A Walk Down Memory Lane

by | Mar 31, 2020 | Jewish Life at Ryerson | 0 comments

As our time at Ryerson Hillel comes to an end, we started to reminisce on the days spent laughing with our friends and the nights spent pondering our future. All those beautiful thoughts quickly became overshadowed on the ominous Friday the 13th when Ryerson announced it was closing. How fitting of a day to find out life as we knew it would flip upside down.

Sitting in our student building watching everyone scream excitedly at their phones, we were sad because we realized all our lasts had passed without us knowing. That past Monday was the last time our crew skipped to the bathroom together on break, the last bubble tea date with friends between classes, and the last time we sat on the swingless swings that squeezed our hips a little too tight. It was a scary feeling knowing that the longer we spent downtown, the more coronavirus could spread around us. Yet, how could we leave if it would be our last time on campus as Ryerson students? There’s so much we still didn’t get to do during our time and we knew that once we left, that was it.

Although we may never get to do any of these things again, we do get the chance now to reminisce about how fun they were. And as our good friend, Or, constantly quoted from Winnie the Pooh himself, “how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

So, let’s be nostalgic and remember the good times spent with Hillel Ryerson:

Remember that time we got free Ben & Jerry’s on campus, or our party in second year when the weather channel put us on the giant screen in Yonge and Dundas square?

Remember the yearly multi-faith Shabbat dinners hosted by Ryerson when we got to socialize with all the higher ups of campus, or when we would laze around the loft while eating free lunches?

Remember that time when we listened to Geoff belt Pocahontas in Hebrew, or when we would pile up the bean bags next to the swings to create an American Ninja Warrior course? All of our Mario Kart and Just Dance competitions and of course, who could forget about working on Out of Sync for months and then having the time of our lives on stage as a team?

Looking back at our four years, it’s crazy to think how many changes we’ve had in our staff from 2016-2020. However, each group of staff brought a unique element to Hillel Ryerson that ended up making each year amazing. So we’d like to thank Allysa, Or, Emily G., Tehila, Emily C., Elyse, Leore, Einav, Mitchell, and Ashira for all the hard work they each put into making Hillel Ryerson the best.

To the various exec teams we’ve been a part of, thank you for being such an awesome group of people to spend the years planning and executing events with. You all became more than just team members to us and we know that our friendships with you all will last a lifetime.

With love,
Jess and Adina <3

Written by: Adina Saban and Jessica Kline

A Hillel Summer: Keeping Spirits High

My name is Stacey Ianco and I am going into my third year at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management. Hillel has been my home away from home, and has helped me embrace my Jewish culture, enhance my Jewish identity, and meet new people.. 

This year has been like no other we have experienced. Throughout these challenging times, I have felt lucky to have remained connected with my fellow students – especially through my involvement in Hillel. 

Especially given the year we just experienced, Hillel has been vital to my Jewish campus life. That’s why I was so excited to hear that Hillel programming was going to continue during the summer.

Hillels Ryerson, York and UofT teamed up to create the Summer in the 6ix program, and I knew I wanted to participate. 

In addition to receiving some really cool swag, Summer in the 6ix connected me with activities and programming I

 could engage in alongside (virtually) other Jewish students across the GTA. We baked and decorated delicious sugar cookies over a Hillel Zoom meet, sharpened our knowledge and competed with other Hillel students in bi-weekly trivia games, and customized our Hillel t-shirts with tie-dye. In a summer characterized by distancing and separation, Hillel brought me closer to my community.

To be sure, this has been a difficult year for so many reasons. I am so appreciative of all that Hillel does for Jewish students across the province. Especially this year.

I will continue to be an active member of Hillel for all my years of university and the future. Hillel has given me the confidence I need to be a proud Jewish woman and has enhanced my university experience in many ways. 

I look forward to being able to create more special events to include and connect every Jewish student in Ontario for many years to come.

Stacey I., Hillel Ryerson Student Leader

Multi-Faith Shabbat Dinner at Ryerson University

Multi-Faith Shabbat Dinner at Ryerson University

This year, I had the privilege and honour of co-hosting Hillel Ryerson’s Multifaith Shabbat Experience. This is an annual social and educational event in partnership with Ryerson University’s Presidents Office where students and staff from across campus come together to share a meal and welcome Shabbat. 

This year, the organizing committee was faced with the challenge of keeping the core values of our usual multi-faith evening while holding it over Zoom. The Jewish community in Toronto has been changing how they bring people together since the pandemic began, and have found many ways to creatively find community in these times. 

Our committee came up with a variety of ways to translate our event to a virtual space, including sending prepared Shabbat boxes to attendees’ homes with the necessary items to celebrate, and hosting an educational Challah braiding workshop. Additionally, we created breakout rooms during the event to simulate the conversations held while sharing a meal at a Shabbat table. Each breakout room was facilitated by a Hillel student leader who led a thoughtful discussion around the importance of rest, while also speaking to their own personal connections with Shabbat. 

Each year, the Multi-Faith Shabbat experience is an opportunity for Jewish students, faculty, and our allies to come together and celebrate Jewish ritual on campus. We celebrate the universal values of Shabbat through inviting student leaders of other faiths to speak about what rest means to them. This year, we were honoured to hear students from the campus’ Catholic, Hindu, and Indigenous communities present and share their experiences. We also welcomed student leaders from several other clubs and organizations including the Ryerson Indian Association, Ryerson Student Union, and the Ryerson Liberal Arts Society. 

Honouring and showing our appreciation to Ryerson University’s faculty and administration is also an important element to our event. This year we invited members, including the university’s newly appointed Director of Human Rights and Dean of Ryerson’s Law School, to recite the Shabbat blessings alongside our students. Typically, the evening is a wonderful way for students to network with staff, and so in replacement we created a second round of breakout rooms for students to engage with professors and administrators who related to their field of study. 

For me, co-hosting the Multi-Faith Shabbat Experience was the highlight of the year. I am so thankful to Hillel for providing us with the outlet to create meaningful social and educational opportunities, and help us all find ways to foster positive experiences during this difficult time. 

  • Jen Miller, Hillel Ryerson

 

My name is Adam Rose and I am a second year Performance Production student at Ryerson University. This is the first year I have taken part in Hillel Ryerson and it has been nothing but a wonderful experience. A moment that stuck out to me was attending the well-loved and highly anticipated annual Multi-Faith Shabbat Experience.  

Since the event was held virtually this year, I was asked to be a breakout room facilitator to recreate what would normally be networking in person. It was so much fun and an absolute pleasure to guide conversations with students, faculty members, and President Lachemi himself about topics concerning the importance of rest during Shabbat. We took the time to reflect and be grateful for the week that had just passed and looked forward to the week ahead. 

I was also lucky enough to have been asked to create an artistic work that correlated with the Hamotzi blessing (for bread) for the event. The inclusion of tangible elements like students’ artwork allowed the sense of community and personability, which the Multi-Faith Shabbat Experience is known for, to continue online. Displaying the selected pieces also had the benefit of showcasing and elevating the talent spread across the range of unique arts programs that Ryerson University has to offer. I am very grateful and proud to have been a part of this experience and excited to further my Hillel Ryerson journey.

 

  • Adam Rose, Hillel Ryerson
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