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

 

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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