Written by: Scott Goldstein- Western Director 

As I sit in the Western Hillel offices here on Richmond St, I can’t help but notice how calm and quiet everything around me is. There seems to be only a few cars on the street, campus has an eerie deserted atmosphere, and the lack of student voices flowing up the stairs from the common areas at the Hillel House is noticeable. I see it as the ‘calm before the storm’ that occurs at the beginning of each academic year.


The storm I am referring to includes the chaos of move-in days, OWeek activities, and the bustle of going from class to class. I am also referring to the hard work put in by the amazing student leaders of Hillel towards creating fun, relevant, and meaningful experiences for new and returning Jewish students on campus. Experiences like our Welcome Back Block Party (complete with DJ, food, and fun surprises) or our First year Pizza & Chill where new students get to meet each-other. Expect a return of some of our classics like Lunch On Us, Cafe Ivrit, and holiday events but also keep an eye out for new programs such as Bake A Change, Torah On Tap, and even events for students of Russian speaking heritage (Brewskis & Jewskis, Syrniki in the Sukkah).


One of the things that stands out for me most is how excited everyone I speak with is for the year to begin. I had the opportunity to connect with some students during the summer months to catch up and even plan events. The excitement shared by students just like you is inspiring to me and I am sure will contribute to an amazing year of Jewish campus life. School is really important (probably most important for many) but know that you have so many opportunities to connect with your community academically and socially. Take advantage of your university experience – dedicate time towards yourself and what makes you happy. The diversity of what Hillel offers and your ability to provide feedback that directly impacts what we do is unique. Imagine a bespoke Jewish campus life experience tailored to you!


Speaking of experiences tailored to you, remember when I mentioned “fun, relevant, and meaningful”? We need to know what all those things mean to YOU! We are lucky to have a new staff team member at Western Hillel who really wants to get to know you – Renee Berkowitz. Renee is our new Springboard Innovation Fellow (a.k.a your new best friend) and she is very eager to learn everything there is to know about you and your campus experience. Renee wants to make sure that she learns what you want to experience during your time at Western and hopefully make it happen! All you need to do is reach out to Renee or anyone else on our team (Leora, Yos, or yours truly), grab a coffee, and chat. 


Stay connected with us through the traditional means of communication (facebook, instagram etc.) but make sure to check out our new website – redesigned with you in mind! Staying connected means you won’t miss any of the offerings available to you throughout the year.

L’hitraot – see you soon!


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