad swath of the campus community. In addition, this motion goes against a host of values that should be championed by universities, such as freedom of speech, freedom of association and respecting the rights of minority groups on campus.

Hillel U of T condemns this motion in the strongest possible terms and has been in touch with VP External, Chaman Bukhari, to ask how we can best support him and work together to release a joint statement at the AGM. We have also reached out to our contacts in the university administration and sent a letter to President Gertler asking him to address this discriminatory action.

We urge the University to intercede and take action to address this serious, antisemitic motion.

The upcoming AGM will be taking place Wednesday, November 27th, SY110, 5pm-9pm.

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.”

Hillel International Honours Hillel Ontario

Hillel International Honours Hillel Ontario

Hillel International recently honoured outstanding Hillels and Hillel professionals for creating innovative Jewish experiences and meaningful connections throughout the pandemic.

Among those recognized was Hillel Ontario, and its Chief Campus and Education Officer, Rabbi Seth Goren.

As a whole, Hillel Ontario – the largest regional Hillel in the world – was honoured with The Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz Innovation Award. This recognition is awarded to a Hillel for its creation of innovative processes that refresh, reinvent or revolutionize the relationships, communities and experiences helping students engage in Jewish self-authorship, or for helping staff improve the impact of their work by encouraging reasonable and calculated risk-taking, exploration, and curiosity.

In addition, Rabbi Seth Goren was honoured with The Richard M. Joel Exemplars of Excellence Award for his passion and outstanding devotion to the Jewish campus community, for enriching the lives of Hillel students and for ensuring that the organization reflects a culture of excellence.

I am privileged to work with such a talented, caring, and resilient group of campus professionals, led by Rabbi Seth Goren” said Hillel Ontario CEO, Marc Newburgh. “While confronted with so many significant challenges, this team has done an incredible job inspiring, supporting and empowering our students, creating meaningful and reimagined opportunities for connection that amplify Jewish campus life.”

About Hillel International
Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for more than 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities, and inspires them to direct their own path. During their formative college years, students are challenged to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives.

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