Union of Jewish Students

Union of Jewish Students of the United Kingdom & Ireland
Founded 1919 (1919)
Type Student Union
Area served
The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland
c. 64 Jewish Societies, > 8,500 members
Key people
Josh Seitler (President)
c. 15
Website www.ujs.org.uk
Formerly called
The Inter University Jewish Federation

The Union of Jewish Students of the United Kingdom and Ireland (UJS) was established in 1919, when it was known as the Inter-University Jewish Federation (IUJF). The organisation was renamed UJS in 1973 and currently represents a constituency of approximately 8,500 Jewish students, with somewhere between four and five thousand being members of its affiliated Jewish Societies (J-Socs) on individual campuses. It is an executive member of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) and the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS). The current President for the 2016/17 academic year is Josh Seitler, a graduate of The London School of Economics.

About UJS

UJS is a confederation of Jewish Societies (J-Socs) but also provides further opportunities for student engagement through our national programming.

UJS full-time staff are recent graduates led by an elected President.

The core values of UJS are:

Cross-Communalism: They believe that UJS and J-Soc activities should be open to all Jewish students regardless of religious affiliation or denomination.

Peer-leadership: They believe in empowering students to run their own programming for their peers.

Representation: They believe that Jewish students should have their voices heard both locally and nationally. J-Soc committees and the UJS President are elected roles which consider the views of their members and in turn represent the views of Jewish students to the wider community.

Engagement with Israel: They believe that Jewish students should have the support and space to explore their connection and relationship with Israel.

UJS's work is divided into 5 areas:

J-Socs: They currently provide training and funding for over 60 J-Socs situated around the country. UJS offers J-Socs this support in order to enhance their activities and Jewish student life on campus.

Campaigns: UJS campaigns to defend its members' interests. They work with universities, NUS (National Union of Students) and the government to ensure that the needs of Jewish students are met and represented at every level.

Careers and Networking: Members of UJS are offered the opportunity to participate in career networking events, master classes and a summer placement scheme.

National Events: Each year UJS hosts and runs national events to bring together Jewish students from across the country. These include: JUEFA Cup football tournament, UJS training Summit, UJS Conference, UJS Student Awards, Shabbat UK and Jewniversity Challenge.

Services: They work with universities to secure Jewish student accommodation and spaces for J-Soc activities as well as sourcing kosher food for students on campuses around the country.


The IUJF (Inter University Jewish Federation) was the creation of the Manchester Jewish Association. They had the vision and the foresight to comprehend a growing pride in the Jewish Community and that the time was ripe for Jewish students to have a national organisation to co-ordinate the activities of the Jewish student Societies and to represent Jewish students at a national level.

The first step was to hold a conference in Manchester on July 17th 1919 at which four societies were represented: Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Oxford. Although not represented on the outset, the London University Jewish Society subsequently took an active and eventually a leading part in the federation’s affairs.

In 1946 the following Universities had societies affiliated to the Federation: Belfast; Birmingham; Cambridge; Cardiff; Dublin; Durham; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Leeds; Liverpool; London; Manchester; Oxford; Reading; Sheffield.

The two main activities of the Federation, from its inception, were an annual Summer School and an Annual Conference, held in the winter vacation.

With the rise to power of the Nazis, large numbers of Jewish students had their studies disrupted and many sought refuge in various countries outside Germany; the International Students Service was in the forefront of providing advice to these displaced students and financial assistance was made available from communal funds. The Federation was active in supporting these efforts; almost £2000 was raised from University students in Britain.

Throughout its existence the IUJF was involved with the general Jewish community. It was represented on the Board of Deputies and the Zionist Federation and had an ongoing liaison with Jewish Youth Study Groups.

For almost fifty years from its foundation until the creation of the Hillel Foundation, the IUJF had no office, no staff, no sabbatical officers and no assured budget other than the money that the students could raise themselves. The Federation was run from the rooms of the then Chairman or Secretary; all activities were organized by the students themselves on a voluntary basis in their spare time; from time to time small subventions were obtained from the general community.

It was the partner with which B’nai B’rith set up the Hillel Foundation which provided the IUJF with its first permanent office and its first professional assistance. This enabled the Federation and its successor, UJS, to increase its work beyond the wildest expectations its founders.

