Shaping,
Nurturing &
Empowering

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.

Hillel embraces religious and political diversity in an inclusive environment, and supports a broad spectrum of students to make a meaningful impact on the future of the Jewish people and the world, while they grow intellectually, socially, and spiritually.

Through innovative campus programming, student leadership training, life-changing immersive experiences, and educational and religious initiatives, Hillel engages, empowers, and inspires the next generation of Jewish leaders to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, Jewish learning and Israel. 

And, this approach works. Quantitative data demonstrates that students who engage with Hillel are 90% more likely to take a leadership role in the Jewish community, 130% more likely to host Shabbat dinner for their friends and family, and 70% more likely to describe themselves as being very connected to Israel.

 

Impact at
a Glance

Hillel Ontario’s Impact At a Glance

Students who engage with Hillel are:

Students who engage with Hillel are:

Jewish students on campus today find themselves in turbulent times.

struggling to develop strong Jewish identities and loving, nuanced relationships with the Jewish community and Israel

struggling to find meaningful ways to welcome Jews who don’t fit their idea of what it means to be Jewish, and to universally provide a sense of belonging

feeling disconnected from the organized Jewish community, and oftentimes display a new generation of priorities, preferences, and identities that differ from that of the previous generation

facing a tsunami of ignorance and antisemitism on campus and online

They are:

In response, Hillel Ontario is…

Shaping and inspiring the next generation of confident and resilient Jews and Zionists.

Nurturing inclusive and welcoming Jewish campus communities that cultivate essential connections to the Jewish world – on campus, in Israel, and beyond.

Empowering students to advocate for their rights on campus, and counter antisemitism and all other forms of hatred.

Shaping
Resilient Jews

Shaping Resilient Jews

Hillel recognizes that Jewish identity is personal and unique, and elevates the importance of individual engagement, one-on-one relationships, and customized Jewish settings. Hillel’s multifaceted and pluralistic approach provides numerous entryways into what it means to be Jewish and to engage in Jewish self-authorship.

Being a strong and confident Jew also entails having the expertise and abilities to succeed in the wider world and to achieve one’s personal and professional goals. With this in mind, Hillel cultivates leadership and other skills integral to student life and beyond.

Students’ mental health was deeply affected by the pandemic. They struggled with loneliness, depression, anxiety and despair. During this dark and difficult time, Hillel’s work became more vital than ever. Hillel professionals provided one-on-one pastoral care, and built new wellness programs and communities to meet student’s changing needs.

Students’ mental health was deeply affected by the pandemic. They struggled with loneliness, depression, anxiety and despair. During this dark and difficult time, Hillel’s work became more vital than ever. Hillel professionals provided one-on-one pastoral care, and built new wellness programs and communities to meet student’s changing needs.

Courtney K

Nurturing
Communities

Nurturing Communities

Now more than ever, the Jewish community on campus is a ‘community of communities’. While every student is unique and has different interests, passions, fields of study and identities, they continuously search for meaningful connections with their peers and a deeper sense of belonging. Hillel recognizes the importance of specialized networks as part of the greater Jewish people and provides ample space for Jewish students to convene and forge friendships that last a lifetime.

Hillel recognizes the importance of celebrating Jewish students’ individual traditions as a critical element of our community-building efforts on campus. From food, to cultural experiences, to the varying degrees of religious observance, Hillel Ontario strives to integrate students’ customs into the fabric of our campus communities.

On the majority of our campuses, Hillel Ontario supports Rainbow Jews, which provides opportunities for LGBT2SQIA+ Jews to gather and build community.  Each group takes different approaches based on their particular interests: for some, the group serves primarily a social function, while others integrate Jewish learning and exploration.  Regardless of the direction, Rainbow Jews enables participants to integrate their Jewish and LGBT2SQIA+ identities and experience a feeling of belonging and shared experience.

Especially this year, fostering a supportive and welcoming community for Russian-speaking Jews was critically important. On each campus, a Jewski intern worked to create a community of Russian speaking Jews, and host programs of interest to this group. Through this initiative, students connected with each other, shared stories from their families and became more connected to their campus and to the wider Jewish community.

To me, Hillel is a safe space on campus for students like myself to come together as a Jewish community and it acts as a support system. I feel like Hillel is a way for me to connect to my Judaism and my Jewish peers while I’m on campus.

