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Bye Bye Guy (Dabby-Joory)

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Bye Bye Guy (Dabby-Joory)

UJS Head of Campaigns, Guy Dabby-Joory, says goodbye after two years with us.

When I started at university, I knew that I wanted to go to JSoc. Five years later, look where it’s taken me. 

My UJS journey was hardly typical. I was JSoc President in Autumn 2020, as we went from one lockdown to another, and the rules changed on a seemingly weekly basis. Instead of antisemitism crises or huge parties, the decisions I made were about contact tracing and whether students could bensch without a mask on! I became involved with UJS nationally when I ran a friend’s campaign to be UJS President, and then when I went to UJS Convention that year, I knew immediately that this was what I wanted to do full-time. 

My first year at UJS was like nothing I could ever have expected. I went from campus to campus, meeting the most amazing Jewish students from all walks of life. Just a few months out of university, I was able to do so many incredible things at UJS – it really is a grad scheme like no other! At the same time, I was – and continue to be – proud of how we led the community with the stances we took during the formation of a new Israeli Government, remaining true to the values that Jewish students hold so dear. 

As I started my second year, as UJS Head of Campaigns, I planned out so much of the proactive work that I wanted to do to advocate on behalf of Jewish students and fight against antisemitism on campus. But when I woke up on October 7th, it was clear that everything was about to change. We were in a new reality, and nothing has been the same since. 

We at UJS often describe the past year as “a year like no other”. And that’s been true for so many reasons. Of course, the antisemitism which Jewish students have faced has been nothing short of horrific. Some of the reports of this abuse will stay with me for a long time, and those who try to deny are complicit in disgusting intimidation, and are truly shameful. The support we’ve received from both Government and Opposition has also been unprecedented. But most importantly, at the same time as all of this hatred, Jewish students have shown that they’re tougher than anything that could be thrown at them. 

Part of my role at UJS involves advising JSocs across the country as they navigate challenging campus environments. It means that I’ve had the incredible privilege of speaking to hundreds of Jewish student leaders and volunteers since October 7th, as they’ve had to make impossible and controversial decisions, put in long and often thankless hours, and been a confident voice on their campuses as they’ve led hundreds of their peers through completely uncharted waters. Every single one of them has completely risen to the challenge. The Jewish students whom I’ve had the honour of supporting continue to inspire me. Peer leadership has triumphed in the face of adversity. 

It would be easy to focus on the negatives of this year. I wish I could say that things seem to be on the up; instead, the past two months have been characterised by an utterly broken NUS Conference (complete with graffitied swastikas in a toilet stall) and a new rise in antisemitic incidents on campuses across the UK and Ireland, seemingly perpetrated by people galvanised by encampments, leaving Jewish students on edge and feeling unwelcome on campus.  

Yet I still feel positive as I leave UJS. I know that Jewish student life – and indeed the very future of the Jewish community – remains in safe hands, and that whatever is thrown at us, Jewish students will prevail. 

When I look back at my time at UJS, I will remember the bizarre juxtapositions which defined it. Flying back early from an EUJS Seminar in Greece to see the Prime Minister on 2 hours sleep. Having shots with an MP at a JSoc Friday Night Dinner. Being labelled as a ‘self-hating Jew’ and a “Zionazi” by extremists on all sides of the political spectrum. Ice-skating with London Jewish students in a suit and tie having come from a Hanukkah reception. UJS gave me the most incredible – and at times, truly bizarre – experiences and opportunities, and this has been a true privilege. 

For anyone thinking of going to JSoc, taking on a committee position, or working for UJS, I simply cannot recommend it enough. UJS, JSoc, and Jewish life on campus have made me the person who I am today, and for that, I will be forever grateful. 


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