Israel education is a core component of our Hillel programming and, despite challenges related to public health restrictions in Kingston, we were fortunate enough to be able to plan a week full of impactful, educational programming focusing on Israeli food, culture, and art.
The week kicked off with a cooking lesson from Einat Partin – an incredible Israeli chef we secured through a collaboration with the Canadian Zionist Federation. Participants were given a gift card to Metro to buy the ingredients in advance, and we were asked to cook along with chef Einat. All four recipes were dishes you might find in an Israeli shuk (market), including cheese bourekas, malabi and sabich.
Our second event was a film screening of “Blessed.” We had the whole Screening Room at Queen’s University to ourselves to watch the film all together on the big screen. This film explores the topic of Mizrahi culture in Israel by examining the dynamics between two sisters as they prepare for the younger sister’s henna ceremony. Following the film, our Hillel director, Yos, facilitated an interesting conversation about the movie’s topic and how it had related to our lives as Jewish Canadians.
The final event consisted of a paint night which was led by Sydney Leith in which participants painted the Yafo beach landscape in Tel Aviv. Each participant was given a canvas, different sized paint brushes and paint. The night consisted of music and lots of Israeli art.
Queen’s Hillel’s Israel Week was important for many different reasons. Firstly, Israel is an essential component of our Jewish education and our lives as young Jews. Showcasing Israel in a way that is educational and fun allows us to connect more deeply with a part of our identity.
Israel Week educated many students about Israel, who may not have been as familiar with the culture, land and people. Many students’ housemates and friends joined the cooking lesson, and had the opportunity to build new connections around Israeli food in an interesting and engaging way.
Finally, I believe that dedicating a week towards discussing and learning about Israel does not mean that we need to have contentious political discussions about the conflict. Rather, through Hillel, we were able to make Israel relatable and engaging, and allowed us to share our culture with both old and new friends alike.
- Alisha Levine ‘23, Israel Education Committee Chair