Family & Education

JSocs get a dream start at freshers' week

University Jewish Socities have recruited hundereds of new members


University Jewish Societies have enjoyed a successful start to the academic year, with hundreds of new members taking part in Freshers’ Week events across the country.

In Leeds, JSoc members were treated to their own unique Freshers Fair, offering them a chance to sign up to almost a dozen other Jewish student groups including Chabad, Aish, JLE and Tribe.

Fresher events included a barbecue attended by 160 students, a Shabbat meal at the new Hillel student centre and a drinks night.

President Daniel Grabiner said more than 100 people had joined JSoc in the first week of term, with that number likely to double in the coming weeks.

Manchester JSoc held a number of events including its annual bar crawl, which attracted over 250 people.

President Jonathan Ison said: “The tickets for the bar crawl were specially designed T-shirts, so everyone looked really good, and had loads of fun graffitying each other.

“Freshers in Manchester have certainly chosen the right place to be.”

At University College London, 110 people joined JSoc on the first day of the Freshers’ Fair alone.

Co-president Jonny Grunwald said: “We did not know there would be such an influx of new students, it’s been massive. We ran out of fresher packs. The response has been great.”

A succah was also built in the university’s main quad this week, and on October 16 the JSoc is hosting a free freshers’ Friday-night dinner.

In Scotland, St Andrews JSoc welcomed a record number of recruits. Around 200 people joined up, making it one of the most popular Jsocs in the country.

Members of Dundee’s Jewish community hosted a Yom Kippur break-fast meal for St Andrews’ students. A group of golfers from New York joined in as they prepared to play the famous Old Course the following day.

Martin Samson, St Andrews JSoc vice-president, said: “We’ve had an excellent start, with many new members and exciting events, and we are looking forward to making this academic year a memorable one.”

There was also a busy freshers’ stall for Oxford Brookes JSoc, which signed up 50 new members. A Friday-night dinner at chaplain Rabbi Daniel Braune Friedman’s home saw a record turnout requiring extra tables to be set up.

Co-president Anna Harwood said the group had also added dozens of names to its mailing list and was now confident of climbing out of the shadows of Oxford University’s JSoc to hold specific Brookes-only events.

Bristol JSoc’s committee hosted a Japanese-style Friday-night dinner with sushi and teriyaki chicken. Funded by UJS Hillel, it attracted around 60 members.

Hull JSoc is starting its second year and signed up more than 30 new members. It also held a bagel brunch and is planning regular Friday-night dinners at members’ houses.

Sheffield JSoc held a post-Succot barbecue at the refurbished Hillel. Around 20 new members have been recruited. A Yorkshire region shabbaton takes place later this month.

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