Our Favourite 2019 Oscar Nominated Movies

by | Feb 22, 2019 | Entertainment, Hillel Ontario | 0 comments

Ah, awards season, that time of year when we spend our Sundays watching a three hour show, which turns into a three-and-a-half hour show. (When do they ever run on time?) We’ve already watched the Golden Globes and The Grammys, but tonight is Oscar night! Despite the lengthy show and lack of a host this year, there are some really great movies nominated. We asked the Hillel Ontario staff which Oscar nominated movies are their favourites, and here’s what they had to say.

A STAR IS BORN


What’s not to love about Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga? Not only was the movie itself amazing, but the soundtrack complements the plot and cinematography perfectly. Lady Gaga captivates us with her outstanding singing and songwriting in the most popular song in the movie, “Shallows”, which has been nominated for Best Original Song. Did you know that the song was co-written by Jewish songwriter Mark Ronson? Go figure!

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

A favourite in the Hillel Ontario office, and for understandable reasons! Queen is one of the most influential rock bands of all time, and this film portrays the rise of the band and its lead singer, Freddie Mercury. From the scene portraying the creation of their most famous song, “Bohemian Rhapsody,” to their epic Live Aid performance, this film is a must-see.

THE FAVOURITE


This film features notable Jewish actress Rachel Weisz. She’s been nominated for her strong performance as Lady Sarah Churchill, a cunning, politically astute and power-hungry woman who is Queen Anne’s closest advisor and friend. Her villainous performance makes her a frontrunner to win Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

GREEN BOOK


The Hillel Ontario staff unanimously agree that Green Book will win Best Picture of the Year. Green Book is based on the true-life story of a famous African-American pianist and a white Italian New Yorker. The two form an unlikely bond in the 1960s during a time when unabashed racism and overt segregation are prevalent in the southern United States.

FUN FACT! Did you know that, of 8,000 people who vote for this year’s Academy Awards, only one of them is a Rabbi? Read more about two-time Oscar winner Rabbi Marvin Hier here.

Happy Oscar watching!

Weekly D’var: Netzavim

Weekly D’var: Netzavim

This week’s parsha, Nitzavim, begins with an expression of the universality of God’s covenant with the Israelites. It wasn’t enough to say ‘all of you’ who are standing before God, rather, we are given a list of all those assembled before Moses as he instructed them before they entered the land of Israel. In this list, we see a hierarchy of social and religious significance; we are told that among those present are tribal leaders, elders, officials, men who have households, children, wives, and ‘strangers’, the servants.

Moses continues to remind the Israelites of God’s actions during their journey out of Egypt, the commandments they have been given, and the consequences of both living by and living against the conditions of the covenant. There are warnings of curses and anger and wrath and promises of blessing and sustenance and reward. This is, at its simplest, Moses’ final attempt to give the Israelites a moral compass, a sense of right and wrong in God’s eyes, as they finally cross into the land promised to their ancestors, but without Moses’ leadership.

There is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful pieces of language in the Torah towards the end of Moses’ instructions to the Israelites (Deut. 30 12-16):

[This instruction] is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it. I set before you this day life and prosperity, death and adversity. For I command you this day, to love your God, to walk in God’s ways, and to keep God’s commandments, God’s laws, and God’s rules, that you may thrive and increase, and that your God may bless you in the land that you are about to enter and possess.

As Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur near again, this week’s parsha is a reminder that when we are celebrating, showing humility and remorse, asking one another and God for forgiveness, we are equal. The opportunity to act righteously, care for ourselves and others around us, and enjoy prosperity is accessible and within the reach of every one of us, regardless of privilege and position, as is the opportunity near to us to turn from our misdeeds and transgressions towards goodness in the new year.

Shanah Tovah U’metuka
A Happy and Sweet 5783!

A New Hillel Home in Kingston!

A New Hillel Home in Kingston!

Kingston, ON – September 21, 2022

For 50 years, the Otterburn House in Kingston, Ontario was the home of Queen’s Hillel. Since 2018, however, Queen’s Hillel has been without a permanent location, necessitating the use of temporary rental space on-campus.

Over the past year, Beth Israel Synagogue invested in an intensive rejuvenation project to give the Otterburn House its first major update since 1992. Today, with the invaluable support of two community visionaries, we are excited to share that our Queen’s Hillel staff, Yos and Leora Tarshish, will be making the Otterburn House both their own home, and a renewed base for Queen’s Hillel. By creating a welcoming community grounded in their own lives, Yos and Leora will serve as a model for what Jewish living in all of its dimensions can be, and leverage the successful models of Base and Moishe House.

On behalf of Hillel Ontario, Chief Executive Officer, Rabbi Seth Goren said the following:

“Hillel Ontario has been striving to ensure that Queen’s Hillel once again had a space to meaningfully engage Jewish students in Kingston. Yos and Leora Tarshish have been working tirelessly to nurture strong and resilient Jewish students, build innovative micro-communities, and empower the next generation of community advocates. With the invaluable support of community philanthropists who are committed to the Kingston community, and to the future of Jewish students at Queen’s, Hillel Ontario could not be more pleased to see Hillel once again have a permanent home in Kingston.”

On behalf of Queen’s Hillel, Director, Yos Tarshish said the following:

“Leora and I are incredibly excited to be moving into the Otterburn House, and welcoming a new generation of Jewish students into a space that holds such a special place in the history of Queen’s Hillel. The space has been lovingly restored by the hard work of the Beth Israel Otterburn Committee, led by Arnie Palmer, Michael Springer, Richard Kizell and Mark Malinoff, and it is a true testament to the vigour and tenacity of the Kingston Jewish community. Jewish student life has been steadily growing in Kingston for more than a decade, and Hillel is at the forefront of ensuring that the Jewish community on campus is both vibrant and inclusive. We are honoured to engage Jewish students on campus in Kingston, and are immensely grateful for the opportunity to bring Hillel activities back to Otterburn.”

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Hillel Ontario is the largest regional Hillel in the world, serving nine universities, with a combined Jewish student population of 14,000.

For additional information, please contact:

Jay Solomon
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer
jay.solomon@hillelontario.org

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