Jewish Students Respond to Israel Apartheid Week

Published: March 1st 2010

Jewish students at York table for Israel
Pic: Hillel of Greater Toronto


Ben-Choreen explained that since Ryerson is a commuter school, it is hard to get Jewish students on campus to participate in programs, but she encouraged everyone to take part and mentioned that Hillel @ Ryerson often partners up with other non-Jewish organizations. This makes for some excellent opportunities to reach out to non-Jews on campus. “We’ve been doing a lot of multi-faith programs this year. We had a multi-faith soccer game and there’s a dodge ball tournament coming up. This week we’re tabling with the LGBT organization on campus and they were really excited to table with us. I think we have a lot more in common with the other groups and people are interested in learning more about Israel,” she said.


Perhaps one of the most important aspects of the events that take place during the week is that they present Israel from all points of view, political and non-political. “Many students are sick of that uncomfortable, intolerant harassment atmosphere that we see on Canadian campuses and we give them an opportunity to learn a bit more about Israeli society and about Israelis,” said Kochman. “I think that the Size Doesn’t Matter campaign and a lot of the other projects which are done within it and focus on cultural innovations, the Israeli people and spirit is a good way to get the message across. We’ve received great feedback from non-Jewish students, and Jewish students are energized as well and they’re more than happy to sit at a table and talk about Israeli society, and what Israel is all about to them.


“Each campus in Canada is different and each group takes out a different approach. Some groups do more hard-hitting campaigns and others focus on campaigns like Size Doesn’t Matter and similar things and that’s the beauty of the way students work in Canada,” added Kochman.


“We’re taking a multi-tiered approach this year and we have a lot of innovative and fun aspects to the campaign. Size Doesn’t Matter is a big part of the campaign but we’re also running the You Can’t Play With The Truth campaign and that’s to really answer the questions, because people do want to know and we want to give them an informed, academic and well-rounded answer to those questions,” said Mendelsohn. “At the same time, Israel does so many wonderful things in terms of humanitarian aid, technology, business, culture, and music and it’s our responsibility to make sure people know about it.”


All the students emphasized the importance of the participation of the Jewish community in the programs.


“My personal message to Jewish students out there is that some of us who organize these events feel very alone sometimes and we need the Jewish students to come out and show everybody else that we have a strong and thriving Jewish community. It would be nice and essential to see Jewish students from all different backgrounds coming out and getting involved, especially during this week. If we show that the Jewish people are strong and are there for each other, then no amount of anti-Israel people or protests can harm us,” said Hazanov.


“I’d say that this week is the most important week to look at Ryerson not just as a school but as the bigger picture, because we’re really educating people towards the future. I think that it’s really important that we teach people about Israel and how it’s not just a conflict. We really need to work on getting our message across, because there are many people who are eager to learn on campus and we need to give them the tools and reach out to them. This is the week to come out to an event and bring a non-Jewish friend along,” said Ben-Choreen.


For more information on the programs taking place this week, visit Hillel of Greater Toronto’s website at


Share with friends Print this page Read later Recommend 2 times