If Not Now, Then When?

Written by Ashira Prizant, Director

“If I am not for me, who will be for me? And when I am for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, then when?” (Pirkei Avot, 1:14) These are the famous, iconic words, of Hillel, our namesake. The teachings of this great scholar still resonate with us today, and guide what Queen’s Hillel is all about. Your Hillel is a place for you to explore your passions, ideas, and your Judaism, supporting you as you explore “who will be for me”. It’s a place to connect with friends, old and new, collaborate with others, and make a difference in your Jewish community and beyond-making sure that you’re not for “myself alone”.  And if the way this year has flown by is any indication- “if not now, then when”!?

We know you time on campus is precious, and we are so grateful you took the time to join us. Whether we saw you at a delicious Shabbat dinner, we partied together like it was 2011 at Bar Mitzvah Bash, we delved into Jewish learning, or broke Matzah together, this was an incredible year. We were excited to launch our cooking club, (join us for cute aprons and yummy, instragrammable eats!) and Jewski-our special programming for Russian speaking students on campus. As always, Holocaust Education Week was an important and powerful initiative that impacted the entire Queen’s community. The exhibit in Stauffer, the incredible testimony from survivor Esther Fairbloom and the many student led activities were immeasurably valuable education for everyone  on campus. None of this year’s incredible opportunities would have been possible without our incredible student executive. Thank you to each of you who put your time and effort into your community on campus! You are the best! And an extra special, resounding, unbelievably huge shout out (and lots of love) goes to our leadership dream team- Charlotte Axelrod, Esther Oziel, Quinn Bernholtz and Remi Kupfer. Every single one of you dedicated so much of yourselves this year to Queen’s Hillel, and you have left an indelible impression on the campus landscape. What an honour it’s been to work with all of you this year!

We were so lucky to have two new staff members join us, and this year would not have been the same without them! We thank Dor, our Israel Fellow, for a great year, and wish him all the best for the future. Thanks also to our Program Coordinator, Ilana, for all of her hard work this year. Next year, she is your go-to to help bring any initiative or program you’re dreaming of to life. Both of us can’t wait to grab a coffee with you soon!

It is said that, when replacing his worn out shoes,  the Kotzker Rebbe would neatly wrap them up before disposing of them and consider “How can I toss away such a fine pair of shoes that have served me so well?” As we wrap up this year, it is amazing to pause and reflect on just how much we accomplished, and have gratitude for the incredible times we have had together. Most importantly, we are grateful for you. In your uniqueness, you each bring so much to Queen’s Hillel, and it’s been an amazing year. Let’s keep the ball rolling! If there are any initiatives or passion projects you hope to bring to fruition this coming year, please be in touch! To our grads-this is just l’hitraot! Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished, and we hope to see you again soon! To all of you- we hope this summer is amazing and full of opportunities for rejuvenation, connection and exploration. Can’t wait to see you again soon!


Ashira Prizant