Campus notebook - Chabad conference
Reaching out: Chabad’s campus rabbis discussed future projects at their conference
More than a dozen rabbis from Chabad's campus team held a conference to discuss issues facing Jewish students. The two-day seminar in central London included workshops and a gala banquet. The chaplains were joined by their wives and families at the event. Topics up for discussion included the creation of a journal to be produced by the campus rabbis, ways to build unity among Jewish student groups and solutions to halachic issues facing students. The keynote address was given by Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, vice-chair of Chabad Lubavitch International. He said he was impressed by the number of Chabad workers on campuses, but said the organisation must focus on further out-reach work.
● UJS's next regional Shabbaton takes place in Bournemouth next weekend. Around 50 students from London will travel to the south coast with chaplain Rabbi Gavin Broder. Activities will include a cocktail party, Quasar session and beach visit. Tickets cost £30 each or £130 for a group of five. To book visit www.ujs.org.uk.
● A JSoc training seminar was organised at Glasgow University by Scotland chaplain Rabbi Garry Wayland. Society leaders and committee members from Glasgow and Edinburgh took part, discussing ways to develop their JSocs, plan and co-ordinate regional events and refine committee roles. Special attention was paid to finding the best ways to engage disaffected students.
● Leeds JSoc hosts its first major event of 2011 with a Friday night dinner on February 4. A UV bubble party follows two days later. Benji Turgel, publicity officer, said: "We have been working very hard since we were elected on setting up this weekend and we are hoping it will be a huge success." The society has also launched a new website – www.leedsjsoc.com – which will be updated with news from Hillel and information about Jewish life on campus. The site includes sections offering prospective Leeds students advice on accommodation and campus visits.
● Jeneration held a two-day seminar for its campus representatives. The pluralist movement for students and young adults will have 14 reps on 11 campuses around the country.They will each work with JSocs to help organise events, workshops, campaigns, egalitarian services and Friday night meals. Jeneration's student fieldworker Sheldon Mordsley planned the seminar. Speakers included Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, executive director of the Movement for Reform Judaism, Jeneration director Judith Williams and representatives from the Jewish Volunteering Network, Tzedek, Three Faiths Forum and Mitzvah Day.
● World Bnei Akiva's 12th international conference took place in Jerusalem with more than 150 representatives from 30 countries taking part. Seven British delegates represented BA UK. The opening ceremony took place at the Jerusalem Theatre, where Israeli President Shimon Peres made a heartfelt address. Recorded greetings by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Natan Sharansky and Israel's Chief Rabbis were screened. The event featured the Maccabeats' debut Israel performance.
The Yeshiva University acapella group - famous for their YouTube hit "Candlelight" which has reached more than 4.2 million hits – performed a revised BA version of the hit song. Daniel Goldman, a graduate of Newcastle BA and chairman of the World Friends of BA, said: "We heard about BA members who had made incredible contributions over the years and we saw the many hundreds of wonderful participants from every corner of the globe coming together to discuss the main themes of the conference."
● Tribe Israel hosted a concert in Jerusalem for its members on gap years in Israel. Former West End performer Caroline Pakter, who is Jewish, performed songs and spoke about her life at drama school and on the stage. She told 50 girls studying at seminaries about the difficult choices she had made in order to make the transition from the glamour of showbiz to the spirituality of Judaism. Merissa Gross, Tribe Israel executive and event organiser, said: "The girls were totally mesmerised by Caroline's stories and songs. Her music speaks straight to the heart, so it's perfect for Tribe which is trying to appeal to different types of people from different backgrounds."