A Year Like No Other

The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic were both numerous and sobering. Flagship programs, aimed at fostering meaningful Jewish campus life and enduring connections to Israel, like Shabbat dinners, holiday celebrations, educational lectures and interfaith programming became impossible to do face-to-face. For an organization that prioritizes people and relationships, the struggle to maintain social connection weighed heavily.

Yet, in a year with so many challenges, glimmers of light, displays of resilience and kindness, and innovative entrepreneurship emerged, offering hope for the brighter days that surely lay ahead.

Supporting approximately 14,000 Jewish students at nine universities, Hillel Ontario – now the largest Hillel in the world – empowers students to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.

We are also at the forefront of campus advocacy. Our robust advocacy agenda seeks to reduce antisemitism and anti-Zionism on campus by combating BDS, hosting intensive fact-finding missions to Israel, building coalitions across ethnic, political and religious lines, and maintaining relationships with university leaders.

Even this year…
Especially this year…
Hillel Ontario has accomplished
much for which we can be proud!

A Year Like No Other

The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic were both numerous and sobering. Flagship programs, aimed at fostering meaningful Jewish campus life and enduring connections to Israel, like Shabbat dinners, holiday celebrations, educational lectures and interfaith programming became impossible to do face-to-face. For an organization that prioritizes people and relationships, the struggle to maintain social connection weighed heavily.

Yet, in a year with so many challenges, glimmers of light, displays of resilience and kindness, and innovative entrepreneurship emerged, offering hope for the brighter days that surely lay ahead.

Supporting approximately 14,000 Jewish students at nine universities, Hillel Ontario – now the largest Hillel in the world – empowers students to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.

We are also at the forefront of campus advocacy. Our robust advocacy agenda seeks to reduce antisemitism and anti-Zionism on campus by combating BDS, hosting intensive fact-finding missions to Israel, building coalitions across ethnic, political and religious lines, and maintaining relationships with university leaders.

Even this year…
Especially this year…
Hillel Ontario has accomplished
much for which we can be proud!

A Year Like No Other

The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic were both numerous and sobering. Flagship programs, aimed at fostering meaningful Jewish campus life and enduring connections to Israel, like Shabbat dinners, holiday celebrations, educational lectures and interfaith programming became impossible to do face-to-face. For an organization that prioritizes people and relationships, the struggle to maintain social connection weighed heavily.

Yet, in a year with so many challenges, glimmers of light, displays of resilience and kindness, and innovative entrepreneurship emerged, offering hope for the brighter days that surely lay ahead.

Supporting approximately 14,000 Jewish students at nine universities, Hillel Ontario – now the largest Hillel in the world – empowers students to make an enduring commitment to Jewish life, learning, and Israel.

We are also at the forefront of campus advocacy. Our robust advocacy agenda seeks to reduce antisemitism and anti-Zionism on campus by combating BDS, hosting intensive fact-finding missions to Israel, building coalitions across ethnic, political and religious lines, and maintaining relationships with university leaders.

Even this year…
Especially this year…
Hillel Ontario has accomplished
much for which we can be proud!

Investing in Talent

Talent has always been at the heart of our mission and our strategy.

Throughout the year, Hillel Ontario professionals maintained a presence on all of our nine campuses.

That said, the pandemic necessitated painful reductions to our professional complement this year, which challenged us to find new ways to reach students. To most effectively fulfill our mandate, our optimal campus-facing staff-to-student ratio is 1:300. This year, our organizational ratio was more than double that (1:783), with an even bigger gap at our two largest campuses: Western (1:1200) and York (1:1500).

As we look forward to a post-pandemic reality, our ability to reinvest in talent is paramount, and is a central pillar of our forward-looking agenda.

Stick Figures Working Together

Investing in Talent

Talent has always been at the heart of our mission and our strategy.

Throughout the year, Hillel Ontario professionals maintained a presence on all of our nine campuses.

That said, the pandemic necessitated painful reductions to our professional complement this year, which challenged us to find new ways to reach students. To most effectively fulfill our mandate, our optimal campus-facing staff-to-student ratio is 1:300. This year, our organizational ratio was more than double that (1:783), with an even bigger gap at our two largest campuses: Western (1:1200) and York (1:1500).

As we look forward to a post-pandemic reality, our ability to reinvest in talent is paramount, and is a central pillar of our forward-looking agenda.

Stick Figures Working Together

Investing in Talent

Talent has always been at the heart of our mission and our strategy.

Throughout the year, Hillel Ontario professionals maintained a presence on all of our nine campuses.

That said, the pandemic necessitated painful reductions to our professional complement this year, which challenged us to find new ways to reach students. To most effectively fulfill our mandate, our optimal campus-facing staff-to-student ratio is 1:300. This year, our organizational ratio was more than double that (1:783), with an even bigger gap at our two largest campuses: Western (1:1200) and York (1:1500).

