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

Weekly Dvar Torah

Weekly Dvar Torah

Ki Tavo: In this week’s parsha, Ki Tavo, Moshe reminds the Jews that we are עם סגולה – am segulah typically translated as “The Chosen People.” Standing alone, the Hebrew word סגולה – segulah translates to “virtue,” defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as “a behaviour showing high moral standard.”.

What do being the Chosen People and “virtue” have to do with one another? We were chosen, but acting with virtue is a choice one makes. The two seem quite different in definitive qualities, but despite their semantic differences, virtue can be seen as either a responsibility or quality of being the Chosen People.

Jews have seen themselves  as the Chosen People, and in accordance with the Peter Parker principle, great power comes with great responsibility. We have a responsibility to act as the Chosen People, to act with virtue, to act in accordance with integrity and high moral standard. We often speak of this as a קידוש השם – kiddush ha-shem an action or showing of behaviour exemplifying our expectations acting with high morality.

This summer, I had the opportunity to work at a summer camp in Peterborough, a place in which the concept of a Jew is quite foreign. Prior to every trip we took our campers on, we discussed with them the importance of making a kiddush ha-shem. While these conversations varied with each age group, the youngest of our campers appeared to be the most moved and inspired. While sitting at an ice cream store after a day of mini golf, an 8-year old camper approached me and stated that we should be careful to pick up all of our garbage before we leave “to make a kiddush ha-shem because we are am segulah!”

I wish for us all that we may find the same pride in being am segulah as the 8-year old camper, and we may always act in a virtuous manner.

– Jessica Gelbard