Lauren voting for the next WUJS President during Congress. (Photo credit: Alex Balabko)
Over five days in December 2017, 165 Jewish students from 36 countries were united in Jerusalem for the World Union of Jewish Students Congress, the umbrella body for Jewish Student associations globally. Right from the start, there was a clear coming together based on a commitment to fight against BDS, antisemitism, anti-Zionism and of course by a love of cheesy Israeli pop tunes.
UJS took a delegation of six to Israel to network and learn with leaders from Jewish Student Unions from countries including Mexico, Geneva and Russia. It was fascinating and obviously worrying to hear about the creative forms and clear international trends of antisemitism, anti-Zionism and the rise of far right political parties. When discussing the work within different Unions, I found it interesting to hear about the various structures each country has in place to help Jewish students. This made me reflect on the ongoing relationship Jewish students have with NUS and how important this is to help ensure the Jewish Student experience is full, enriching and something to embrace. The conference ended by looking back at 2017 and celebrating the achievements of Jewish students. It was amazing that UJS had been shortlisted for so many awards and on the night, the work of UJS was recognised in winning ‘The Interfaith Award’, ‘Local Jewish Student Association’ for Leeds J-Soc, the ‘Union Leader of the Year’ award for Previous UJS President Josh Seitler and I personally won the award for ‘Emerging Young Leader’.
Lauren Keiles, Leeds J-Soc, UJS UK, 2018 WUJS-Bronfman Global Fellow
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