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

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.

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

Dear students, parents, supporters, and other members of the Ontario Jewish community,

We are writing to you as the Hillel presidents representing nine universities across Ontario. 

We are often asked what it’s like to be a Jewish student on campus. And, in previous years, we would have taken a more upbeat approach to answering that question. The truth is that things have changed over the past 5 months.

Prior to this spring’s war in Israel, we had never experienced the level of vitriol and backlash that we did recently. We were caught off guard. Many Jewish students lost friendships and severed connections that had been created over many years. Our mental health was stretched to the limit; we have felt burnt out, isolated and anxious.  Even now, with autumn upon us, we are still feeling the exhausting effects of a summer spent advocating for the well-being of our fellow Jewish students. 

Walking back onto campus this week, it was difficult to see some students obviously (and understandably) anxious – both because of the pandemic, and because of the antisemitism Jewish students have experienced over the past several months. At the same time, we also feel more empowered than ever to proclaim pride in our Jewish identity, bolstered by the tremendous support we have felt from across the community.  

Whether you are a first year student, a parent, a sibling, an alum, or simply a member of the community concerned about what seems like an endless barrage of attacks aimed at Jewish students on campus, we want to assure you that as Hillel presidents, we are deeply committed to our roles and responsibilities. We hear your concerns. And, we are proud to serve the current and future Jewish students we support.  

We are working to build relationships with student governments, clubs, interfaith groups, faculty, and administrators on each of our campuses. We continue to empower our peers to learn, to educate, and to advocate for the issues close to our hearts. And, we continue to provide a safe and welcoming community for Jewish students, both on and off campus. 

We also seek to increase resources and staff available to our students so that no one feels unsupported or ill-prepared. We want Jewish students to feel like they can be their entire selves without having to hide a Magen David or avoid conversations about Judaism, Zionism or Israel. 

As we move into a new Jewish year and a new school year, we wish we could say with more certainty exactly what is to come in the next few months. However, it would be naive to do so. Instead, we would like to take this opportunity to commit to you that we will continue to have challenging, but necessary, dialogue with allies across campus. We will continue to support our peers when they feel uncomfortable. And, we will continue to ask for help when we need it. 

Time and time again, our collective history has proven that in a proud, empowered, and united community there is strength, and that from one another we can draw resilience. 

L’shana Haba on quieter, more inclusive campuses. 

Ariel Oren, Guelph Hillel
Evan Kanter, Hillel Student Leader Representative, Hillel UofT
Nathaniel Katz, Queen’s Hillel
Shira Miller, Hillel Laurier
Danielle Lebowitz, Hillel Waterloo
Hannah Silverman, McMaster Hillel
Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson
Isabel Borisov, Western Hillel
Nicole Bodenstein, York Hillel

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