We Made History Today – Successful Outcome of Queen’s Park Anti-BDS Motion

by | Dec 1, 2016 | Hillel Ontario, Uncategorized | 0 comments

On Thursday, December 1st, 2016, the Ontario Legislature voted to pass a motion sponsored by Gila Martow, Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) for Thornhill, which affirms the Government’s stance “against any position or movement that promotes or encourages any form of hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in any way”. Furthermore, the motion “rejects the differential treatment of Israel, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement”.

This week, thousands of university students across the province played a key role in campaigning as many MPPs as possible to attend, and vote in favour of this motion. Through emails, phone calls, social media and several direct conversations with MPPs, students of all backgrounds came together in an effort to encourage their representatives to send a clear message rejecting the BDS movement, which has had an overwhelmingly negative effect on Jewish and non-Jewish students on campus and in our community.

Hillel Ontario is proud to have played a significant role in mobilizing thousands of students to stand up to the hatred and intolerance that the BDS movement has brought to their campuses. Hillel Ontario, in partnership with The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), worked hard to engage over 10,000 community members to spread this campaign throughout the Jewish and pro-Israel community in an effort to pass this motion.

Hillel Ontario’s ability to mobilize the students was crucial to the community’s success. We can not do this important advocacy work on campus without the generous support of donors like you. Please consider making a gift to Hillel Ontario in honour of this momentous victory and ensure our ability to inspire every Jewish student to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel.
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“I am extremely proud of the way our community, but in particular our students, came together and worked tirelessly to engage their MPPs in such a short amount of time,” said Marc Newburgh, CEO of Hillel Ontario. “Through our student leaders, our community partners, and Hillel professionals, we were successful at showing how important this motion is to the Jewish community, and how it will impact Jewish students on campus in the future.”


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