President: Erin Waks
Approx Jewish Students on campus: 50+
We are a small Jsoc, providing social and Jewish events for the Jewish (and interested non-Jewish) students of Durham. Durham is a small and active society, we often hold events with neighbouring J-Socs like Newcastle. We love to hold events around food and are lucky enough to have catered Friday night dinners.
Durham has a hugely vibrant and inclusive JSoc, welcoming people from all backgrounds and observance levels. There is always something going on, with weekly kosher catered 3 course Friday night meals, fortnightly informal Lunch & Learn sessions, guest speakers, Genesis, celebrations for festivals and of course…. socials!! Whatever your connection to Judaism, there is a place for you in Durham JSoc!'
The Jewish Society at Durham is one of the three fastest growing Jewish student communities in Britain. In recent years Durham University has emerged as a popular choice for Jewish students.
The J-Soc attracts high profile speakers - last year for instance the Israeli deputy-ambassador to Britain was welcomed as well as Ray Hill, the former BNP member turned whistle blower and the inspirational Rabbi Daniel Rowe. This year we have hosted the MP for Durham City, Roberta Blackman-Woods at a Friday night dinner as well as Rabbi Tatz and Managing Editor of Honestreporting.com, Simon Plosker. All these events have been well attended, which students finding them to be both interesting and relevant.
Durham is collegiate, in a similar vein to Oxford or Cambridge, which creates a particularly friendly environment in which students can study and socialise. This, along with the city's idyllic scenery and relaxed and safe nature, makes Durham a great place for Jewish students to go to university. Much of your social life will revolve around your college, though your academic study will be university-wide. You should make sure you pick your college carefully as each has a different “character”. As a general rule, the “Bailey Colleges” – University, Hatfield, St Chad’s, St John’s etc – are more traditional and “public-school” and the “Hill Colleges” – Collingwood, St. Aidan’s, Van Mildert, Grey etc – are more informal. However, most students tend to love the college they end up going to.
Durham isn’t a large city. However, because it is bustling with students it has good restaurants and shops. Those who eat vegetarian out will not have a problem. Being up north, Durham has its fair share of pubs, most of which are very student friendly. Finally, Durham is teeming with little tea-houses, cafes and sit-down delis where one can enjoy a delightful meal.
If you’re living in college, much of your social life will be centered around the College Bar, which will have a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and affordable drinks.
Kosher Food & Accommodation
Students live in college during the first year, live out during the second, and then have the choice during third year. All colleges aside from Josephine Butler are fully-catered. If specifically asked for, colleges may be able to provide kosher meals. However, if this is not possible then a vegetarian option is always available.
Durham is close to Gateshead, which has a kosher butcher and baker. This is accessible via the Newcastle Metro and also the A1 for those who have cars. However, the main source of kosher food will be Friday Nights and other events hosted by the J-Soc which take place in St Aidan’s College. St Aidan’s is now equipped with a fully kosher kitchen in which specially trained staff can prepare kosher meals. This has revolutionised Jewish life in Durham.
Local Synagogue Information
Newcastle has two synagogues, the Orthodox UHC (United Hebrew Congregation) and the NRS (Newcastle Reform Synagogue). Both Synagogues are very welcoming and delighted to see students at services or community events.
Newcastle Reform Synagogue
United Hebrew Congregation
A liberal community meets in Durham once a month in a church for shabbat services.