Toronto, ON – February 8, 2023 – Today, Hillel Ontario is proud to release findings from a student pulse check survey that was completed over the past three months.
Beginning in November 2022, Hillel polled hundreds of students to help the organization best meet the current needs of Jewish students on campus across the province.
In total, nearly 500 Jewish students in Ontario participated.
Of those who took the survey:
- 75% of respondents believed that Hillel was the most important voice for Jewish students on campus, and 68% of respondents indicated that Hillel was their ‘go to’ for Jewish experiences on campus.
- 75% of respondents indicated that their Jewish identity was central or very important to their overall identity.
- Almost 75% of students reported being somewhat, very, or extremely attached to Israel.
- Approximately 70% of respondents have been to Israel; and 80% reported being likely, very likely or extremely likely to visit again (or for the first time).
- 33% of respondents indicated that they felt enmeshed or very connected to Jewish community on their campus – an additional 39% said they were somewhat connected, for a total of 72%.
- 64% of respondents indicated that being part of a Jewish community was central or very important to their identity.
- 71% of respondents listed career and employment prospects as a stressor; 51% listed mental health as a stressor; and 50% listed antisemitism as a stressor.
- When it comes to antisemitism, respondents were most concerned about interactions on social media and the activities of student unions and student groups.
- 61% of respondents have refrained from expressing their opinion on Israel or Israeli policies in public or social settings because they were worried about being criticized.
- 56% of respondents have downplayed their Jewishness in interpersonal interactions.
- Almost 30% of respondents reported getting assistance around mental health. Over half of respondents wanted additional support, with therapy, yoga, and peer support being top choices.
Bev Shimansky, Chief Campus & Culture Officer for Hillel Ontario said:
“In order to best meet the current needs of the students we serve, we first need to ensure we fully understand the Gen Z reality. Through this pulse check, we confirmed what we have known to be true for some time – students are struggling with career prospects, mental health, and antisemitism. At the same time, students are looking for ways to connect with Jewish community and Israel on campus. The data derived from this survey will help guide our programming, and inform our organizational planning and priorities going forward.”
Jay Solomon, Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer for Hillel Ontario said:
“With almost 500 respondents participating, this is one of the most comprehensive surveys of Jewish students ever conducted in Ontario. We have always believed that Hillel’s role was central to the Jewish campus experience. This survey underscores the importance of our mandate, and the value of our efforts. The work of Hillel has never been more important than it is today.”
As the largest regional Hillel in the world, Hillel Ontario works to amplify Jewish campus life across nine universities, with a combined Jewish student population of 14,000.
For additional information, please contact:
Chief Communications & Public Affairs Officer