A new year at McMaster Hillel

Sept. 2023
Rabbi Ben Shefter

A new year means new opportunities, new friends and new dreams at Hillel McMaster, and a new school year ushers in another year of transforming the next generation of leaders. From the first day, Hillel McMaster welcomes first-year students by helping them move in, providing social opportunities to mingle, and participating in McMaster’s welcome week festival. 

Lest you think this warm welcome is only for first years.  Hillel is launching our new Social Week to extend care and warmth to all undergraduate and graduate students in the province and from overseas. Within the first two weeks, students get a sense that Hillel is a space to learn about themselves, meet new people, explore what it means to be a Jewish adult and much more. 

Coming off a banner year, and with the generosity of family, friends, and community partners, Hillel McMaster’s team of both staff and students has expanded to meet the ever-growing needs of students and young adults in Hamilton. Here are a few highlights of what to expect this year:
1. Fighting antisemitism and being a home away from home for all Jewish students has always been a focal point for Hillel McMaster. A key feature of accomplishing this is cultivating and sustaining partnerships and coalitions on campus. With the addition of an advocacy coordinator this year, Hillel McMaster will expand our relationships on campus to ensure that no student has to deal with any issues alone. 
2. Building off of the success of our wellness and study lounge on campus, Hillel has hired a Social Work student to expand our wellness offerings. Whether it is one-on-one counselling, exploring stress and anxiety management techniques, or learning to be a flourishing Jewish adult, supporting students’ personal growth will be a more prominent feature of Hillel this year.
3. Student empowerment will take the front stage as we launch several internships this year and a student executive of more than 30 people. A professional development intern will develop a mentor network and facilitate workshops to prepare students for life after McMaster. Two community engagers will strengthen the ties between campus and the community through monthly volunteering opportunities. Two Sundowner interns will empower students to host pluralistic dinner parties for students of all backgrounds. And finally, one grad and young professional intern will foster our grad network, ensuring that grad students find a community and home in Hamilton while attending McMaster.  
As we enter the Jewish year 5783, Hillel McMaster is excited for the beautiful moments of connection and growth this year will bring.
CAPTION: Students at the Rabbi Bernard and Marjorie Baskin McMaster Hillel House for our welcome pizza party