The organization was renamed UJS in 1973 and currently represents a constituency of approximately 8,500 Jewish students, with somewhere between 2500 – 3000 active members of its affiliated Jewish Societies (J-Socs) on individual campuses.


UJS also takes a leading role in the politics of the National Union of Students with at least one member of the National Executive Committee being closely linked to UJS for many years. UJS has supported Wes Streeting and Aaron Porter, who became successive Presidents of the National Union of Students in 2008 and 2010.[1] The UJS funds delegations of Students’ Union leaders to visit Israel.[2] Through this it has had a close involvement with the NUS Anti-Racism and Anti-Fascism campaigns in recent years. UJS does not locate itself anywhere specific on the right-left political spectrum, claiming to be a pressure group supporting the interests of Jewish students, rather than a political faction. UJS works with those it believes to support the interests of Jewish students.

In addition to its political role, UJS is active in representing Jewish students' specific religious needs to academic institutions, providing informal Jewish education to members, promoting inter-faith dialogue, and social activity. For many of its members the political aspect of its activities are secondary.

The UJS Student Awards

The annual UJS Student Awards were inaugurated in 2009 to recognise the hard work and dedication of Jewish students who have made an exceptional contribution to Jewish life on campus. These students devote countless hours of their time on top of university work, extra curriculars and spending time with their friends to ensure that Jewish student life on campus is thriving, vibrant, safe, and fun. The winners of the awards are listed below.

Year Education Award Events Award Social Action Award CST Campaigns Award Communications Award Israel Engagement Award Interfaith Award Liberation Award Developing J-Soc of the year J-Soc of the year* Alan Senitt Award**
2009 Adam Parker, Oxford J-Soc Aaron Kienwald, London J-Soc Yoav Farbey, Bristol J-Soc Adam Langleben, Leeds J-Soc Brighton & Sussex J-Soc Jeremy Foreman, Bristol J-Soc
2010 Gideon Julius, Bristol J-Soc Ben Curtis & Alex Green, Birmingham J-Soc Daniel Heller, Nottingham J-Soc Marcelle Jennings, Brighton and Sussex J-Soc Durham J-Soc Rachel Wenstone, Leeds J-Soc
2011 Aurel Diamond, Bath J-Soc Benjy Levey, Stu Bernstein & Charlotte Sapier, Birmingham J-Soc Ricky Kaplan, Nottingham J-Soc Gabi Kobrin, LSE J-Soc St Andrews J-Soc Birmingham J-Soc Ilana Fenster, Nottingham J-Soc
2012 Charles Braunstein and Michael Kosky, Leeds J-Soc Fleur Freedman, Shushu Aberbach, Simon Fidler & Natasha Nassimi, London J-Socs Dan Clyne, Sarah-Jayne Grahame & Rebecca Shapira, Nottingham J-Soc Jay Stoll, LSE J-Soc Robert Prager, Leeds J-Soc Exeter J-Soc Nottingham J-Soc Joseph Moses, Birmingham J-Soc
2013 Joseph Hyman, Leeds J-Soc Stacey Abendstern, Birmingham J-Soc Abigail Kay, Heythrop College J-Soc Claire Sackman, Birmingham J-Soc Sam de Kare-Silver, Nottingham J-Soc Simon Leigh, Nottingham J-Soc Reading J-Soc Imperial J-Soc Robert Prager, Leeds J-Soc
2014 Edinburgh J-Soc Saul Gaunt, Brighton and Sussex J-Soc Noah Nathan, Imperial J-Soc Miriam Rose, Middlesex J-Soc Mark Larah, Manchester J-Soc Samantha Magnus & Jordan Grabski, Leeds J-Soc Ben Kasstan, Durham J-Soc Melissa Leigh, Manchester J-Soc Middlesex J-Soc UCL J-Soc Joe Cohen, Nottingham J-Soc
2015 Ela Naegele, Oxford J-Soc Olivia Davidson & Sophie Calmanson, Birmingham J-Soc Linnet Kaymer, Oxford J-Soc Miriam Steiner, Joshua Brill & Daniel Ben-Chorin, Brighton and Sussex J-Soc Hannah Sharron, Birmingham J-Soc Joel Salmon, St. Andrews J-Soc Esther Malkinson, Loughborough J-Soc Hannah Brady, UCL J-Soc Durham J-Soc & Newcastle J-Soc*** Bristol J-Soc Lucy Cohen, Leeds J-Soc
2016 Sally Patterson, Rebecca Filer, Leo Berger & Lily Ross, Bristol J-Soc Lily Keisler, Glasgow J-Soc; Kathryn Rose, St Andrews J-Soc; & Josh Woolf, Lancaster J-Soc Orli Goldberg, Birmingham J-Soc Joel Collick & Jonny Shamir, Cambridge J-Soc Eliot Cohen, Cambridge J-Soc Sacha Ephrussi & Yoni Stone, Oxford J-Soc Aaron Simons, Oxford J-Soc Louise Cohen, Nottingham J-Soc Lancaster J-Soc Oxford J-Soc Joel Salmon, St. Andrews J-Soc

