Nottingham: Dealing with the transition

By Jennifer Lipman, March 3, 2011

Freshers week began on Rosh Hashanah. Then I discovered the university held Saturday exams – "I've never seen this before," said my tutor looking at my religious observance form. From day one, it was apparent Nottingham wasn't set up for Jewish student life.

When I chose Nottingham, I did so in the knowledge, even the relief, it was not one of the "big three". I wasn't to know I'd be arriving amid the first wave of its Jewish student explosion.

To today's freshers the idea that Nottingham was once a niche choice is incomprehensible, but the transition wasn't smooth. With no dedicated chaplain for the first year, Shabbat and festivals were tough. Kosher catering for events was a challenge. I remember looking at Leeds or Manchester, envious of how accessible everything was.

Yet within a year, JSoc's worry was whether there was enough food for Friday night or T-shirts for all the freshers who had signed up for the first bar crawl, and how to respond to the interest from organisations like JLE and Tribe.

From gaining its own chaplain to holding Booze for Jews in the biggest club in town, Nottingham had suddenly arrived. Socially, it is here to stay, but the need for provisions for Jewish life must also be remembered.

Jennifer Lipman is the JC's web reporter. She studied at the University of Nottingham from 2006 to 2009

Last updated: 11:27am, December 13 2011