As we look forward to a post-pandemic reality, our ability to reinvest in talent is paramount, and is a central pillar of our forward-looking agenda.

Stick Figures Working Together

Empowering Students

We measure our impact by
two essential metrics:

Breadth

The number of Jewish students who have had one or more interactions with Hillel over the course of an academic year.

Depth

The number of Jewish students who have had 6 or more interactions, or a high impact experience, with Hillel over the course of an academic year.

This year, Hillel Ontario’s breadth and depth, per campus-facing staff, increased 15% and 8% respectively over the same period one year earlier; underscoring the impact talent has on our ability to engage and empower students.

Even with in-person operations suspended, Hillel Ontario’s overall breadth and depth remained relatively constant over the past two academic years. Breadth and depth during this academic year were nearly 90% of February 2019, and 96% of March 2019.

This year Hillel Ontario…

Empowering
Students

We measure our impact by
two essential metrics:

Breadth

The number of Jewish students who have had one or more interactions with Hillel over the course of an academic year.

Depth

The number of Jewish students who have had 6 or more interactions, or a high impact experience, with Hillel over the course of an academic year.

This year, Hillel Ontario’s breadth and depth, per campus-facing staff, increased 15% and 8% respectively over the same period one year earlier; underscoring the impact talent has on our ability to engage and empower students.

Even with in-person operations suspended, Hillel Ontario’s overall breadth and depth remained relatively constant over the past two academic years. Breadth and depth during this academic year were nearly 90% of February 2019, and 96% of March 2019.

This year,
Hillel Ontario…

Activating Advocates

As a result of a transformative gift from the Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation in 2018, Hillel Ontario launched a unique and aggressive advocacy strategy designed to reduce antisemitism and anti-Zionism on Ontario university campuses by combating BDS, promoting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and leveraging strategic relationships with campus influencers.

We hired, trained and embedded specially trained advocacy professionals on four university campuses across the province to support Jewish students to defend themselves and speak up in support of Israel – the homeland of the Jewish people. Since 2018, on the four campuses with advocacy coordinators, incidents of antisemitism and anti-Israelism decreased 70%. 2200 individual students were engaged in advocacy programming, generating 5800 advocacy actions. And, 2500 campus leaders were educated about antisemitism.

The strategy is working, and this is only the beginning.

This year Hillel Ontario…

Activating Advocates

As a result of a transformative gift from the Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation in 2018, Hillel Ontario launched a unique and aggressive advocacy strategy designed to reduce antisemitism and anti-Zionism on Ontario university campuses by combating BDS, promoting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, and leveraging strategic relationships with campus influencers.

We hired, trained and embedded specially trained advocacy professionals on four university campuses across the province to support Jewish students to defend themselves and speak up in support of Israel – the homeland of the Jewish people. Since 2018, on the four campuses with advocacy coordinators, incidents of antisemitism and anti-Israelism decreased 70%. 2200 individual students were engaged in advocacy programming, generating 5800 advocacy actions. And, 2500 campus leaders were educated about antisemitism.

The strategy is working, and this is only the beginning.

This year,
Hillel Ontario…

Pursuing Excellence

The Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) is a ten-session cohort-based program that centres on Jewish identity development, building a sustainable community of Jewish learners, and cultivating a bond with the facilitator as a Jewish mentor. Through JLF, participants explore a range of topics, including Jewish holidays, personal narratives and Israel.

Similar to JLF and extending over eight sessions, the Israel Learning Fellowship (ILF) creates spaces for students to learn about Israel in a nuanced and sophisticated way, going beyond soundbites to strengthen students’ connections to Israel and to better prepare them for advocacy in a world where attitudes toward Israel are not always so friendly.

Both our JLF & ILF fellowships recorded increased participation this year!

Pursuing Excellence

The Jewish Learning Fellowship (JLF) is a ten-session cohort-based program that centres on Jewish identity development, building a sustainable community of Jewish learners, and cultivating a bond with the facilitator as a Jewish mentor. Through JLF, participants explore a range of topics, including Jewish holidays, personal narratives and Israel.

Similar to JLF and extending over eight sessions, the Israel Learning Fellowship (ILF) creates spaces for students to learn about Israel in a nuanced and sophisticated way, going beyond soundbites to strengthen students’ connections to Israel and to better prepare them for advocacy in a world where attitudes toward Israel are not always so friendly.

Both our JLF & ILF fellowships recorded increased participation this year!

Our Stakeholders

Put plainly, these essential partners make the work of Hillel Ontario possible. We are incredibly grateful for the support of these organizations.

Our Stakeholders

Put plainly, these essential partners make the work of Hillel Ontario possible. We are incredibly grateful for the support of these organizations.

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