Rachel Altman
4th Year, McMaster Hillel

In my first year at Western, I didn’t know anybody else who was Jewish or Israeli for the first few months. This was difficult for me, as throughout my life I have grown up with others who share my identity. I felt alone. Once I joined Hillel, I felt as though I found my community. Hillel became a place where I was able to unapologetically be who I am and not have to explain my identity to anybody. People simply understood, and this made me feel much more comfortable in my new environment. To this day, I am so grateful I found this community.

I have learned that not all Jewish people look the same. Rather, there is a diverse range of identities that fall within Judaism. I love learning about the different cultural backgrounds of people involved in the club as well as sharing and exploring my own story.

Rebecca Sharer
3rd Year, Western Hillel

Empowering
Advocates

Empowering Advocates

Hillel Ontario has a unique advocacy strategy designed to confront antisemitism and anti-Zionism on Ontario university campuses by combating boycotts, promoting the globally recognized definition of antisemitism, and leveraging strategic relationships with campus influencers. 

Hillel empowers students by investing in advocacy professionals, embedded within each campus team, training and empowering Jewish and non-Jewish, pro-Israel students to become strategic and effective influencers and advocates, , building strategic alliances with leaders across campus, and educating the wider campus community about Israel, Zionism, and historical and modern antisemitism and racism.

Hillel also invests in immersive fact-finding missions to Israel, in which non-Jewish leaders are given the opportunity to experience Israel first-hand. This year, a delegation of nearly 20 students from Queen’s University participated in a mission to Israel, where they met with Israelis and Palestinians, heard from local experts, visited holy sites, and learned about the political complexities of the region. Participants of these trips range in backgrounds, and represent some of the most influential student organizations on campus.

Hillel has created a sense of community and belonging for me that I didn’t think was entirely possible at a large competitive university, such as the University of Toronto. More recently,  I had felt incredibly isolated and targeted for being Israeli and Jewish on campus. As if my nationality, religion, or appearance speaks for my opinions and ideals. Hillel granted me a support system, who without them, I don’t think I would have been able to return to campus. The support and motivation I receive from staff and students is unlike anything I’ve encountered and I am incredibly appreciative and indebted to them for allowing my undergraduate experience to be as freeing and exploratory as it could be. When encountering antisemitism on campus I always know I have a safe place to speak and be heard without feeling as if I need to be on guard to defend myself, and I am incredibly grateful to Hillel for granting me that sense of peace.

Netta Halevy
4th Year, Hillel UofT

Exemplar Awards

Hillel International’s Global Assembly (HIGA) made a virtual return this year, with the conference taking place online for the second year in a row. The annual Global Assembly brings together Hillel professionals from around the globe for professional development, networking, and continuing education. More than 1,000 Hillel professionals participated in the conference. This year, Hillel International recognized the exemplary contribution of two Hillel Ontario professionals — outgoing CEO, Marc Newburgh, and Senior Director of McMaster Hillel, Judith Dworkin.

Proud Moments

Proud
Moments

Hillel York built niche micro-communities to enhance engagement in student-driven programming.

Between the annual Bar Mitzvah Bash in December, as well as its first Shabbat dinner in nearly 30 months, Hillel Waterloo and Laurier hosted over 250 students.

Guelph Hillel ran an intensive Holocaust Education Week program in collaboration with the Central Students Association.

Queen’s Hillel doubled its engagement numbers this year and took nearly 20 student leaders on an immersive, fact-finding mission to Israel.

Hillel TMU piloted Walk It Off – an innovative, outdoor, community-building program aimed at supporting student’s well-being during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Western Hillel partnered with the university to create an antisemitism training module to be included in mandatory training for every student on campus. 

McMaster Hillel partnered with the Christian Reformed Ministry and hosted more than 100 students for a virtual survivor testimony during Holocaust Education Week.

University of Toronto removed graduate union funding being used to support the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions campaign against Israel.

Hillel Ontario hosted a roundtable discussion with Minister of Colleges and Universities, Jill Dunlop, and Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, and provided testimony to the Government of Canada’s National Summit on Antisemitism.

Major
Stakeholders

Major Stakeholders

Corporate Partners

Corporate
Partners

Imagine

$10,000

Invest

$7,500

Inspire

$5,000

Build

$1,800
?

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