We are Rachel and Ori, the Hillel Laurier and Waterloo presidents of 2019/2020. As we are all aware, this year has come to an end quicker than expected, which means both our Hillel presidency terms as well as our undergraduate degrees are coming to an end. Before we leave we would like to express how we’ve felt, what we’ll miss most, and what we hope for the future.
Over the course of the four years in which we’ve lived in the city of Waterloo, the Jewish student population has grown significantly. Hillel Waterloo and Laurier hosted Shabbat dinners that had an average attendance of 30 people. In our final year we are lucky enough to say that the Shabbat dinners we host now have an average of 80 attendees, with our most popular Shabbat dinners averaging at over 100 Jewish students. We feel so honoured to have been the presidents as we worked to make Hillel thrive this past year, contributing to the community we relied so heavily on when we left our Jewish high schools. It is due to the work of our amazing executive team and, of course, our fantastic directors that we were able to get to where we are today. All of the programming and all of the smiles did not happen by accident.
We believe that the programming that Hillel Laurier and Hillel Waterloo facilitate has been a key part of the success we see today. Shabbat dinners are especially fun for everyone, but believe it or not, they are only an eighth of the programs we offer. From bonfires and cookie decorating, to Holocaust education and study rooms, all the way to arcades and board game cafes, we plan programs catering to every Jewish student. Our personal favourite is musical havdallah.
We are so thankful for the experiences we have had with Hillel and the Waterloo Jewish community over the past four years, and although we are sad to leave, we are so excited to watch the next generation of Jewish leaders as they continue building this wonderful community. As the Waterloo community continues to grow in numbers, we have such pride that each new face will be met with an atmosphere of warmth, diversity, and a love of Judaism. Although it is impossible to predict exactly what the future has in store for our community, knowing that each new year brings new people, new ideas, and new perspectives, along with the same devotion and love of community, leaves us confident that the future is bright.
We wish all the best to next year’s executive team and to the Jewish community as a whole. We miss you already.
Written By: Ori Mezuman and Rachel Goldfarb