A Note from Marc Newburgh

by | Aug 23, 2016 | From Marc, Hillel Ontario, News | 0 comments

I’ve always been someone who loves change, believes in the need for change and gets excited about it. Change is an opportunity to start something new, to do better, and/or to create. For many, change can create anxiety. But it can also be invigorating.

The start of the academic year is a time on the calendar when things are always changing. Summer is winding down and students are heading off to University or College campuses. Many are leaving home for the first time to live on their own, meet new people, and explore new opportunities. It’s a significant time in a young adults life, and certainly one that involves change.

Hillel Ontario is heading into its first Frosh Week as, at this time last year, we didn’t exist. The organization was formed October 2015 when Hillels across the province were all brought together under one-umbrella organization. While this organizational change will enhance our ability to support Jewish students on campus, the core elements of Hillel will remain unchanged.

Hillel will always be a place for Shabbat dinners, social and cultural events, or simply a place to gather. It will always be a place where Jewish students can explore a trip to Israel, a leadership opportunity, do Jewish learning, or simply meet new friends. Hillel will always be a place where students are supported when confronted with challenges, whether personal or academic, or when confronted with anti Semitism or anti Israel activity on campus.

The start of the school year is also a significant time in the life of a parent. With their child leaving home to start this new adventure, it’s a new chapter that can be both exciting and fraught with anxiety. Hillel staff takes great pride in being accessible to parents, whether a quick email or phone call, to simply to let them now how their child is adjusting to campus life.

We encourage parents to join our new Parent Giving Circle, giving you an enhanced opportunity to invest in your child’s Jewish life on campus, be connected with other Jewish parents at your child’s school, and receive insider information about your child’s campus. Your son/daughter will receive a Hillel box of “swag” and other items, while you will receive our Parent Giving Circle newsletter and be invited to exclusive, parent-only events about Jewish campus life and how you can get involved.

As Frosh Week approaches, be assured that Hillel student leaders and staff will be out on campus ready to meet, greet and connect with both incoming and returning students. They will be available to discuss upcoming events, programs and opportunities. Look out for us when you arrive! On behalf of everyone at Hillel Ontario we wish you the best for the upcoming 2016/2017 academic year!

Written By Marc Newburgh, Hillel Ontario CEO

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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