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Support for Kosher Forward Campaign at the University of Toronto

We were deeply concerned to learn about the antisemitic situation at the University of Toronto this past week. The University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union rejected a Jewish student’s request that they endorse Hillel’s efforts to bring kosher food options to campus, advising that the student remove Hillel’s name from the motion, since the UTGSU couldn’t partner with an organization that advocates for Israel  and stands against the Boycott Divest and Sanctions movement. The UTGSU allowed their political views on Israel to affect their support for Jewish students’ access to campus services. Holding individual Jews responsible for the actions of the State of Israel is one of the very definitions of antisemitism  We are pleased to hear that the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union has finally taken responsibility for the antisemitism at play in their response to the kosher food campaign and that they are undertaking to educate themselves about antisemitism in all its forms.

Rabbi Elazar taught in the Mishna, “If there is no flour, there is no Torah; if there is no Torah, there is no flour.” This phrase recognizes the intertwined nature of learning and nourishment, as well as the shared importance of both having access to food that meets one’s dietary requirements and developing one’s Jewish identity fully.

The Toronto Board of Rabbis supports the crucial work of Hillel at the University of Toronto, and its parent organization Hillel Ontario, in ensuring Jewish students on campus have their needs met. We support their efforts to move the University of Toronto to provide kosher food options to Jewish UofT students, so that those students can fully participate in all aspects of campus life. We further call upon the administration of the University of Toronto to act to provide adequate kosher food to its students by the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

We encourage University of Toronto students of all backgrounds to make their voices heard by signing their names to Hillel’s Kosher Forward campaign, in order to advance the important goal of food equity on campus