Meet Seth

by | Sep 15, 2017 | Entertainment, Hillel Ontario, News | 0 comments

Who Are You?

Name: Seth Goren

Position: Vice President, Education and Engagement

Hometown: Oreland, Pennsylvania, USA (just outside of Philadelphia)

Where did you go to college/university? I went to the University of Pennsylvania for what seemed like forever (undergrad, graduate, and law school), and then attended Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion for rabbinical school.

 

Joining the Family

What is your role at Hillel? I’m going to be overseeing an educational and engagement vision setting for the organization and supporting staff and student learning.

What are you *most* excited for this year? Learning about how each of the campuses, especially staff and students, is different and special.

What’s one thing nobody at Hillel knows about you?  I love to cook, but I’m not so great at it (aside from soups, which I seem to be able to pull off).  I’ve baked cakes with the quantities of salt and sugar accidentally reversed.  I’ve made tomato sauce where the “secret ingredient” was Crystal Lite sugar-free lemonade.  (People said they liked it until I told them what was in it.)  And ask me about the unfortunate spinach quiche incident.  Shudder.

What do you think you bring to the team? I love listening to people and their stories, asking questions about who they are and why they’ve made certain choices, and learning more about what led them to where they are now.  I’m also a fan of convening and strengthening communities, connecting people to each other, and fostering a sense of together-ness.

 

Personal Favourites

Favourite Movie: “The Royal Tennenbaums.”  Or maybe “Moonrise Kingdom.”  The first is a fantastic pre-Yom Kippur movie about atonement and forgiveness, and the second is a beautiful coming-of-age film in which the children often act like adults (or try to) and the adults act like children.  Either way, my answer is definitely something by Wes Anderson.

Best Toppings on a Pizza: Ricotta cheese, tomato, and red onion, preferably on very thin crust.

Favourite Jewish Holiday: Lag Ba’Omer.  In addition to liking the bonfires and running around outside, I always think of it as the real beginning of summer.

Dream “Getaway” Destination: Somewhere mellow and warm with low humidity.  With lots of people I love all around.

Song Title that Best Describes you: I have to go with “You Can’t Always Get What You Want (But If You Try Sometimes, You Just Might Find You Get What You Need).”  That probably needs a little unpacking.  When I was a kid, I would sometimes tell my grandmother (may her memory be a blessing) that I wanted something that was, perhaps, a bit unreasonable (like, at one point, a horse).  My grandmother would say, “You know what Mick Jagger says?”, referencing this particular song title.  It wasn’t until years later that I found out that the following line in the song offers a bit of comfort and highlights the difference between what you want and what you need.  The upshot: I like this song because (a) it’s a good reminder for me to ask myself if what I’m asking for is what I want or what I need, and (b) it reminds me of my grandmother, who was awesome.

The Animal that best describes me is: I had a hard time narrowing this down, so I asked my six-year-old daughter.  She said I’d be a macaw because I’m pretty calm, good to talk to, and a vegetarian.  So, yeah, I’m a macaw.

Challah – Raisin or Plain? For regular eating, plain.  For french toast, raisin, extra eggy.

Favourite Hamentashen Filling: If we’re going with the classics, I’d have to say cherry, but I love some of the more experimental kinds (peanut butter and nutella comes to mind) even more.  Please, never give me the raspberry jam ones.  Blech.

 

My First (Virtual) Year at University

My First (Virtual) Year at University

The pandemic has caused school to feel very different compared to what I’m used to. I used to go to class and make friends in person. Now, all of my courses are online and it’s significantly harder to do things – even ask questions in class. Times have changed, so the way I make friends has changed too. One method I’ve used is to talk to people through the chat feature on Zoom during class. This way, I can still connect with new people and form new friendships.

Hillel has also helped me adjust and make friends at Ryerson University. Hillel invited me to many events where they displayed a lot of positive energy toward me and other students and made sure we felt welcomed and included. I attended a few virtual hangouts and met other students from Ryerson and UofT at the in-person hangout at Earl Bales park. They even sent me a welcome bag, which included a Hillel blanket, a toque and a water bottle.

Ever since I was accepted to university, I’ve wanted to be involved in the Jewish community. And, being a social person, I always loved being around and meeting people from around the globe. From the first day, the staff have welcomed me with a smile on their faces and have been excited to hear about my origins. My story feels different compared to other Jewish people, being from Romania. But the staff at Hillel have encouraged me to share my history with others and have helped transform my story into something to be proud of, and to learn and grow from it. 

Hillel cares a lot about people. The way they treat you makes you feel wanted and valued and it’s obvious that the organization is here to help students. Hillel has provided an amazing experience and I recommend them to any student that wishes to get involved in the community. I feel lucky that an older Jewish friend told me about Hillel and I’ve been part of the community ever since. 

Erwin, Ryerson University ’24

What Does Hillel Do?

We hear the question “what does Hillel do?” a lot.

To help answer it, watch the journeys of Jewish student leaders Gil and Sofia to get a sense of what Hillel student engagement looks like on campus

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