New hope in Newcastle

Josh Arad’s mission, as Newcastle University JSoc president, is to “create a home away from home” for all Jewish students.

The third-year medical student was so touched by the welcome afforded to him by young Jewish families in the city that he is now working hard to replicate that atmosphere for others.

“My aim is to recreate, on a larger scale, what happened to me when I first arrived — creating a welcoming environment for Jewish students with community events,” he said.

Mr Arad became a JSoc committee member two years ago, but at that time the society had only a handful of members and ran few events.

Former JSoc president Tanna Carrel kick-started the society, and since Josh became president last September it has thrived. The society has organised several Friday night dinners, movie nights and barbecues. Membership numbers have grown as a result.

“I am cautiously optimistic,” said the 23-year-old, listing the range of JSoc events planned for the near future. The society’s elections take place this month and will incorporate an AGM.

The JSoc has also worked alongside the local Hillel committee to open a new Hillel House, with two bedrooms and space for social events.

Mr Arad said he was proud of the “close-knit” atmosphere among JSoc members. He hopes the “great buzz” will encourage more Jewish students to move to universities in the city.

“It is a great, growing society and we are seeing more and more people joining us,” he said.

The JSoc enjoys a close relationship with Newcastle’s Jewish community, which sponsors one Friday night dinner every year.

Last updated: 10:49am, March 14 2013