Why are we standing On One Foot?

by | Jan 12, 2018 | Hillel Ontario, On One Foot, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Why are we standing On One Foot?

On One Foot has launched and we are jumping (on one foot, of course) with joy! As we all know, the third time’s a charm, so let’s kick the campaign off with a reminder of the successful past two years of On One Foot:

In 2016, this new and innovative peer-to-peer fundraising campaign was piloted on two of our campuses: Guelph Hillel and Queen’s Hillel. Together, they raised a total of $35,000 in five weeks to put towards their campus spaces. To sweeten the deal, we offered to buy a years supply of Wacky Mac for the team that raised the most. Stomachs started rumbling at Guelph Hillel, and they enjoyed their macaroni and cheese in their newly renovated house, complete with an outdoor room, a nap room, a beautiful modern kitchen, and a really cozy living room. They enhanced their experience in year two, winning again and being rewarded with a year of Netflix and Chill, not to mention their newly created Innovative Programming Fund.

But Guelph Hillel wasn’t the only campus that participated in On One Foot in 2017. Four new campus teams were added to compete with Guelph and Queen’s Hillel. In 2017, our impressive students raised a total of $105,000 to enhance Jewish campus life across the province. This is why students at Ryerson have a cool new Loft with two swings, Western students have a brand new, kosher kitchen, students at McMaster can actually feel comfortable chilling in their newly renovated lounge, and our students at UofT can finally call their Hillel space their Jewish home on campus.

There has been so much interest generated in the past two years that we are proud to say that we are going into year three with even more campuses participating. This year, students from seven of our campuses will be raising money to improve their campus experience: Guelph Hillel, McMaster Hillel, Queen’s Hillel, Hillel Ryerson, Hillel UofT, Western Hillel, and Hillel York. We can’t wait to see what exciting programs, renovations, new initiatives, and community support On One Foot 2018 will bring!

And now it’s time to hit the ground running! We can’t wait to see everyone in their slides after they get their first donation.

 

Something New

Something New

The fall post-holiday period is always a good time for launching new things. To the extent we’re not completely exhausted, our five-day work weeks are back (instead of five days of work crammed into three-day weeks), and we’re able to get into something of a rhythm and build momentum in moving toward specific goals.

Adding to the sense of newness and adventure, the third post-holidays Torah portion of Lekh Lekha, which was read this past Shabbat, begins with Abraham receiving divine instructions to leave his home and begin a journey to a new land.  Commentators highlight the uncertainty inherent in the command’s wording: instead of being directed to a specific place, Abraham, at least initially, is told to go “to the land that I will show you,” a vague and undisclosed destination. While he is promised blessings galore for his obedience, setting out requires an element of faith and quite a bit of trust as he leaves his home land and father’s house for somewhere new.

While it’s certainly several orders of magnitude smaller than the journey Abraham undertook, Hillel Ontario is trying something new this week: we’re introducing a new section to our regular newsletters and will be including a d’var Torah to showcase our students’ and staff’s skills and present our readers with a bit of Jewish learning. We hope you’ll find these commentaries inspiring and meaningful and that they’ll provide a glimpse of the Hillel Ontario community that spans our nine campuses.

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

A Message from Hillel Ontario’s Student Presidents

Dear students, parents, supporters, and other members of the Ontario Jewish community,

We are writing to you as the Hillel presidents representing nine universities across Ontario. 

We are often asked what it’s like to be a Jewish student on campus. And, in previous years, we would have taken a more upbeat approach to answering that question. The truth is that things have changed over the past 5 months.

Prior to this spring’s war in Israel, we had never experienced the level of vitriol and backlash that we did recently. We were caught off guard. Many Jewish students lost friendships and severed connections that had been created over many years. Our mental health was stretched to the limit; we have felt burnt out, isolated and anxious.  Even now, with autumn upon us, we are still feeling the exhausting effects of a summer spent advocating for the well-being of our fellow Jewish students. 

Walking back onto campus this week, it was difficult to see some students obviously (and understandably) anxious – both because of the pandemic, and because of the antisemitism Jewish students have experienced over the past several months. At the same time, we also feel more empowered than ever to proclaim pride in our Jewish identity, bolstered by the tremendous support we have felt from across the community.  

Whether you are a first year student, a parent, a sibling, an alum, or simply a member of the community concerned about what seems like an endless barrage of attacks aimed at Jewish students on campus, we want to assure you that as Hillel presidents, we are deeply committed to our roles and responsibilities. We hear your concerns. And, we are proud to serve the current and future Jewish students we support.  

We are working to build relationships with student governments, clubs, interfaith groups, faculty, and administrators on each of our campuses. We continue to empower our peers to learn, to educate, and to advocate for the issues close to our hearts. And, we continue to provide a safe and welcoming community for Jewish students, both on and off campus. 

We also seek to increase resources and staff available to our students so that no one feels unsupported or ill-prepared. We want Jewish students to feel like they can be their entire selves without having to hide a Magen David or avoid conversations about Judaism, Zionism or Israel. 

As we move into a new Jewish year and a new school year, we wish we could say with more certainty exactly what is to come in the next few months. However, it would be naive to do so. Instead, we would like to take this opportunity to commit to you that we will continue to have challenging, but necessary, dialogue with allies across campus. We will continue to support our peers when they feel uncomfortable. And, we will continue to ask for help when we need it. 

Time and time again, our collective history has proven that in a proud, empowered, and united community there is strength, and that from one another we can draw resilience. 

L’shana Haba on quieter, more inclusive campuses. 

Ariel Oren, Guelph Hillel
Evan Kanter, Hillel Student Leader Representative, Hillel UofT
Nathaniel Katz, Queen’s Hillel
Shira Miller, Hillel Laurier
Danielle Lebowitz, Hillel Waterloo
Hannah Silverman, McMaster Hillel
Jordan Goldenberg, Hillel Ryerson
Isabel Borisov, Western Hillel
Nicole Bodenstein, York Hillel

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