All about UJS
Last updated: 2003-09-18
Union of Jewish Students
When the Union of Jewish Students was formed about twenty eight years ago, the aims of the organisation were direct - to challenge the anti-zionism and anti-semitism that existed on campuses around the country.
Over a quarter of a century on and the threats that students face are now not so severe and UJS has grown into a vibrant and dynamic organisation which consists of over 5 000 members in 120 University and College Jewish Societies across the United Kingdom and Ireland. There is also 10 full - time workers, the focus on peer - leadership with 8 of the positions filled for one year by recent graduates.
As the organisation has grown, a wide range of goals have developed. The overiding goal of the union is to create a positive Jewish environment for students while they are at university. This comes in the form of events organised by Jewish societies on campus where UJS act as a support and resource provider for Jewish Societies - be it an educational programme or a club night. There are also regional events, in order to allow students to meet other people close to where they are studying. On a national level UJS holds a national conference every year which attracts over four hundred Jewish students to debate policy, elect the UJS National Portfolio and Sabbatical officers, socialise and network as well as participate in a number of educational activities. There are also many other educational, political, cultural and social activities throughout the year for members to participate in. A student automatically becomes a member of UJS when they sign up to a J. Soc on arrival at university or college.
UJS has no political or religious agenda. It is a cross-communal organisation that allows any member to feel comfortable in a UJS setting. On many campuses across the country there are both reform and orthodox services over shabbat and at a national event there are five different services on a shabbat. UJS try to educate its members on all streams of judaism to ensure an understanding of all people. Equally within the politcal spectrum UJS runs seminars for students to develop their understanding of Israeli politics. Israel plays a central role within UJS activities, with programmes arranged to Israel during both winter and summer holidays, focusing on specific trips for those with an interest in a certain part of Israeli life as well as a more general programme. Both in Israel and Britain UJS works with organisations across the community in order to provide a balanced view on all issues.
The challenge for the future does not lie in the head office in Euston but rather with the students on the ground. It is the Jewish students' organisation and it is for them to decide in which direction UJS is taken. There are many dilemmas that face the Jewish world, both within and Israel - UJS provides a framework for students to find the answers for themselves.
For more information:
Tel: 020 7387 4644