Ella Rose

Ella Rose

By UJS President, Ella Rose

pTravelling the UK was never high up on my travel agenda. I wanted to go to Australia, Thailand and to drive across America. However, since starting as UJS President I can safely say that the UK is also pretty cool. I’d never been further North than Durham (and that was only for the university open day), but now I’ve explored remote villages in Scotland, Dublin on the Emerald Isle and strolled along the Brighton seafront in the pouring rain.

The other week, I was lucky enough to be invited to Dublin to speak on an interfaith panel about feminism in religion.

Thanks to some prep from colleagues and students sending me fascinating articles, I was on my way.

UJS represents Jewish students in both the UK and Ireland so a trip to Ireland had always been on my mind.

The event, organised by Trinity College Dublin (TCD) gender equality society in conjunction with the J-Soc was a fantastic and well attended event covering feminism in Iran, the Jewish community and the differences between Catholic and Protestant feminism.

It was a great opportunity for non-Jewish students to understand the building blocks of Judaism, and their relationship to feminism.

The questions were fantastic, drawing on the speeches made by the panel, and challenging the preconceived idea that feminism and religion were incompatible concepts.

Big kudos to Oli Itkin, TCD J-Soc President for helping put together the panel, and for showing Erez Agami (UJS Developing J-soc Officer) and I, the best places to eat in Dublin.

Another first for me was my trip to Scotland.

Glasgow Friends of Israel Society had invited me to run our Israeli Chocolate Tasting session in their beautiful university.

The session provides a whistle-stop tour through Israeli cultural history through the medium of chocolate (if you would like this on your campus, contact our Israel Engagement Officer, Beca Bookman).

After the thoroughly enjoyable session, Erez and I made our way across the highlands (not quite, but felt like it) to Comrie, a tiny village most known for its lack of mobile internet reception for the Scotland Shabbaton.

Despite the minor snowstorm it was a brilliant weekend, with students from across Scotland coming together to socialise and to run programmes.

Travelling across the country to meet Jewish students really reinforces the point that Jewish students strive harder than ever to create the Jewish life they want to see on campus.

They run events, socials and education for their peers. Scotland have run innovative Israel engagement programmes, whilst Ireland are working on interfaith.

The variety of peer-led campus programming is truly inspiring.

This is just one of the reasons why every year UJS host the Student Awards.

Across all 11 categories we can recognise some of the most dedicated student leaders on our campuses.

These are the people who make J-Soc a full-time job and strive to make Jewish life on campus the best it can be.

The Student Awards is one of my favourite events of the year as it celebrates Jewish students doing what they do best, being Jewish students.

So I might still not have travelled the entirety of the UK and Ireland, but I’m getting pretty close, and I’m loving seeing more and more of Jewish student life in its natural habitat.

If you want to contribute to the Jewish News student section, contact jackm@thejngroup.com