Press Release: Hillel Commends Ryerson University Administration and Student Union for Committing to Host Annual Holocaust Education Programming

by | Dec 20, 2016 | News, Press Release | 0 comments

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Toronto, ON – Yesterday, the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) Board of Directors voted unanimously to institute a Holocaust Education Week on campus. A similar motion was brought forward at the Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM) in November, but failed to pass due to a student walk-out.

In the weeks following the SAGM, Hillel students and staff worked closely with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), StandWithUs Canada and Students Supporting Israel (SSI) at Ryerson to highlight the importance of a week dedicated to Holocaust education.

Hillel has also been in direct contact with the Ryerson administration to explore ways to collaborate and combat anti-Semitism on campus, including making Holocaust education a priority. Ryerson University’s President, Mohamed Lachemi, met with Hillel Ryerson following the SAGM and has been working closely with faculty members to ensure the implementation of Holocaust Education Week on campus. The campus programming for the upcoming International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on January 27th, is already underway.

Today, Marc Newburgh, CEO of Hillel Ontario, Sara Lefton, Vice President, Greater Toronto Area for CIJA, and Michael Levitt, Member of Parliament for York Centre, met with President Mohamed Lachemi. Throughout the past few weeks and during this meeting, President Lachemi assured the community of his desire to make Holocaust Education Week an annual and ongoing event on campus. To that end, President Lachemi and Ryerson faculty members will collaborate with Hillel Ryerson to create an annual meaningful learning experience for all Ryerson students.

“I’m thrilled that all Ryerson students will now receive Holocaust education as a result of the hard work of Jewish students on campus,” said Marc Newburgh, CEO of Hillel Ontario. “Holocaust education is an important piece of combating anti-Semitism on campus. We are very pleased that President Lachemi worked with us to resolve this matter and is making Holocaust education a priority. We look forward to continuing to work with the Ryerson administration and faculty members to make this week-long initiative a reality.”

“It’s a great achievement to finally pass this motion in favour of Holocaust Education Week through the RSU,” said Samantha Cooper, a graduating Hillel student who originally submitted this motion. “This success will ensure that current and future students have the opportunity to learn about the Holocaust and the importance of never forgetting.”

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Hillel strives to inspire every Jewish student in Ontario to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.

For more information, please contact:

Ilan Orzy
Associate Director, Advocacy
Hillel Ontario
416.913.2424 ext.3004
ilan.orzy@hillelontario.org

 

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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