Reflections on My Time at Hebrew University
By Hailey Dilman, Jerusalem
Growing up in Toronto, I couldn’t stop visiting Israel. Year after year, during every school break, I would make time to visit Israel, spending no vacation in Canada, only in Israel. I knew that right after I finished my bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto I wanted to continue my studies in Israel.
In the summer of 2010, I made aliyah to Israel and upon landing at Ben Gurion Airport I went straight to the Hebrew University dorms. Soon after, I started ulpan on campus in preparation to begin my MA in September.
My years at Hebrew U shaped my perspective for my future, career hopes and my social life. It was as a new olah (immigrant) at the university that I came into contact with Israeli culture, bureaucracy and life in general. I made my first Israeli friends, rented my first apartment alone and immersed myself in academic work.
The university cemented my love for academia as I was exposed to lectures and courses by renowned professors. My studies took me toward a focus on Holocaust studies through the Department of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry, particularly the historiography of the Holocaust, the subject of my thesis. Through this facet, I decided to work at Yad Vashem, first as a tour guide and now as the content coordinator for overseas educational groups.
Through HU, I made some of my closest friends with whom I’m still in contact today. This community became a de facto family as we olim (immigrants) and students at the university found ourselves without any close family in Israel. Therefore, it was my time at HU that not only confirmed my love for being in Israel but helped me decide to stay in the country even following my studies.
After I finished my degree, I met my now husband and we have built a family in Israel with our two beautiful girls. I’m very grateful and happy for all the memories and experiences I gained through my years at Hebrew University.
Hailey is the Coordinator for Educational Content at the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem