...as Durham en­joys ex­cit­ing new era

The Jewish Chronicle - - Community -

DURHAM UNIVER­SITY J ewish So­ci­ety has gone from strength to strength since win­ning the UJS De­vel­op­ing Jsoc of the Year award two years ago.

Although it may not be the first univer­sity that comes to mind when think­ing of Jewish cam­pus pres­ence, Durham of­fers a friendly, com­mu­nity feel that is of­ten dif­fi­cult to find in more politi­cised “Jewniver­si­ties”.

Jews from ev­ery back­ground — whether Ortho­dox, Re­form or non-re­li­gious — are made to feel com­fort­able at the reg­u­lar Fri­day night din­ners. Pre­pared in a kosher kitchen and eaten in a ded­i­cated space at Durham’s St Ai­dan’s col­lege, the din­ners al­low the so­ci­ety a space to bring in Shab­bat and hear reg­u­lar speak­ers dis­cuss is­sues af­fect­ing Jews and Is­rael.

The meals at­tract crowds of 20 to 30 mem­bers, and with life­time mem­ber­ship at only £15 and three-course meals charged at just £3.50, stu­dents are in­clined to par­tic­i­pate and feel free to come and go as they please.

The Jsoc fo­cuses on rais­ing aware­ness of Jewish and in­ter­faith is­sues in Durham. Like many smaller uni­ver­si­ties, Durham suf­fers some­what from a lack of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism; in my ex­pe­ri­ence, many here have never even met a Jewish per­son. How­ever, the at­ti­tude is one of cu­rios­ity, not re­jec­tion, and the so­ci­ety’s events aim to combat this lack of knowl­edge.

Free lessons in ba­sic He­brew have al­lowed peo­ple to reach the stan­dard of be­ing able to read pray­ers and even learn a few phrases — a great ben­e­fit for those who missed out on Jewish school or He­brew classes. The so­ci­ety also runs reg­u­lar minibus out­ings to Booze 4 Jews events across the coun­try. Links with nearby New­cas­tle Univer­sity Jsoc and the Gateshead Jewish com­mu­nity are par­tic­u­larly strong.

Ul­ti­mately, while Durham Jsoc may not pro­vide a chance for you to meet hun­dreds of Jews, it does of­fer a friendly en­vi­ron­ment with­out tak­ing over your cam­pus life. What more could you ask for? Joe stud­ies his­tory at Durham. He is from Red­bridge, Es­sex

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.