Cam­pus and Youth Note­book

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMUNITY NEWS - By Nathan Jeffay

Des­per­ate for a good de­gree re­sult? Try prayer. Not be­cause God will take pity on your fail­ure to re­vise, but be­cause oth­er­wise, your lec­tur­ers may slash your grades. At New York’s Yeshiva Univer­sity, par­tic­i­pants of an un­der­grad­u­ate pro­gramme have been told they will lose cred­its if they skip ser­vices. Col­lege pub­li­ca­tion The Com­men­ta­tor says that while daily at­ten­dance at the uni syn­a­gogue has al­ways been manda­tory in the­ory, the de­ci­sion to give it the clout of one credit (around five per cent of a year’s grade) is new. It cites pro­gramme di­rec­tor Rabbi Zev Re­ich­man say­ing that the course views Ju­daism “as a holis­tic ex­pe­ri­ence, and so the day doesn’t start at nine. It starts at eight, when we daven to­gether.” He says the move has prece­dent in sports cour­ses that pe­nalise stu­dents for miss­ing matches, adding: “No­body is go­ing to mark some­one on whether or not they daven, but peo­ple will be marked on whether or not they come.” An an­gry stu­dent is quoted, say­ing: “When you’re deal­ing with 18- to 23-year-olds, this isn’t the approach you should have. It should be ev­ery­one’s own choice to feel they need to talk to God.” Since Mr Cameron’s speech back in July call­ing for greater un­der­stand­ing of young peo­ple, the nick­name for his plat­form — “hug a hoodie” — has en­tered the main­stream vo­cab­u­lary. But has Mr Cameron him­self had the plea­sure? We can ex­clu­sively re­port that the an­swer is now… yes. Af­ter his Leeds ap­pear­ance, hosts gave him his very own UJS hooded sweat­shirt (pic­tured top). Stu­dents in Leeds met David Cameron last Fri­day, in an en­counter dom­i­nated by the sub­ject of wide­spread an­i­mos­ity against J-Socs. Con­cerns were raised to the Tory leader about the re­cent suc­cess of the Pales­tine lobby in strip­ping the J-Soc of cer­tain rights to com­plain in the univer­sity union. Stu­dents stressed that their con­cerns were not lim­ited to Leeds, but ap­plied to cam­puses in gen­eral. They said that univer­si­ties are mi­cro­cosms of so­ci­ety at large, where ten­sions — es­pe­cially an­tisemitism — tend to be mag­ni­fied. The Tory leader did lit­tle more than smile and nod, but stu­dents en­thused about the event. “It was the ul­ti­mate event for Jewish stu­dents,” re­ported one J-Soc mem­ber. “UJS brings some­one in for us to com­plain to — great.” Last week, the JC re­ported that NUS had fi­nally spo­ken out about the con­cerns of Jewish stu­dents (as raised to Mr Cameron in Leeds). Worry not, though. Fol­low­ing this bout of ac­tivism, nor­mal ser­vice has now been re­sumed at the union, and staff have since been seem­ingly… watch­ing Celebrity Big Brother. Such is the pro­gramme’s sup­posed im­por­tance to stu­dents that NUS sent out a blan­ket press re­lease to the me­dia, declar­ing it­self “con­cerned” about go­ings-on in the TV pro­gramme. Need­less to say that com­par­a­tively triv­ial mat­ters like the afore­men­tioned Jew-ha­tred have not mer­ited such a press state­ment. It seems that the ex­ist­ing re­al­ity-TV choices are a bit old hat any­way. Back in the au­tumn, we re­ported that a new or­gan­i­sa­tion had been set up for Sephardi stu­dents, as most events tend to pre­sume an Ashke­nazi back­ground. The group, Young Sephardim, will host I’m a Sephardi — Get Me Out of Here! a week on Sun­day. Tak­ing off the ITV show, or­gan­is­ers will re­cre­ate a jun­gle en­vi­ron­ment to cel­e­brate Tu Bish­vat, the new year for trees. And given it is be­ing held in Laud­erdale Road Syn­a­gogue, it is safe to as­sume there will not be any of the worms or other yucky del­i­ca­cies that have made the TV pro­gramme fa­mous. The Univer­sity of Es­sex has an un­usual Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Day event planned for tonight, with a lo­cal syn­a­gogue due to trans­port its ser­vice to cam­pus. The Ortho­dox Colch­ester and Dis­trict Jewish Com­mu­nity will hold its reg­u­lar Fri­day-night ser­vice at the univer­sity, joined by stu­dents and staff from all faiths. The nor­mal liturgy will be fol­lowed by spe­cial ser­vice of me­mo­rial prayers and an ad­dress by sur­vivor Dora Love.

Did any­one tell him you can wear it, as well as cud­dle it?

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