Celebrating cultures similar, yet different to our own

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A recent speed faithing event, Leeds J-Soc

I am Rubin Verebes, a media student in my first year at the University of Nottingham. After recently emigrating back to the UK for further education, I have re-engaged myself in the Jewish cultural and religious bubble that I was deprived of back in Hong Kong - my recent home for the past nine years. In the first weeks of university, I decided to ingratiate myself in Jewish life on campus. I went to Chabad during freshers week for Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Friday night dinner; the chaplain for a chat and coffee; and Jewish Society to meet all the new Jewish students on campus.

I wanted to do more though. I applied and successfully joined the committee of Nottingham J-Soc, fulfilling my role as Interfaith Officer. My role as Interfaith Officer challenges the students and committees of other faith societies within the Nottingham Students Union; to organise and set up multi-faith events, to create an inclusive environment on campus for Jews and other religious believers. This is vital for a community like the one of Nottingham campuses.

The need to connect our small community with a larger faction of society is key. It is misguided not to notice how the diasporic and close-knit nature of the Jewish community today is parallel in other communities across Europe. The Gypsy Roma community share many similarities with the Jewish people; similar musical tastes, ours being the Klezmer musical genre, a genre of dance tunes for Jewish celebrations, and Gypsy folk, raw and local in its original state. Both the Romani and Jewish people are a dispersed people, facing segregation and discrimination from the states that we once called home.

Together in Tune brings the marriage of these two culturally-rich and musically-gifted communities together, celebrating Jewish-Roma cultural life with music and dance. It is equally important for us, the Jewish community, to engage in cultural beyond our communal borders, more broadly with ethnicities that faiths that aren’t recognised by many. We were once a community deprived of culture and customs, and as a resilience to overcome pressures from other states and governments, it is important to celebrate the heritage of the sometimes voiceless, sometimes forgotten communities, such as the Romani people.

I am looking forward to this event to celebrate the rich music styles of the significant Romani people. This event will promise a variety of highly versed and talented professional musicians and dancers.

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Rubin Verebes, Nottingham J-Soc

About UJS

We are the voice of over 8,500 Jewish students, spanning 60 Jewish Societies (J-Socs) on campuses across the UK and Ireland. We are traditional, progressive, cultural and spiritual; we come from the left, centre and right and can be found across religious and political spectrums.

Together we create and deliver powerful campaigns; fighting prejudice, advancing inclusion, and inspiring education and action on the issues that matter to us. 

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