Students get their own common room to meet rising demand
THE UNIVERSITY of Surrey is building a Jewish common room on its campus to cater for a growing community. Part of a new chaplaincy centre that opens next month, it will provide a central hub for in excess of 100 students and staff. The Jewish population
Campus rabbi Alex Goldberg (left) with Catholic chaplain John McCarthy campus has reached parity with the number of Jews living locally in Guildford.
The university incorporated the Guildford School of Acting several years ago and has also opened a veterinary school, law school and post-graduate medical research facility which have attracted increasing numbers of Jewish students, many from overseas.
“Being far from a big city, Guildford has quite a small Jewish population with little activity for young adults,” explained American-born PhD student Madeline Young, who leads the Jewish society with Gemma Levy. “So Jewish students at Surrey often lack solid social and community foundations to find our grounding. On a campus that has had issues with antisemitism and antiIsraeli activism, JSoc can be a positive voice for interfaith understanding and cultural tolerance.”
Ms Levy, an undergraduate veterinarian student, re-registered the Jewish society to the Student Union this year and more than 60 people have joined.
“It has completely changed my uni- versity experience,” she said. “The events we host not only allow us to celebrate who we are as Jews but also to educate non-Jewish students about Judaism and our festivals.”
Students celebrating Chanucah at the University of Surrey