Israel Fires

by | Dec 4, 2016 | Hillel Ontario, Israel, News, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ein Li Eretz Acheret – I Have No Other Land

Lyrics by Ehud Manor

I have no other country

even if my land is aflame

Just a word in Hebrew

pierces my veins and my soul – 

With a painful body, with a hungry heart,

Here is my home.

I will not stay silent 

because my country changed her face

https://youtu.be/aLv8umv58u0

Over the past several days we have been inundated with images, videos and stories of the terrible crisis and tragedy that has hit the forests and cities of Israel.  Over 30,000 acres (the equivalent of about 70% of Washington, DC) of land have been torched, burned and destroyed.  Thousands of people have had to evacuate their homes not knowing when they will be able to return or even if they will have somewhere to return to.  

I spent a lot of time reaching out to students on campus who have families and relatives in Israel making sure they were okay, offering my support.  I reached out to my friends and colleagues in Israel including our former Jewish Agency for Israel Israel Fellows and UJA Shinshinim, also making sure that they and their families were not harmed by the fires.  Thankfully with international firefighting support and the coordination of Israel’s firefighting services the fires have been extinguished.

While we cannot see, the flames burning, we are left with the reality, the pain, and the damage that remains.  As in the past, once again, we challenged as a people, as a nation and as a country to unite and rebuild.  As our American friends finish celebrating their Thanksgiving season and we enter the holiday season, the season of peace, we must not forget that Israel and the people of Israel need our support.  Unity is best expressed when people, when strangers come together for a common purpose, a common goal and achieve it.  With the aftermath of the fires you can see a perfect example of this – people coming together.

I cannot help but think as we approach the start of the Birthright Israel trip season, what will the scenery our participants get to experience look like? The forests, The hills, The land? What color will they be?  What smells will they have?  What stories will they tell?

I urge all of us to do our part, GO and VISIT, help PLANT A TREE through the JNF Emergency Campaign or DONATE to another Israeli relief organization, REACH OUT to our former Israel Fellows and Shinshinim living in Israel.

Am Yisrael Chai!

Lior Cyngiser

VP, Israel Engagement & Education

Hillel Ontario

Hillel International Student Cabinet 2021-2022

Hillel International Student Cabinet 2021-2022

Jordan Goldenberg, Ryerson University ‘23 and Leah Goldschmidt, York University ‘22, are representing Canadian Jewish students on Hillel International’s global stage. Here’s how they’re enhancing the Canadian Jewish campus experience for years to come:

This year I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate on  the Hillel International Student Cabinet, as one of two Canadian representatives. I am honoured to join the board of  22 students from the United States of America, Israel, Russia and Brazil. 

Over the years, I have been very active in Hillel at York University, and was thrilled when Hillel York’s staff approached me about the opportunity to bring my enthusiasm and passion for Hillel on an international scale. 

Hillel has always been a safe space for me — somewhere I could go to feel comfortable about my Jewish identity, but also a place where I could meet other Jews on campus; some who have become my best friends. Although I only recently joined the Student Cabinet, I can genuinely say I have met some of the most incredible students and staff who are so passionate about the Hillel movement.

I am constantly amazed by the work Hillel students are doing around the world to support and connect the next generation of our community.. We have members who have founded their own Hillels at colleges with barely any Jews, members who are advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and have launched successful international LGBTQ+ cohorts, and members who are doing tremendous work in combating antisemitism. Being around such passionate and motivating students has inspired me to go after my own aspirations within Hillel; creating space for Jews with disabilities. 

As a student with a disability, I am very passionate about expanding space for Jews with disabilities, and while Hillel has taken great strides to increase accessibility and inclusivity; there’s lots more we can do. Hillel has given me incredible resources and support to launch my own projects within this space.

I am thrilled to be representing Canada in this incredible opportunity, and am looking forward to the year ahead.

Leah Goldschmidt, Hillel York

My name is Jordan Goldenberg, and I am a third-year student at Ryerson University studying business management. I am also the President of Hillel Ryerson. The Cabinet is made up of students from around the world, working towards the common goal of engaging Jewish university and college students worldwide. The role of the Cabinet is to serve as a voice for Jewish students and a means of connection to the worldwide Hillel movement. Being part of the collective voice means everything to me, and I am excited to be that voice for Jewish students amplifying Canada and Hillel Ontario’s role on the global stage. 

At the beginning of October,  I had the opportunity to go to DC with the Hillel International Student Cabinet. It was an incredible experience to collaborate with and learn from a variety of leaders in the Jewish community and the Hillel movement. I learned so much from our two student co-chairs, fellow cabinet members and Hillel professionals. We had the chance to get to know the greater Hillel movement through meetings with staff members from various departments and positions within Hillel International; including, but not limited to, the communications teams, board members, the CEO, Adam Lehman, and many more. We spoke at great lengths about the role each of our local Hillels play on our campuses and what we can learn from one another. Since the summit, we have already hit the ground running, with many students taking on various projects at both the local and international levels. I learned so much about the global Hillel movement and how to be a better leader for Jewish students on campus and in the community.

I have always been passionate about bringing people together and there is no better way to do so than collaborating with Jewish students and Hillel’s internationally. This international collaboration allows us to share our common values while celebrating our differences in order to create the best Hillel atmosphere and programming possible.

Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson

 

Something New

Something New

The fall post-holiday period is always a good time for launching new things. To the extent we’re not completely exhausted, our five-day work weeks are back (instead of five days of work crammed into three-day weeks), and we’re able to get into something of a rhythm and build momentum in moving toward specific goals.

Adding to the sense of newness and adventure, the third post-holidays Torah portion of Lekh Lekha, which was read this past Shabbat, begins with Abraham receiving divine instructions to leave his home and begin a journey to a new land.  Commentators highlight the uncertainty inherent in the command’s wording: instead of being directed to a specific place, Abraham, at least initially, is told to go “to the land that I will show you,” a vague and undisclosed destination. While he is promised blessings galore for his obedience, setting out requires an element of faith and quite a bit of trust as he leaves his home land and father’s house for somewhere new.

While it’s certainly several orders of magnitude smaller than the journey Abraham undertook, Hillel Ontario is trying something new this week: we’re introducing a new section to our regular newsletters and will be including a d’var Torah to showcase our students’ and staff’s skills and present our readers with a bit of Jewish learning. We hope you’ll find these commentaries inspiring and meaningful and that they’ll provide a glimpse of the Hillel Ontario community that spans our nine campuses.

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