Press Release: Jewish students band together to implement Holocaust Education Week on campus

by | Dec 12, 2016 | Press Release | 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 12, 2016

Toronto, ON- On Tuesday, November 29th, at the Ryerson Student Union’s (RSU) Semi-Annual General Meeting (SAGM), a Jewish student introduced a motion to implement Holocaust Education Week on campus. While the motion was being debated, students were heard making derogatory comments towards Jewish students. A walk-out followed ensuring that quorum would not be met. This deeply disturbing incident has taken an emotional toll on the students involved.

Holocaust Education Week is devoted to learning about the unique events that took place during the Holocaust, affecting not only the Jewish community, but also many other minority communities. A full week dedicated to learning about the Holocaust reinforces the importance of educating students on this dark time in history, helping to ensure these tragic events do not repeat themselves in the future.

StandWithUs Canada, Hillel Ryerson, and Students Supporting Israel (SSI) at Ryerson are very proud of the Jewish students for their leadership and their commitment to resolving this matter. Over the past week, our students have been in constant contact with the RSU and are very pleased with how supportive the RSU has been. As well, Ryerson University’s President, Mohamed Lachemi, reached out in support of the students and has been working with various Ryerson faculty members to ensure that Holocaust Education Week is implemented on campus.

StandWithUs Canada, Hillel Ryerson and SSI at Ryerson commend the RSU for speaking out against what happened at the SAGM. They have now agreed to take steps, along with the Ryerson administration, to ensure Holocaust Education Week will be implemented on campus and to combat anti-semitism.

StandWithUs Canada, Hillel Ryerson and SSI have made significant strides in working together as a community to support our student leaders, and are committed to ensuring the safety of all students at Ryerson University.

-30-

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

Zina Rakhamilova
Canadian Campus Coordinator

StandWithUs Canada

416 887 2224
zinar@standwithus.com

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

X