Campus notebook: Chaplains tackle exam stress
UJC's Georgina Bye with Reverend Stephen Williams and Rabbi Gavin Broder
● University Jewish Chaplaincy is working hard to ensure students’ exams do not clash with Yomtov and Shabbat.
Chaplains have liaised with university examination offices to provide dates and times in order to maintain the integrity of exams.
Some Jewish students will be “quarantined” at chaplains’ homes over Shavuot and Shabbat to avoid meeting course colleagues who have already sat their exams.
Fruit, cakes and chocolate will also be dispensed as the rabbis and their families tour university libraries offering sustenance, advice and friendly faces.
Manchester chaplain Mati Kos and his wife Vanessa have converted the Fallowfield Jewish Student Centre into a revision space, offering breakfast, lunch and refreshments between 9am and midnight.
London chaplain Rabbi Gavin Broder and projects officer Georgina Bye met senior Anglican chaplain Reverend Stephen Williams to discuss how chaplains on campuses across London can assist Jewish students.
● A group of French Jewish students from Paris’s top engineering schools spent Shabbat in Oxford.
Hosted by Chabad on Campus, the 30 French engineers met British counterparts and discussed differences between university life in the two countries.
Bernard Yossef Paperon, Professor of Jewish studies at Sorbonne University, spoke about psychoanalysis, Kabbalah and French philosophy.
Students took part in a walking tour of medieval Jewish Oxford and made a sightseeing trip to central London before returning to France.
Rabbi Eli Brackman, director of Oxford University Chabad Society, said: “Hosting French Jewish students in Oxford was a great display of Jewish unity and an enriching experience.”
● The Jewish Agency’s team of student workers toured campuses promoting Israel.
It hosted a barbecue at Birmingham University, attracting more than 90 students, and an Israel-themed, Friday-night dinner at Manchester University, where 150 people tucked into dishes while listening to Israel’s senior Muslim diplomat, Ismail Khaldi, who discussed his life story and equal opportunities in Israel.
The agency has also hosted dinner events in Leeds and Nottingham.
● Bristol JSoc members volunteered to work in shifts on a student union stall to collect food for a shelter in the city. JSoc president Natasha Isaac said: “We collected various tinned soup, meat, beans and fruit as well as tea, coffee and hot chocolate and also washing-up liquid and toilet- and kitchen-roll.”
The goods were passed to the Julian Trust, which also cleans clothes for those staying at the shelter, aiding the homeless and those who sleep rough.
The JSoc team also helped deliver the goods to the shelter in their own cars, making a number of return trips to ensure the items arrived promptly.
● The University of Exeter’s Jewish chaplains took part in a multi-faith blessing at the campus’s new Forum building.
Chaplains Robin Kanarek and Tony Reese sang part of the morning service, followed by the priestly blessing and the blowing of the shofar.
The building will be used to conduct services for Jewish students every Friday afternoon during term time.
● Students from Bnei Akiva’s Hachshara gap-year programme spent a week in Poland and the Czech Republic visiting synagogues as well as concentration camps.
The places visited included Auschwitz, Krakow, Lodz, Prague and Terezin.