Chazon is the name given to the first three weeks of July in the UJS calendar, when the sabbatical team get started.
Two weeks in the UK sandwich a week in Israel, during which the team learns about the values that shape UJS, explores some of the challenges we will face in the coming year and discovers the best ways to make the most of what we can do for Jewish students in the UK.
It turns out, therefore, that ‘Chazon’ is an apt name, since it means ‘vision’ in Hebrew; and vision is certainly what we have gained in the last few weeks. Here’s how it breaks down:
A vision of inclusivity for our union
Through meeting Rabbinical leaders across our community’s spectrum, including Chief Rabbi Mirvis, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, learning about the efforts of the Women of the Wall in Jerusalem, hearing from members of Israel’s Mizrahi community, visiting Tel Aviv’s Gay Center and spending time with Jami (the UK’s Jewish mental health charity), who supported us on Reclaim, and Keshet UK (the UK’s Jewish LGBT organisation), we have developed a vision of how to build on the work of last year’s team to make sure that local J-Socs and UJS nationally are even more inclusive and welcoming to Jewish students of all backgrounds and interests; from religious observance to Liberation and beyond.
A vision for the Israel debate on campus
We visited Jerusalem and Jaffa as well as Ramallah, Eli and Ariel in the West Bank, where we grappled with the Israel-Palestine conflict on a real and tangible level. We saw partnerships and progress at Roots, Sadaka Reut (the Arab Jewish Youth Partnership), the Jaffa Theatre for Arab Hebrew Culture and more, and we left with renewed hope alongside the skills and knowledge we’ll need to address the debate on campus in the coming year.
A vision for new and exciting projects for all Jewish students in the UK
We planned projects for the upcoming term and learnt about the year plan put together by our new President, Josh, based on the manifesto he was elected on back in December 2016. We pushed the boundaries of what we can do as a team, coming up with incredible ideas that will allow us to provide even more opportunities to even more Jewish students in the coming year – we can’t say too much yet, but watch this space for exciting announcements!
A vision for our team
Amongst all this, we spent time together as a team where we learnt to work together, making the most of everyone’s unique skills, insights and experience. We come from J-Socs small and large, near and far; some of us are creative, others are analytical; we belong to different denominations of Judaism and we are able to support a massively diverse range of campus programmes, but what truly unites us is that we are all hugely excited for the year ahead.
The Chazon period truly gave our team a vision for the year ahead, that we can’t wait to begin creating – but as your representative union, we also want to hear from you.
It’s important to us that we make sure we represent you and provide you with everything you want from UJS, so please do get in touch with the President, Josh, or your J-Soc Officers at any point in the year if you have an idea you’d like to see happen, from a local event to a national campaign, a charity project or an educational initiative.
See you on campus!