Happy Channukah from Hillel Ontario’s Board of Directors

by | Dec 23, 2016 | Hillel Board, Hillel Ontario, Jewish Holiday | 0 comments

Written by Micki Mizrahi, Chair

Rabbi Hillel declared: “A single candle can light a thousand more without diminishing itself.” Tomorrow night, the Jewish world along with Jewish students who have been impacted by their campus Hillel, most of whom are home with their families, will be lighting the Chanukah candles. We will witness that the Shamash flame will not be diminished as it lights the first candle.

Hillel Ontario’s Board of Directors wanted to reflect on the accomplishments that our talented Hillel professionals have supported and executed, and share our collective successes from 2016. These achievements have demonstrated that one candle, one student, one Hillel professional, one volunteer, one Hillel partner organization, can light many other candles, students, Hillel professionals, volunteers, and Hillel partner organizations without diminishing itself. These lights that are strong enough to influence and inspire thousands are:

  • The innovative student who impacted over 3000 students at Guelph University when she organized a replica of a German cattle car to be on campus during Holocaust Education Week
  • The highest attended AGM and largest community event to date where Eric Fingerhut, President and CEO of Hillel International discussed the trends, successes, and challenges across university Campuses. He was joined at the community event with Adam Minsky (President and CEO, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto), Shimon Fogel (Executive Director, CIJA) and Marc Newburgh (CEO, Hillel Ontario)
  • The group of community lay and professional leaders who helped develop the brand new Hillel Ontario Strategic Plan to launch our regional Hillel as the largest one in the world and has now been used as a model of excellence at Hillel International Board of Directors meetings and the JFNA General Assembly (where we sponsored 5 Hillel student leaders to participate in the conference)
  • The partnering with CIJA to help the anti-BDS Motion at Queen’s Park succeed where in 48 hours, Hillel students were mobilized and actively helped provincial MPPs understand the importance of their positive vote
  • The winning an award from Hillel International for our fundraising initiative On One Foot, which has now been adopted by campuses all over North America.

On behalf of our devoted Board of Directors, I’d like to thank the remarkable Marc Newburgh and all of the Hillel Ontario professionals, student leaders and generous donors who are ensuring that Jewish life on campus is strong and vibrant and as bright as the beautifully lit Chanukiah.

All my best,
Micki Mizrahi, Chair, Hillel Ontario Board of Directors

 

Board of Directors: Marcy Abramsky, Michael Diamond, Yona Elishis, Daniel Ferman, Yael Karol, Noah Kochman, Michael Kuhl, Pamela Kuhl, Leanne Matlow, Henry Morton, Jeremy Pertman, Ed Prutschi, Stephen Shore, Allan Weinbaum

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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