Press Release: Hillel Ontario Announces Schwartz/Reisman $1M Investment in Campus Advocacy

by | Feb 4, 2019 | Press Release | 0 comments

Toronto, ON — Today, Hillel Ontario announced a new investment in campus advocacy thanks to a $1M gift by The Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation. The gift will be used over three years to hire advocacy professionals that will join local Hillel campus teams across Ontario.

The Hillel Ontario campuses to benefit from the new strategy are Western, Ryerson, York, and McMaster.

“Hillel is the only organization that is on campus every single day, supporting students who are on the front line, fighting antisemitism and opposing those who demonize Israel,” said Gerald Schwartz. “We challenge community members who care about Jewish students to step up and join us in supporting this new strategy so that it can be expanded to other campuses across Ontario.”

The gift will be used to fund staff resources, specialized professional development and training, advocacy programming, and encompasses a comprehensive professional evaluation of campus climate and attitudes towards Israel and the Jewish community.

“Our mission is to ensure that every Jewish student is inspired to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel,” said Marc Newburgh, Hillel Ontario CEO. “An environment in which Jewish students feel safe expressing their identity and connection with Israel is essential to nurturing a vibrant Jewish community on campus and an integral piece of Hillel Ontario’s strategic plan. This transformative gift will empower Hillel students to confront antisemitism, challenge hateful BDS initiatives, and foster strong relationships with university administrators, faculty members, student government and other campus leaders.”

Additional Background

  • Hillel Ontario has retained Rosov Consulting to conduct a comprehensive three-year study of the impact of this investment on campus climate and attitudes towards Israel at the four recipient campuses. Rosov will report its findings to the community each year to demonstrate measurable and tangible impact, share best practices and continue to refine and improve Hillel’s advocacy strategy.

About Hillel Ontario: As an affiliate of the largest Jewish student organization in the world, and now the largest global regional Hillel system, Hillel Ontario works to amplify Jewish campus life across nine universities, with a combined Jewish student population of over 13,000.

Hillel engages with, empowers, and inspires the leadership of more Jewish university and college students than all other endeavours combined. By promoting Jewish identity through life-changing trips and campus initiatives, cultivating student leadership and embracing religious, and political, diversity in an inclusive environment, students learn to make a meaningful impact on the future of the Jewish people and the world, while they grow intellectually, socially, and spiritually.

 

For more information please contact:

 

Ilan Orzy
Director, Advocacy & Issues Management
Hillel Ontario
ilan.orzy@hillelontario.org | 416-913-2424 x 5

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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