Cam­pus and Youth Note­book

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS/ - By Nathan Jeffay

The af­fairs of Jewish stu­dents have caused a stir in the Amer­i­can press this week. At New York’s Pace Univer­sity, Hil­lel — the equiv­a­lent of a J-Soc — planned to screen a film called Ob­ses­sion: Rad­i­cal Is­lam’s War Against the West. Hil­lel pres­i­dent Michael Ab­du­rakhmanov was quoted in The New York Times say­ing that Mus­lim stu­dents com­plained and a dean sub­se­quently told him not to show the film, and threat­ened to call the po­lice if he did. In a state­ment pub­lished through Is­rael ad­vo­cacy web­site, Ab­du­rakhmanov says: “We be­lieve the school ad­min­is­tra­tion used in­tim­i­dat­ing tac­tics to pre­vent us from show­ing the movie Ob­ses­sion.” An­other proIs­rael web­site ( democ­racy-project. com), claim­ing to co-or­di­nate his me­dia cam­paign, posted an email say­ing that a rec­on­cil­ia­tory meet­ing was be­ing ar­ranged be­tween Ab­du­rakhmanov, Hil­lel and Pace bosses.

Tribe, the United Syn­a­gogue’s youth wing, has taken its cam­pus am­bas­sador scheme in­ter­na­tional… well, to Scot­land any­way. Tribe has built up a list of cam­pus reps, called am­bas­sadors, in Birm­ing­ham, Cam­bridge, Leeds, Lon­don and Manch­ester. They run events and strengthen Ortho­dox life at univer­sity. The latest ad­di­tion to the team is St Andrew’s Univer­sity stu­dent Rachel Lover­ing. Tribe’s field­worker Daniel Collins ex­plains that while the US does not have syn­a­gogues in Scot­land, many stu­dents there come from Eng­land and, as such, fall within its re­mit.

A Birm­ing­ham syn­a­gogue has moved to ce­ment good re­la­tions with the city’s large Jewish stu­dent pop­u­la­tion. From next month, Birm­ing­ham He­brew Con­gre­ga­tion will hold Shab­bat lunches for stu­dents. The once-a-month lunch is “an ini­tia­tive that we hope will get more stu­dents to be­come a part of our com­mu­nity,” says Rabbi Yossi Ja­cobs, the con­gre­ga­tion’s as­sis­tant min­is­ter. And the best part is that the cost is on the house, or rather on the shul.

Up in Ox­ford, the ever-grow­ing Chabad there has now an­nounced it is open­ing a yeshivah-style beit midrash or study hall. Stu­dents can go along any Mon­day, in­di­vid­u­ally or in pairs, to Chabad’s city-cen­tre base, and di­rec­tor Rabbi Eli Brack­man will give them all the help they need to make their way through re­li­gious texts of their choos­ing. Rabbi Brack­man hopes it will at­tract ev­ery­one from sea­soned Talmud ex­perts to pairs of stu­dents who meet up to learn the He­brew al­pha­bet to­gether.

In the past three years, Brus­sels­based Yossi Waks has be­come a familiar name to Jewish stu­dents across Europe. Af­ter all, in this time he has run events for 16,000 peo­ple as head of the Euro­pean Cen­tre for Jewish Stu­dents, a so­cial and ed­u­ca­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion that ar­ranges re­treats and sem­i­nars, as well as putting J-Socs in dif­fer­ent ar­eas in touch with each other. He left his post this week to move to New York, and wrote in an open let­ter of the growth he has ef­fected in ECJS. His mail­ing list “started with an email list of 18 well-wish­ers — ie my im­me­di­ate fam­ily! To­day the ECJS data­base has a record num­ber of 26,627 stu­dents on it.”

this week. One univer­sity where the pro­gramme bears no re­sem­blance to last year’s is the Univer­sity of Lon­don, where the stu­dent union has ex­panded it be­yond all recog­ni­tion. Be­gin­ning on Mon­day, there will be a panel dis­cus­sion en­ti­tled “The Age of Geno­cide”, a talk by the Chief Rabbi, and an ad­dress by Holo­caust sur­vivor Mala Trib­bich. Politi­cians, in­clud­ing Si­mon Hughes MP, will speak at a sym­po­sium — “How the Holo­caust has af­fected Lon­don and Lon­don­ers” — to close pro­ceed­ings next Fri­day. Or­gan­iser Daniel Snow­don says: “The need is to pro­mote greater un­der­stand­ing to avoid re­peat­ing the mis­takes of the past and that is the over­ar­ch­ing mes­sage of the events.”

Univer­si­ties across the coun­try will be start­ing their an­nual events for Na­tional Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day

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