Press Release: Hillel Ontario Condemns Anti-Semitic Incidence At Ryerson University

by | Nov 30, 2016 | News, Press Release, Uncategorized | 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 30, 2016


Toronto, ON – On Tuesday, November 29th, 2016, the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) held an Annual General Meeting (AGM) on campus. A student from Hillel Ryerson submitted a motion she had crafted, calling on the RSU to commemorate the annual  Holocaust Education Week on campus by hosting events for students of all backgrounds to learn about this dark period in human history.

This student anticipated that her motion might be challenged by some members of the student body who would seek to politicize Holocaust education. She therefore included clauses in her motion that limit the scope of programs such that they focus solely on the genocide of the Jewish people in Europe.

At the general meeting, students voted to amend the motion to propose a week to commemorate all genocides. Hillel students advocated strongly in favour of dedicated programs for each genocide, but were reportedly told that “the Holocaust is not inclusive enough for all students to participate in” and “the majority of Jews on campus would oppose such a motion”.

Once it became clear that the amended motion would likely pass, a group of students staged an informal walk-out, thereby removing quorum from the AGM and blocking any more votes. Hillel students reported seeing several individuals block entranceways to the AGM and intimidate others who tried to enter after the walk-out had happened.

Hillel Ontario is shocked that university students would reject an apolitical week dedicated to Holocaust education, and moreover, that individuals would go as far as to block others from entering the room. It is deeply disturbing to see students engage in such blatant anti-Semitism. While we recognize that this hateful act reflects a fringe group of students, its negative impact on the Jewish campus community cannot be ignored.

Hillel Ontario and Hillel Ryerson will not stand by while our students are intimidated for being Jewish and for advocating in favour of Holocaust Education. We will continue to stand up to anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bigotry, and provide a safe and inclusive environment for Jewish students on campus.

-30-

Hillel strives to inspire every Jewish student in Ontario to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.

For more information, please contact:

Ilan Orzy
Associate Director, Advocacy
Hillel Ontario
416.913.2424 ext.3004
ilan.orzy@hillelontario.org

 

 

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

X