Meet Bev

by | Sep 14, 2017 | Fun, Hillel Ontario | 0 comments

 

Who Are You?

Name: Bev Shimansky

Position:  Chief Campus Officer

Hometown: Montreal, Quebec

Where did you go to college/university?  Mcgill University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University & Spertus College

 

Joining the Family

What is your role at Hillel? My primary role is to supervise and nurture the campus Directors and the Content team so they can create and enhance a vibrant Jewish life on campus. Through ongoing training, outcome driven goal setting and meaningful conversations, I hope to support our professionals as they develop their skills, innovate, stretch beyond their comfort zone and grow Jewishly.  Our strategic plan is incredibly thoughtful and extremely impressive. The mission and vision of Hillel Ontario inspires me deeply and I look forward to working closely with my colleagues to ensure that our priorities are anchored in our day to day work on campus and in our communities.  

What are you *most* excited for this year?  So many things! Hillel Ontario is an inspiring organization and I am so excited to be a part of this dream team! The commitment to recruiting & retaining talent is amazing! I love working in a culture that has a start-up feel anchored in real professionalism. There is room to innovate, take risks and pilot new ideas. Our branding is amazing, the organization looks and feels fresh and engaging. Our commitment to education is core to our work and we are collaborating with all our educators to ensure that our students will have meaningful and relevant pluralistic experiences. Lastly, I’m so excited to join the Ontario Jewish community. I’ve had such a warm welcome and it’s been so wonderful learning about the nuances of each campus and their unique communities.

What’s one thing nobody at Hillel knows about you?  I have dual citizenship in Canada and Israel

What do you think you bring to the team? I bring over a decade of Hillel experience, a heart filled with passion for this work, a ton of deep relationships with key stakeholders,  a soul full of Yidishkeit and a deep desire to strengthen the Jewish Student Community!

 

Personal Favourites

Favourite Movie: Toss up between Fiddler on the Roof and The Intern

Best Toppings on a Pizza: Onions, Black Olives, Green Pepper and Feta

Favourite Jewish Holiday: Passover – So many family traditions!

Dream “Getaway” Destination: Bali

Song Title that Best Describes you: Forever Young

The Animal that best describes me is:  A Jewish Dog 🙂

Challah – Raisin or Plain? Multigrain!

Favourite Hamentashen Filling: Prune

Stronger Together!

Stronger Together!

Over this past Family Day Weekend, I spent a lot of time reflecting both about the challenges we face, but also about the incredible strength and resiliency of this community. Jewish students are often at the forefront of hate and discrimination on campus and online, but we are at our most powerful – and most effective – when we work together as one.

With that in mind, I want to provide several important advocacy updates.

First, I am excited to share that Hillel Ontario has begun convening meetings to coordinate advocacy initiatives amongst Jewish campus organizations across the country. The time has come for Hillel Ontario to lead the way in encouraging cooperation to accomplish the goals we collectively share. Joining us in these monthly discussions are Hillel Montreal, Hillel BC, Hillel Ottawa, CJPAC, Hasbara Fellowships and StandWithUs. We appreciate their willingness to engage with us in these important conversations.

Second, I want to update you on the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) matter that galvanized much community discussion last week. In addition to endorsing a motion to divest from companies doing business in Israel, the union misrepresented the recently released report of the Antisemitism Working Group and its approach to what does or does not constitute antisemitism. Hillel views these type of divestment motions as part of a wider issue of antisemitism on campus, and we have made that point clearly and consistently to university leadership and members of the Working Group for the better part of the past year.

Late Friday, Working Group members released an important statement, which both criticized the rhetoric of union leaders, and vindicated our belief that hate speech directed at Israel, Israelis or Jews based on actions (real or imagined) of the Israeli government is antisemitism. This is an important moment; one that underscores why our approach to these issues, and the allies we foster across campus are so critical. While we may not be able to stop every divestment motion from passing, we can – and we will continue to – have our voices heard by university leadership to ensure antisemitism remains on the margins. This is precisely what happened last week at the UofT.

Jewish students deserve to study, live and socialize in an environment free from harassment and discrimination. Hillel will continue to condemn antisemitism, defend Israel and our right to self-determination, and build essential relationships on campus to secure the well-being of the students we so proudly serve.

And, we will do so in concert with our allies; because we believe we are stronger together.

Sincerely,

Jay Solomon
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Nature vs. Nurture, and Nate Deserves Our Anger

Weekly D’var: Toldot 5782 by Scott Goldstein

[Warning: Ted Lasso show spoiler] I just finished watching the second season of Ted Lasso, and I cannot get the image of the finale out of my head. Haven’t seen it yet? That’s ok, I’ll recap part of this week’s Torah portion as you go catch up and then tie it in at the end for when you get back.

When not detailing the intricate politics of well-digging and water rights, this week’s Torah portion takes some time to highlight our favourite biblical twins – Jacob and Esav (a.k.a. Esau). Some may even refer to this as the first twin study on “Nature vs. Nurture” (shoutout to my psychology peeps) ever recorded. We are presented with brothers that were raised in the same environment but turned out to be polar opposites. I’ll let you read the riveting stories of birthright transactions and elaborate deceptions on your own, but the narrative we are presented with is clear: Jacob is good, and Esav is bad. Here’s the problem I had with this narrative: If Esav was raised in a good environment, but still did bad things, then is the Torah telling us that our destiny is sealed by nature?

I just finished watching Ted Lasso, and I cannot help but think about how loveable Nate (played by Nick Mohammed) is a perfect example of what I think our Torah portion is trying to tell us. Ted Lasso (played masterfully by Jason Sudeikis) created a nurturing environment where Nate could grow from invisible kit manager to assistant coach that everyone loves. Despite all that, it comes down to the decisions Nate made to allow jealousy to influence his actions, leading him to leave Richmond FC and betray his teammates by joining West Ham United.

I think the story we read in the Torah is reminding us that both nature and nurture are really important (just as science does), but our decisions, ultimately, are our own. Whether it’s Esav going down in history as the ultimate example of bad decision-making or Nate likely being the reason we see Ted cry next season, the lesson is clear… be like Jacob because we can make good decisions no matter the circumstances.

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