The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) has published “Going Somewhere: The Canadian Guide to Jewish Campus Life.”
Produced in cooperation with Hillels at universities across Canada – including Hillel Ottawa – the guide presents information for students and parents on Jewish life on various campuses and in the cities the universities are located in.
As well, there are articles about Jewish student life in Canada which are meant to be helpful for students wherever they may be studying in Canada.
“We wanted a useful resource to allow prospect students to evaluate where they want to pursue their post-secondary education, according to their religious preferences”, said Martin Sampson, CIJA’s Ottawa-based director of communications and marketing.
“We also wanted to let those students know about us [CIJA and Hillel], that we’re the ‘go to’ organizations for Jewish life on campuses,” he added. “That’s why we’re offering it online and free for everyone to access.”
The guide includes information about Jewish organizations and congregations, both on campuses and in the surrounding cities; about the availability of kosher food; events or activities in local Jewish communities; Jewish studies programs offered by universities – and more.
“We’ve had wonderful feedback,” he said Sampson. “We see that lots and lots of people have been downloading it in every corner of the country.”
CIJA plans to offer an updated guide next year, Sampson noted.
“The story,” he emphasized, “is that students who want to, have a rich Jewish campus life. We also saw that Hillel has a very positive place in campuses throughout the whole country.”
In Ottawa, says Hillel Ottawa Executive Director Dovi Chein, Jewish students at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University generally feel safe and welcomed on the city’s university campuses.
“But,” he said, “it does sometimes happen that students become uncomfortable in expressing their opinions or practicing their religion, and this becomes a problem.”
However, “the administrations in both universities do a lot to make sure that this doesn’t happen,” Chein stressed.
The biggest problem, Chein said, is the difficulty facing students wishing to lead an observant lifestyle.
“For example, there are very few options when it comes to kosher food, both on the campuses and in the city in general.”
The guide does include information on where Ottawa students can get kosher food as well as information on Jewish organizations on campus and synagogues in the city.
Visit http://gettheguide.ca to download the guide.