Welcome Back!

Welcome Back!

Written By: Jemma Kaczanowicz

Welcome Gael’s!

As the Program Coordinator for Queen’s Hillel, I’m excited to welcome you to another school year!

Hillel is a unique organization within the Jewish university experience. We offer space for students of all backgrounds to explore their Jewish identity and community on their own terms. Whether this is through socializing, engaging with others about Israel, working with Hillel staff and student exec to come up with innovative programming, or celebrating Jewish rituals, there is a place for everyone at Queen’s Hillel.

During the 2019-2020 school year, Queen’s Hillel will be offering a variety of programming from Shabbat dinners, Holocaust Education Week, welcoming special guests to campus, participating in the second year of Out of Sync, and more! I want to hear from YOU about the type of events you would like for us to bring to Kingston, so please reach out to me with your suggestions.

Becoming involved with Hillel at Queen’s University is an opportunity to explore your Jewish community while at university. Hillel is FOR students so, without your participation and input, we can not be nearly as successful!  So please reach out if you are interested in helping to make Queen’s Hillel fantastic this year!

I can always be found out and about on campus, tabling at events, hosting programs, or stop by our NEW club space in the JDUC Room 221. As I am still relatively new to Kingston, I am taking every opportunity I can to speak with Queen’s students to learn about what they would like to see on campus, to hear your Jewish story or to have you tell me all of your favourite places to grab coffee!  Please reach out to me at jemma.kaczanowicz@hillelontario.org if you would like to chat.

I wish you the best as you start another year of learning, growth, and exciting opportunities.


Dear First Year Me

Dear First Year Me

Written by Alana Spira,

Dear First Year Me,
Congratulations! You made it out of high school – Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to help you make the most of the next four years.

DO go outside of your comfort zone!
I know it’s cliché, but the most incredible experiences happen in the places you least expect.

DON’T eat only pop-tarts and Mac and Cheese.
I know it’s tempting, but this gets old fast. Throw an apple in there once in a while.

DO travel
Whether its at the Castle, an exchange, or a summer road trip, travel is a great way to change your perspective and learn about the world. Queen’s has some great experiences to broaden your horizons.

DON’T sleep through your Monday morning classes
Even though you hate that 8:30am calculus class, you will be glad you went at the end of the semester when you don’t have to scramble to learn 12 weeks of material in 12 hours.

DO make the most of all the amazing resources on campus
Whether it is the Peer Learning Assistants, who will help you create a study schedule, or the amazing Hillel Director who will help you find your Jewish home on campus. It can be tough being a first year student away from home for the first time. These resources are invaluable to helping you settle into this crazy little City of Kingston and making it your home.

DON’T Overplan 
It is great to have a goal and know where you want to go, but it is equally incredible to find things you are passionate about and see where those leads you. Sometimes the place you end up is a place you least expected, and is better than anything you could have imagined.

DO Get involved in clubs, like Hillel
It is an amazing way to meet some of your best friends and develop strong leadership skills. Hillel was my home away from home, a place where I started as a volunteer and became President. I was inspired by those who came before me, and mentored by those who came after me. I had the resources and support to plan events and create a community on campus. It is through this community that I met some of my best friends – people who share strong Jewish values and a love of meatballs and kugel.

DO Remember to stop and enjoy the experience
You are only in university once. It is easy to get stressed with all the assignments and deadlines, but take a moment to stop and connect with the people around you and the crazy things you only get to do at Queen’s – like walking around all day during Hoco or dancing all night at Bar Mitzvah Bash – it’s amazing how fast four years goes by.

Dear First Year Me, I am so excited for all Queen’s has in store for you. You are going to love it!
Love, Alana, The Bubbie of Hillel

Reflections on an Israel Experience

Reflections on an Israel Experience

Written by Jesse Wolfsohn, Student

Hello, my name is Jesse Wolfsohn. I am a third-year Biochemistry student, who has been involved with Hillel for two years now. Over the summer, I participated in a program in Israel that allowed me to become a medical responder and volunteer with Magen David Adom, the ambulance services in Israel. This was a fantastic experience that allowed me to experience the “true Israel” through living independently in a foreign culture, as well as helping Israelis from all walks of life. A case I thoroughly enjoyed involved taking a woman who was in labour to the hospital. She was squeezing my hand the whole time. I was overcome with such “Naches” knowing that I was helping and supporting someone in bringing a new life to this world. There were many events which provoked thoughts about the human experience. For example, one of my favourite cases involved helping a man who had fallen down to get back into his bed. An action like that was simple and yet meant so much. The sincerity that I felt in the “thank you” was immensely powerful, and that was such an amazing gift in itself.

The work involved a lot of on-the- spot, critical thinking and leadership, both of which are skills that can be used for organizing activities through Hillel. Furthermore, the experience gave foresight with regards to seeing individuals for who they are at heart as human beings, and not for external appearance. This perspective is something that I hope everyone at Hillel and the greater campus can share!

For more information about my experience, please check out an article that I wrote for the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin, as well as a Queen’s Journal article in which I was featured!