As the largest Hillel in the global Jewish student movement, Hillel Ontario strives to inspire and empower Jewish students to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel. Through promoting Jewish identity, cultivating student leadership, and embracing diversity in an inclusive environment, Hillel Ontario enriches the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish community, Israel and the world. Hillel Ontario’s work, and our expectations for interpersonal and communal interactions, is guided by four key values.
Respect (Kevod Habriyot)
To emphasize our shared humanity, a traditional Jewish teaching holds that we are all descendants of a single, original human being, making no person inherently more important than any other and regarding each person as worthy of essential human respect and dignity (kevod habriyot). We believe in the essence of this teaching and that each of us holds both a right to be treated with dignity and respect and the obligation to treat others in this way.
Inclusivity & Pluralism (Eilu V’eilu)
The Talmud tells the story of a years-long dispute between two rabbis, each claiming that their argument was the legally correct one. A voice booms from heaven, saying that, regardless of who had the winning position from a legal perspective, “Both these and those (eilu v’eilu) are the words of the living G-d.”
Hillel is a pluralistic Jewish and Zionist organization, and we embrace diverse and often divergent perspectives and practices within those terms. We seek to reflect and apply principles of inclusivity and pluralism by supporting individuals as they maintain their own practices, respect the practices of others, and challenge themselves to understand and appreciate approaches that are different from their own.
None of this is to say that pluralism means having no boundaries or that anything and everything is acceptable; every community necessarily has shared expectations, principles, and standards, and Hillel Ontario is no exception. However, we are committed to fostering an environment where a broad array of diverse experiences and perspectives can come together and where we can celebrate, explore, learn, take risks, and grow from that diversity.
Social Responsibility & Interconnectedness (Areivim Zeh Bazeh)
Jewish tradition teaches both that the individual fate of each member of the Jewish community is intertwined with the fates of all others, and that each has obligations to those around them.
Our work is guided by both our commitment to Jewish values and our appreciation of interconnectedness.This mutual and multilateral social responsibility is reflected in part in how we understand the impact of our actions and responsibilities.
Enduring Commitment to Individual, Communal, and Organizational Growth & Learning (Livnot Ul’hibanot)
An early 20th century rabbi talked about the possibility of the Jewish people “building and being built” – livnot ul’hibanot – collectively and individually.
The evolving nature of our work, and the world around us, requires us to be self-reflective and to ask ourselves, ‘How can we do better?’. This enduring commitment to personal and organizational growth, as well as the duty to contribute to the betterment of others and the community as a whole, is at the heart of our organization and the very core of who we are as Jewish people.