Idea #9: Create an online platform for Jewish students


By Miriam Shaviv
March 10, 2010
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alexdwek.JPG

During the month of March, I will be publishing a daily proposal to transform the British Jewish community. Email your own idea (up to 350 words) to miriamshaviv@thejc.com

Today's idea comes from Alex Dwek: Create an online platform for Jewish Students.

Communal organisations worldwide are continually facing the challenge of engaging young people. Student organisations such as UJS are no different: it is a constant battle to ensure that as a student group we continue to be cutting edge and relevant.

Technology has often been seen as one of clearest ways of achieving this. It is now routine for organisations to launch pages on Facebook and use Twitter and Youtube in order to get their message across.

But are we using these forms of technology effectively enough?

Too often organisations use these tools as a one-way form of communication, talking at students rather than communicating with them. As a student you are bombarded with online invitations to events and information pages about various groups, to the point where it will soon become no different to when someone puts a leaflet through your door.

We need to change the way we use these online networks so that students are given more of a say of what is on offer.

My idea is to create an online platform for Jewish students. This would be a two-way platform where both organisations and students could upload ideas for events and campaigns, as well as resources for education, social action and campus activism.

This would be unique because it would not just involve organisations generating ideas; it be an opportunity for comment and discussion as to what works and what does not and most importantly, what individual students across the country would really like to see. Additionally it would allow students to access all the resources that the community has to offer in one place.

I believe this could play an important role in ensuring that student organisations do not overlap in the resources they produce, allowing them to save money and allocate resources to different projects.

If successful this platform would extend to include Jewish organisations worldwide.

Whilst our community in the UK is one of the most vibrant, there is still a lot we can both learn from and share with student organisations in the US, Canada, Australia, South African, France and others. We must ensure that we are being efficient with our ideas and resources. For example, a successful student Purim event in Sydney could be submitted online and then be recreated in Birmingham. An effective response to an Israel Apartheid Week in South Africa could be used across UK campuses. The possibilities are endless, and I believe that taking this step would significantly enhance Jewish student life in the UK.

Alex Dwek is the UJS chair-elect. He will take up the position mid-July

Check out our previous ideas:

8 - Appoint anti-antisemitism champions

7 - Share our synagogues and community centres with other religions

6 - Establish a Succah in Trafalgar Square

5 - Create a 'community service' programme for young Jews

4 - Recruit older people to volunteer for the community

3 - Establish a fund for the Jewish arts

2 - Pay membership fees to your community, not your shul

1 - Make 2010/11 the year of synagogue renewal

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