Jewish students at universities across the UK have launched the world’s first online Jewish Society amidst the coronavirus pandemic in an adjustment to campus life under lockdown.
Jewish societies at universities, which are commonly referred to as a J-Socs, have been dormant as students have returned home, but the first online J-Soc, code-named ‘J-Soc Chicken Soup,’ had more than 1,000 join in just 24 hours.
“During these turbulent times, Jewish students across the country have had to halt their studies,” said the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) on Wednesday.
“Some have had to isolate alone in their dorms with little support and many are unable to see their immediate families. Campus may be shut down, but we have created programmes intended for maximum engagement, entertainment and providing eye-opening digital opportunities for students.”
UJS’s programmes manager Georgie Levine said the lockdown had brought about “a complete reshuffling” of the union’s working structure, adding that J-Soc Chicken Soup was “a reaction to the absolute necessity to keep campus life up and running”.
There are 67 such societies across the UK and Northern Ireland and she said the group would “allow Jewish students to let off steam around the current madness, share thoughts, jokes and concerns and provide useful content created by members of the Jewish community worldwide”.
She added: “The rapid uptake and interest in the group demonstrates the need for Jewish students to feel connected, to feel supported by UJS, and to feel some form of normality in a world that is currently in chaos.”
Among the UJS resources are recipes and a breakdown of Pesach songs. “From cook-along shows, a weekly Dvar Torah and table talk discussions with survivors of genocide, we are firmly behind Jewish students and will continue to lead, defend and enrich Jewish student life both on- and off-campus.”
Find the group on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/249229576096220/