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.

 

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

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