Union of Jewish Students honours its campus stars

UJS hands out awards for volunteering, engagement, social action and overall excellence of JSocs


A celebration of some of the leading lights in campus life was held in Knightsbridge as the Union of Jewish Students presented its awards.

One of the smaller JSocs, Huddersfield, took the social action prize for initiating Mitzvah Day projects with other faith societies, which included soup kitchen volunteering and collections for asylum seekers.

Anna Ritschl Ebell (Cambridge) was honoured for “Jewish enrichment”, having hosted prayer services and encouraged others to get involved.

Emma Taylor (Hertfordshire) received the award for inclusion as a champion of LGBTQ+ representation and support on her campus and across London.

She also shared the award for outstanding contribution to campus life with Cambridge JSoc’s Jack Lubner, who has led on campaigns ranging from countering Islamophobia within the Jewish community to providing antisemitism awareness training for student Labour clubs.

Oxford JSoc’s Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration was the event of the year.
Held at the Sheldonian Theatre — the most spectacular room in the university — it attracted almost 750 people to hear the story of survivor Janine Webber.

Cork and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama shared the new JSoc accolade. The Cork society is particularly notable as in the close to 200 years since the founding of the University College of Cork, there has not been an official community of Jewish students.

Hannah Haskel (Cambridge) took the Maurice Helfgott leadership award in recognition of her unstinting efforts, “without which Jewish students would not have had such a prominent voice on the NUS conference floor. She is a proud Jewish activist locally and nationally.”

Noah Getz (St Andrews) was honoured for establishing a popular interfaith football league, which raises money for the British Heart Foundation, at his university.

The Israel engagement category was won by Jacob Barnett (Leeds) and Glasgow JSoc took best campaign for its promotion of Holocaust remembrance in Scotland, which led to a motion in the Scottish Parliament.

Another Scottish victor was Edinburgh (JSoc of the year). One of the UK’s fastest-growing Jewish societies, its committee, led by Louis Danker, has hosted a Rosh Hashanah dinner for 200 students, weekly bagel lunches, collaborated with ISoc for an Islamophobia and antisemitism awareness event, organised an interfaith charity fair and run mental health awareness sessions with Jami.

Aaron Black (Leeds) was best volunteer for his efforts to engage Jewish students through sport across the UK.

And the education project prize went to Ruby Kwartz (Birmingham), where the JSoc hosted a Holocaust Memorial Day event for all students, which attracted a turnout of over 200.

UJS president Joel Rosen said: “Tonight was a celebration of the hundreds of students who make Jewish life on campus happen. We recognised the students who volunteer their time and make our movement what it is.”

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