How UJS is supporting Jewish students spending Pesach alone

New initiatives are being provided to support the rare occurrence of Jewish students celebrating Pesach on campus


Students in Nottingham (Credit: UJS)

For the first time in many years, Seder night and Pesach this year falls during term-time for most Jewish students in the UK, and the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) and Jewish University Chaplaincy are both finding ways to support students celebrating Pesach away from family.

Striving to assist students create a “home away from home” this Pesach, UJS will be providing funding for student Seders across the country, providing kosher for Pesach care packages, creating materials including a Haggadah companion for students, and connecting students with their local Jewish communities.

Jewish students can access these provisions by contacting their Sabbatical Officer.

Dora Hirsh, UJS’ Jewish Enrichment and Engagement Officer, said: “It’s a truly special experience working to ensure that thousands of Jewish students across the UK and Ireland can fully celebrate Pesach on campus – just like they would at home with their families. We’ve been working hard over the past few months planning and preparing to support Jewish students through the holiday, and we are incredibly excited.”

University Jewish Chaplaincy meanwhile, which promotes and supports Jewish student life, welfare and pastoral care on campuses, say they are “gearing up for a significant demand for support” over the holiday.

The charity says they have since October 7 provided support to over 1,600 students who faced antisemitism, with overall engagement exceeding 19,000 student interactions, with that number to “climb considerably” this month.

Their aim is to make this Pesach “accessible, meaningful, and welcoming for all students, ensuring they can access kosher for Pesach food and participate in a Seder.”

Chaplaincy has aided students surrounding the issue of exam schedule clashes with Pesach and Shavuot, successfully navigating some 65 potential conflicts to ensure students “do not have to choose between their academic responsibilities and religious practices.”

Students are being encouraged to reach out to their relevant chaplain should their exam timetable clash with Pesach.

Pesach is celebrated in the Hebrew month of Nisan, and is particularly late this year due to it being a leap year in the lunar-based Jewish calendar.

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