UJS should play a different game

By James Lewis, December 8, 2011

Sunday's UJS elections showed that it sees itself as a religious and political organisation with social issues coming a very distant third. I was dismayed to see that my proposal for UJS to hold social sport events other than the Juefa cup was rejected.

While the tournament is a success every year it is the only sport competition available and is, in my opinion, incredibly limited. For the large proportion of students who like football it is a fun and exciting day but it is not particularly appealing to those who have no interest in it or are not exactly would-be Wayne Rooney's.

The motion I proposed suggested a wider range of sports days for JSocs up and down the country - namely netball, golf, and a separate women's football competition.

I felt that this idea was viable and that it would certainly generate enough interest among Jewish students while also getting people involved in JSoc who perhaps they normally wouldn't.

At the moment teams of girls do enter the Juefa cup, there are far more male competitors. It would have benefited girls who wish to participate to be given the chance to compete on a completely different day. It would encourage more girls to enter as they would not feel they were in a secondary position and it would have been an opportunity for UJS to encourage more girls to play football and get involved with JSoc.

There is no reason that they should both be held on the same day - is the women's FA Cup final held on the same day as the men's? No. So why not hold a second Juefa cup to coincide with one of the other Booze for Jews weekends?

I also felt that a netball tournament would have got more girls involved in sport. This is certainly something that could have been done on the same day as the football and there would have been more than enough people interested in netball - including boys who do not enjoy watching or playing football. Nottingham JSOC has had flourishing women's netball teams for years; clearly, the interest is there.

As a golf player, I may have a personal interest in there being a JSoc tournament, but I reject the argument there is not enough of an interest in golf for there to be one. I can name around 20 people off the top of my head who would play in a golf competition or social. There are Jewish golf clubs across the UK. Birmingham and Leeds both have them in their cities and contact could have been made with some of these to see if a tournament could have been held there.

UJS has really missed an opportunity to involve Jewish students who do not like going to JSoc's regular events, or who do not enjoy playing football. It seems that political and religious matters are more important to them.

It is crucial for UJS to remember that while many Jewish students have strong views on Israel and Judaism, it is an organisation that serves younger people. UJS need to consider ways to get people involved in other areas. It would be to the organisation's benefit to have more social activities other than just the Juefa Cup and Booze for Jews. It is strange that they have not seen that.

Last updated: 3:59pm, December 6 2011