University of Toronto Kosher Forward Campaign

by | Nov 26, 2019 | Press Release | 0 comments

Last week, Hillel UofT experienced a significant incident of antisemitism from the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) in response to a Jewish student’s request for support of Hillel’s Kosher Forward campaign, aimed at bringing kosher food options to campus. A spokesperson for the UTGSU responded to this request by informing the student that this request didn’t align with “the will of the membership” because Hillel is pro-Israel. The UTGSU’s inability to separate the needs of Jewish students on campus from their opinion on the Jewish state was, and remains, deeply concerning and is certainly a form of antisemitism as outlined in the IHRA definition of antisemitism.

Today, representatives from Hillel UofT and Hillel Ontario met with Executive Committee members of the UTGSU to discuss this incident. The spokesperson in question issued an apology to the Jewish graduate student and to the Hillel representatives for their actions and has formally resigned from their position at the UTGSU as a result of this incident. Furthermore, there was discussion about the UTGSU and Hillel UofT co-sponsoring a workshop on antisemitism aimed at educating campus community members about hatred toward Jews and how to be true allies in the fight against it. We hope this discussion will produce positive results in the future.

Following the meeting, the UTGSU issued a formal apology addressing the antisemitic nature of their remarks and outlining steps they will take in the near future to ensure this issue does not repeat itself, including openness to working with Hillel to conduct a workshop on antisemitism for the entire campus community and a willingness to bring forward a motion to support the Kosher Forward campaign. Hillel UofT is grateful for this statement and thanks the UTGSU for taking this issue seriously.

Over the past week, countless media outlets have reported on this incident and there has been a tremendous show of support for Hillel’s Jewish campus locally and globally. Jewish students at UofT have felt this support and are better served when the Jewish community unites together to end the spread of antisemitism on campus. Hillel UofT remains committed to ensuring the safety of our students through the services we provide them every day.

For further inquiries, please contact:
Rob Nagus
Senior Director
Hillel at The University of Toronto

Hillel Ontario Welcomes University of Toronto’s Anti-Semitism Working Group

Hillel Ontario Welcomes University of Toronto’s Anti-Semitism Working Group

Hillel Ontario welcomes University of Toronto’s recent launch of a new Anti-Semitism Working Group. The Working Group will review programming, activities, processes, and practices in place at the University of Toronto’s three campuses and develop recommendations to support the University’s response to antisemitism.

“The establishment of a working group focused on antisemitism is a much-needed measure for the University of Toronto,” said Rob Nagus, Senior Director, Hillel UofT. “Too often, Jewish students who have faced antisemitism on campus have felt that their serious concerns around anti-Jewish hate were dismissed. Given the positive impact of recent anti-racism initiatives on the campus community, it is incumbent on our institutions to also address the unique challenges inherent to combating antisemitism.”

“Across the nine campuses we serve, Hillel Ontario is committed to working with all university administrations to champion the voices of Jewish students,” said Marc Newburgh, CEO, Hillel Ontario. “We look forward to supporting the work of the University of Toronto by ensuring these voices are heard and acknowledged. Doing so will help the Working Group better understand how contemporary antisemitism manifests on campus.”

Hillel International Honours Hillel Ontario

Hillel International Honours Hillel Ontario

Hillel International recently honoured outstanding Hillels and Hillel professionals for creating innovative Jewish experiences and meaningful connections throughout the pandemic.

Among those recognized was Hillel Ontario, and its Chief Campus and Education Officer, Rabbi Seth Goren.

As a whole, Hillel Ontario – the largest regional Hillel in the world – was honoured with The Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz Innovation Award. This recognition is awarded to a Hillel for its creation of innovative processes that refresh, reinvent or revolutionize the relationships, communities and experiences helping students engage in Jewish self-authorship, or for helping staff improve the impact of their work by encouraging reasonable and calculated risk-taking, exploration, and curiosity.

In addition, Rabbi Seth Goren was honoured with The Richard M. Joel Exemplars of Excellence Award for his passion and outstanding devotion to the Jewish campus community, for enriching the lives of Hillel students and for ensuring that the organization reflects a culture of excellence.

I am privileged to work with such a talented, caring, and resilient group of campus professionals, led by Rabbi Seth Goren” said Hillel Ontario CEO, Marc Newburgh. “While confronted with so many significant challenges, this team has done an incredible job inspiring, supporting and empowering our students, creating meaningful and reimagined opportunities for connection that amplify Jewish campus life.”

About Hillel International
Founded in 1923, Hillel has been enriching the lives of Jewish students for more than 90 years. Today, Hillel International is a global organization that welcomes students of all backgrounds and fosters an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning and Israel. Hillel is dedicated to enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world. As the largest Jewish student organization in the world, Hillel builds connections with emerging adults at more than 550 colleges and universities, and inspires them to direct their own path. During their formative college years, students are challenged to explore, experience, and create vibrant Jewish lives.

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