Past Leadership

The UJS President is elected by Jewish students to represent their voices within the community, universities, colleges and wider society.

Title Name Years in office University Notes
President Hannah Brady 2015-2016 Kings College, London (BA); University College, London (MA)
President Ella Rose 2014-2015 University of Nottingham
President Joe Tarsh 2013-2014 Manchester Metropolitan University
President Alex Green 2012-2013 University of Birmingham
President Daniel Grabiner 2011-2012 University of Leeds
Chairperson Alex Dwek 2010-2011 University of Manchester
Chairperson Adam Pike 2008-2010 University of Manchester
Chairperson Jessica Truman 2007-2008 Manchester Metropolitan University
Chairperson Jonathan Levy 2006-2007 University of Manchester
Chairperson Wallace Rosenberg 2005-2006 University of Manchester
Chairperson Dan Sacker 2004-2005 University of Manchester
Chairperson Mark Ross 2003-2004 Queen Mary, University of London
Chairperson Alan Senitt 2001-2003 University of Birmingham
Chairperson Ashley Hirst 2000-2001 University of Manchester
Chairperson Ruth Bookatz 1999-2000 University of Manchester
Chairperson Adam Dawson 1998-1999 University of Leeds
Chairperson Danny Newman 1997-1998 University of Oxford
Chairperson Susie Simmons 1996-1997 Manchester Metropolitan University
Chairperson Nick Cosgrove 1995-1996 University of Hull
Chairperson David Kaplan 1994-1995 University of Glasgow
Chairperson Tony Danker 1993-1994 University of Manchester
Chairperson Robert Sumroy 1992-1993 University of Cambridge
Chairperson Ian Myers 1991-1992 Manchester Polytechnic
Chairperson Howard Silverman 1990-1991 Keele University
Chairperson Jonny Mendelsohn 1989-1990 University of Leeds
Chairperson Stephen Kurer 1988-1989 University College London
Chairperson Paul Frosh 1987-1988 University of Cambridge
Chairperson Ashley Harshak 1986-1987 University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Chairperson Adrian Cohen 1985-1986 London School of Economics
Chairperson Simon Myerson 1984-1985 University of Cambridge
Chairperson Matthew Kalman 1983-1984 University of Cambridge
Chairman Sam Clarke 1982-1983 University of Sheffield
Chairman Sam Jacobs 1981-1982
Chairman Danny Joseph 1980-1981 University of Leeds
Chairman Rowel Genn 1979-1980 Queens University, Belfast
Chairman David Waxman 1978-1979
Chairman Moshe Forman 1977-1978
Chairman Simon Caplan 1976-1977 University of Oxford
Chairman Mark Dines 1975-1976 University of Manchester
Interim Co-Chairman Melvyn Kay 1974-1975
Interim Co-Chairman Andrew Jacobs 1974-1975
Chairman Phil Shilco 1974 King's College, London
Chairman Alan Freeman 1973-1974 School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Chairman David Bloch 1972-1973 University College London
Chairman Rosalind Nysenbaum 1971-1972 Queen Mary, University of London
Chairman Arnold Wagner OBE 1970-1971 University of Middlesex University
Chairman David Rosenberg 1969-1970 University of Glasgow
Chairman Alan Baker 1968 University College London

See also


  1. "UJS at NUS Conference 2009". Union of Jewish Students. 7 June 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  2. "Porter Selected to Visit Israel". University of Leicester Students' Union. 18 November 2007. Retrieved 5 March 2011.

External links

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