In this week’s parsha, Parshat Vayishlach, the Torah tells us about the famous story regarding Yaakov and the angel that he fought. One night, Yaakov went to sleep and in his dream, he finds himself fighting someone. The famous commentator Rashi states that this person that Yaakov fought was the angel of Esav, Yaakov’s brother. The fight lasts all night and ends with the angel tearing out Yaakov’s sciatic nerve and then blessing Yaakov, giving him the name Yisrael, because Yaakov struggled with both man and G-d and prevailed. At the end of this portion in the Torah, we are commanded not to eat the sciatic nerve, as a memory of Yaakov’s struggles.
My name is Stacey Ianco and I am going into my third year at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management. Hillel has been my home away from home, and has helped me embrace my Jewish culture, enhance my Jewish identity, and meet new people..
This year has been like no other we have experienced. Throughout these challenging times, I have felt lucky to have remained connected with my fellow students – especially through my involvement in Hillel.
Especially given the year we just experienced, Hillel has been vital to my Jewish campus life. That’s why I was so excited to hear that Hillel programming was going to continue during the summer.
Hillels Ryerson, York and UofT teamed up to create the Summer in the 6ix program, and I knew I wanted to participate.
In addition to receiving some really cool swag, Summer in the 6ix connected me with activities and programming I
could engage in alongside (virtually) other Jewish students across the GTA. We baked and decorated delicious sugar cookies over a Hillel Zoom meet, sharpened our knowledge and competed with other Hillel students in bi-weekly trivia games, and customized our Hillel t-shirts with tie-dye. In a summer characterized by distancing and separation, Hillel brought me closer to my community.
To be sure, this has been a difficult year for so many reasons. I am so appreciative of all that Hillel does for Jewish students across the province. Especially this year.
I will continue to be an active member of Hillel for all my years of university and the future. Hillel has given me the confidence I need to be a proud Jewish woman and has enhanced my university experience in many ways.
I look forward to being able to create more special events to include and connect every Jewish student in Ontario for many years to come.
Stacey I., Hillel Ryerson Student Leader