Simon Friend

Students welcome state-of-the-art Hillel

By Simon Friend, October 17, 2008

A new era for Jewish student life in London was launched last week with the opening of a state-of-the-art Hillel in Euston.

Having been based in Endsleigh Street for over 50 years, the non-residential Hillel has long been a landmark for Jewish students in the capital, as well as one of the few kosher food options in the West End area. While the new premises in Euston Road, close to Upper Woburn Place, are only a few minutes walk away, a great deal has changed.

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Three Jewish nominees for the Guardian Student Media Awards

By Simon Friend, October 10, 2008

The nominees for the annual Guardian Student Media Awards were announced this week. Three of them are Jewish: Daniel Calder of Manchester University, Naomi Stauber of the University of the Arts, London, and Juliette Gerstein of Leeds University.

Juliette, who has just begun an MPhil in international relations at Oxford University, having completed her BA in politics last year, has been nominated for the award of best Student Diversity writer.

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Gloucester University's Rugby Nazi-themed initiation ceremony caught on camera.

By Simon Friend, October 10, 2008

Gloucester University Rugby 1st XV's Nazi-themed initiation ceremony was caught on camera this week by a fellow student at the university. The footage, which was sold to the BBC, showed players dressed in SS uniforms parading the newer members through the streets with plastic bags over their heads, followed by vomiting due to their excessive drinking.

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UCL's first general meeting of the year held on Kol Nidre

By Simon Friend, October 10, 2008

The first University College London general meeting of this academic year, following the heated assembly in March when the union was twinned with two Palestinian universities, was held on Kol Nidre night.

UCL undergraduate Aryeh Lehrer said: "The decision to hold the AGM on the most observed High Holy-day demonstrates a clear lack of consideration for UCL's 800 Jewish students and disenfranchises a large number of otherwise active individuals."

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Rosh Hashanah makes J-Soc withdraw from Fresher's Fairs

By Simon Friend, October 3, 2008

As Rosh Hashanah fell midweek, J-Soc Freshers' Fair stalls in some universities have had to withdraw from the main union fairs.

Scores of other societies benefit from their presence at these events, which they use as the main function of the year to promote membership. Jewish Societies in both City and Westminster Universities, which both had fairs over the New Year, have arranged for stalls to be set up independently in high-profile spaces on campus, where they can push awareness of their facilities for Jewish students.

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Jeneration Students launched this week.

By Simon Friend, October 3, 2008

This week sees the launch of Jeneration Students - a range of projects which include the publication of the Ultimate Guide to Student Survival and a scheme that will offer activities on campuses across the UK.

eneration is backed by the Movement for Reform Judaism, but there are community-wide as well as Reform events.

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Coexistence Trust starts work with LSE

By Simon Friend, October 3, 2008

The Coexistence Trust has begun work on a project at the London School of Economics in which it conducts interviews with Jewish students about their relationship with their Islamic peers.

The trust, a branch of Lord Janner's office, will be questioning students on all major campuses, starting at the LSE in light of the controversial motions put forward last year declaring Israel an "apartheid" state.

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UJS moves its central offices to "bohemian" Camden Town

By Simon Friend, September 26, 2008

As well as the much talked-about new state-of-the-art student centre in Euston, this week UJS moved its central offices from its longstanding base in Endsleigh Street to Camden Town. In addition to several stylish meeting rooms, a video-conferencing suite has been fitted for the umbrella organisation to be in touch with Jewish societies around the country, with the aim of “greater unity and integration when planning events and better communication when discussing issues”, according to UJS chair Adam Pike.

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Freshers’ weeks mean a traditional drive to boost J-Soc memberships

By Simon Friend, September 26, 2008

Freshers’ weeks mean a traditional drive to boost J-Soc memberships — but this year there has been a more centralised flavour. The Union of Jewish Students has been ferrying 15 laptops around university campuses to create a more comprehensive database of Jewish students.

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