Meet Alexandra Brenner
“I felt a drive from then on to speak out and use my voice on behalf of the Jewish community, and now to a greater degree for those who can’t speak out for themselves- those who don’t have a voice.”
Antisemitism doesn’t exist in Toronto. Or so Alexandra thought, until, at a high school basketball game at a partner public school, students threw money at her and her teammates as they waited for the game to begin.
This moment exposed Alexandra Brenner to a side of Canadian society she didn’t know existed up until then. “I thought of Canada as a place of acceptance and tolerance. That was a wake-up call for me, that we’re not immune to antisemitism and acts of racism.”
This event catapulted Alexandra’s career in the world of policy. “I felt a drive from then on to speak out and use my voice on behalf of the Jewish community, and now to a greater degree for those who can’t speak out for themselves- those who don’t have a voice.”
Since then, she created a program called the CJPAC Generation: Student Leaders to increase high school students’ engagement in Canadian politics, a program that now brings together hundreds of students across the country.
Alexandra is pursuing a career in the field of policy because of “an innate feeling of duty and responsibility for the community.” The Toronto community and Jewish day school system gave her a strong footing in her Jewish identity and helped shape her priorities in life.
Her strong sense of identity as a Canadian Jew, up against the act of antisemitism she experienced, helped carve her professional future. “I realized that if we don’t speak up for ourselves these things can continue.”
“It set me on my path to my involvement in the political process and now where I am on policy side.” Alexandra hopes to continue to live a life of purpose and is committed to serving her community. “I want to wake up every day feeling like I have a purposeful and meaningful life, and that I am contributing to the collective vision of the world.”
Alexandra sees beyond her duty to the Jewish community and hopes to bring people together in the attempt to improve policy and the daily lives of Canadians. “There are other minorities and religions who are suffering similarly. If we all work together we would have a much more powerful voice.”
Alexandra Brenner is completing her master’s degree at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, with a collaborative degree in Public Health Policy at the Dalla Lana School at the University of Toronto.
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Jumans of Toronto is a window into the lives and passion of Jewish young adults making their mark in the world. A 50-part series, Jumans is inspired by Humans of New York. If you’d like to recommend someone awesome to be highlighted, please send an email to email@example.com.
Written by: Adina Samuels