Reflections on My Time at Hebrew University
Nati Pressmann – Toronto
One side of my family emigrated to Canada from Israel. Growing up, I was immersed in Israeli films, television, and Hebrew nursery rhymes, nurturing a strong desire to experience life in Israel. In 2021, while in my final year of high school and set to graduate ahead of schedule, I saw an opportunity to spend several months in Israel before starting university. At the time, I was 17 years old and encountered limitations due to limited programs for those my age, due to Israel’s closure to non-citizens and non-visa holders.
Desiring to earn some university credits prior to beginning my degree, I discovered Hebrew University’s summer programs, aligning perfectly with my interests in Politics, History, and Israeli society. Hence, I applied to the summer semester short program at Hebrew University, focusing on the History of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
During the summer of 2021, I studied at Hebrew University, marking my first experience living away from home. This period of independence significantly prepared me for my subsequent studies at Queen’s University. The course’s content provided multifaceted perspectives on the conflict, broadening my understanding beyond my family’s personal experiences. This broader perspective helped me engage confidently in discussions about Israel on campus. My time at Hebrew University transformed me into a better critical thinker, altering my perception of global conflicts and the individuals impacted by them.
This invaluable experience at Hebrew University laid the foundation for my advocacy journey. Currently in my third year at Queen’s University, I am pursuing an Honours degree in History with a minor in Jewish Studies. Notably, I am Vice-President at the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS), a member of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps Academy by the World Jewish Congress, serve on the Campus Global Board of the American Jewish Committee, and co-chaired CJPAC’s campus fellowship. Over the summer, I interned at the Toronto Holocaust Museum. My efforts have garnered attention, leading to features in articles addressing campus hate, coverage in local Kingston media, and publication in esteemed outlets like the Jerusalem Post, the World Jewish Congress Journal and the Toronto Star.