UUJS has put an intense month behind them and is now looking forward to October. In the last month, members of UUJS participated in the annual commemoration of Babi-Yar, one of the largest single mass killings of the Holocaust. They walked along the symbolic “Road of Death” with the members of Jewish community, where Elie Wiesel stated: “Eyewitnesses say that for months after the killings the ground continued to spurt geysers of blood.”
Members of UUJS also met with the delegation of the AJC solidarity mission to Ukraine led by President Stanley Bergman and Executive Director David Harris.
Save the dates for your winter vacation, and get ready for the annual international Jewish winter gathering in Ukraine. WINTER-U which will take place from January 25th – February 3rd . Stay tuned for more information.
After some troubled months in Paris, things have begun to calm down. UEJF took part in walk a with more than 1000 people to pay tribute to Hervé Gourdel who was killed by Jund al-Khilafah, an Algerian terrorist group with links to ISIS.
UEJF also launched a new fascinating campaign called Pousse ton cri against racism to give a voice to the anti-racist majority. Make sure to check it out.
News from IJAR: As Jonathan Keyson, the president of IJAR, became the director of the EUJS, IJAR elected a new board on the general assembly on the 28th of September. During the summer the board was looking for a new board member and they found one. On the 28th of September, our general assembly was held. The new board was elected.
This month IJAR have been busy with planning the general assembly, determining their goals for this year and making plans for the upcoming year.
On Friday night the 5th of September the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) hosted a Shabbat dinner for the leadership of the DEISI organization. DEISI stands for Devote, Embrace, Invest and Support Israel. DEISI is grouped aimed at Christian youth to encourage the support and love of Israel.
The night began with the SAUJS and DEISI leadership attending a Friday night synagogue service where the Rabbi welcomed the DEISI students and continued with a traditional Friday night dinner where the SAUJS members explained all the mitzvot and traditions to their guests. Over a delicious dinner was a the perfect medium for everyone to introduce themselves and get to know one another. Speeches were made by Benji Shulman (South African Zionist Federation), Ariela Carno (SAUJS chairperson) and Olga Meshoe (Leader of DEISI). Together they sang traditional South African songs and taught each other traditional Hebrew and Christian songs.
UGEI has been incredibly active across Italy, Rome, Parma, Naples over the last month. The leadership of UGEI joined Maccabi and Delet for an international party in Villa York with 150 young people. In Parma they participated in the International Day of Jewish Culture and last but by no means least they organised the first J-YES (Jewish Youth European Summit) in Naples together with EUJS, bringing together 25 European Jewish student leaders which resulted in a written report which will lay the basis for EUJS’ proposals at the upcoming OSCE conference on anti-Semitism to take place in Berlin in mid-November.
After a nice summer break, the JÖH came back with full energy to contribute its part to the Summer U in Czech Republic.
Four members took part of the organizing team and others came as participants to enjoy the last week of summer. Then, they have organized a festive dinner for Rosh HaShana at our center. We kept our tradition of tasty food prepared by the participants themselves.
Together with 40 people and few bottles of wine, they celebrated in the best way the beginning of the year. Now, with the school year starting, they are opening a German course in an attractive price for our members and of course, a semester opening party is coming up soon. They are very exited for November, when they will hold elections for the new JÖH board.
“At EUJS, many things are in transition: Nathan Chicheportiche is finishing his time as Executive Director of EUJS, and EU Affairs Fellow Ben Nägele and Communications Officer Francesca Matalon are finishing their internships as well. As sad as we are to say goodbye to our great colleagues, we are also excited to welcome Jonathan Keyson from the Netherlands as new Executive Director, and Nathalie Perl from Germany as EUJS Campaigns Director – A newly created position to address the increasing need for coordinated, strategic advocacy work in Europe. We currently have two paid internship positions open – Help spread the word! 1. Social Media Manager (joint internship with B’nai B’rith Europe) and 2. Event Coordinator. Find all information on this link: http://www.eujs.org/events/upcoming-event/internship-openings
Most of August was spent with preparations for our 31st annual Summer University in the Czech Republic (August 24th-31st), but that aside we are working together with UGEI (Italy) on the first “J-YES” – Jewish Youth European Summit in Naples, Italy, from September 18th-21st. The event will gather delegations from EUJS member unions around the topic of immigration, integration and the current rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, sketching out an overall strategy. For more information, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the topic of anti-Semitism in Europe, EUJS has held conference calls with member unions, begun initial discussions on activities and campaigns (hence the campaigns director) and been appointed to the steering committee for the upcoming OSCE Conference on anti-Semitism in November. We are also liaising with all relevant organizations in the European context.
In October, we will be bringing 15 Jewish activists to the “Negotiating Identity: Seminar for Roma, Jewish and Armenian Youth Leaders on Minority Issues” in Georgia – Something we are very much looking forward to, as it further deepens EUJS’ relationships with other minority communities in Europe.”
Campus life has been incredibly difficult as of late for students in Chile but the Federacion de Estudiantes Judios de Chile (FEJ) has been incredibly active in the defense of it’s members. The local Palestinian community have organised many conferences on campus concerning the current conflict, mainly helped by the Communist Youth who have a large following in Chilean universities. To make sure that there is a balanced conversation on campus FEJ have been holding their own conferences to highlight the Israeli narrative in the conflict on almost every campus. These conferences will not stop though when the current tensions cease and they are planning to begin a series of Israel themed conferences which are specifically non-conflict oriented. These conferences will instead partner with specific university faculties to focus on topics such as “The Start-Up Nation” for business schools; Israeli technology for engineers etc.
FEJ are also developing a continuous advocacy training course; growing their volunteer base and co-sponsoring other educational initiatives within their community. One example of this is the “4×1″ project; a 20 minute video developed by FEJ and other community members, which explains the current conflict. The idea of the project is that every community member will show the video to at least 4 non-Jewish friends.
It has been a busy month at SAUJS with both proactive campaigns and reactive activities. The start of operation “Protective Edge” has triggered a rise in the anti-Israel sentiment in South Africa and SAUJS has been working hard on campuses across the country to ensure that Jewish students feel safe to “wear their Judaism on their sleeves”. They have run events such as “Tefillin for Peace” in order to encourage Jewish pride at this difficult time and are heavily involved in the student government structures on our various campuses. In South Africa the month of August is campaign month so SAUJS are hard at work campaigning for the various parties and candidates together with our various organisational allies.
They have also been engaged in fighting a BDS resolution that was recently passed at the University of Cape Town and feel confident that they will get it overturned-in the name of academic freedom, freedom of expression and the right to hold an alternate opinion. For the last month SAUJS has stood proud together with the South African community at various rallies for Israel’s right to exist and they will continue to stand up for what they believe is right.
On a much lighter note this past weekend was the annual SAUJS Fiesta, a weekend filled with some much needed frivolity.
August has been busy for all our unions and despite the fact that it is currently vacation for British and Irish students; the staff and activists of UJS have been, as per usual, working at lightspeed. Apart from the recent BDS motion passed by the NUS NEC which we reported on our website. The National Union of Students (UK) also voted through a motion that supported the call for a two-state solution, and a more measured solidarity with both sides of the conflict. Jewish students in the UK have actively campaigned on the issues which they are passionate about, and made sure their voices are heard.
UJS are gearing up for the return of students to campus, with their 2nd annual Leadership and Political Training Summit taking place 1st-2nd September. Another major project they have also begun working on is their new Study Abroad Network, which will aim to connect Jewish students in the UK who want support for time they will spend on study abroad programmes. We recommend you read the Op-Ed by Ella Rose, President of UJS that was recently published in the Jewish Chronicle – Unified not Uniform.