Interfaith

What is Interfaith?

 

Our work on interfaith at UJS centres around bringing students of all faiths and none together to bring about cohesion and tolerance on campus. At times when hate crime and antisemitism are rising, it’s even more important to reach out to other faith groups to stand together against hatred.

Uniting around a common cause in the form of social action, particularly on Mitzvah Day, is one way through which UJS encourages interfaith on campus. National Interfaith Week this year featured events across 10 campuses including volunteering for local charities, interfaith Friday Night Dinners, guest speaker events and ‘speed-faithing’.

At NUS Conference 2017, our annual fringe event, attended by 120 delegates, featured the co-founders of Nisa-Nashim, Laura Marks OBE and Julie Siddiqi discussing ‘Friendship, Faith and Feminism’. Laura and Julie are co-founders of Nisa-Nashim, an organisation that aims to eradicate misconceptions of people who are different from each other by bringing Jewish and Muslim women together through leadership initiatives. They spoke about the need to unite in the face of hatred and division, with Laura noting that women of faith 'face oppression both within and outside their communities.’

 

What we do for Interfaith? 

 

Interfaith Week 2017

 

Every year, the Interfaith Network, an official Interfaith representative body, organises 1 week, normally in November; to 

  • Strengthening good inter faith relations at all levels
  • Increase awareness of different and distinct religious communities all around the U.K
  • Increases the understanding between people of all faiths, and even of no faiths.

 

What we did? 

This year, UJS supported over 50 Interfaith events on campus, which were facilitated or supported by over 20 local Jewish Societies. This is a huge achievement, where our numbers have almost tripled to last years figures. Over the course of the week, UJS managed to engage over 10,000 students across the U.K. We saw a huge diversity of events, ranging from panel discussions on contemporary issues such as Mental Health, to cultural/religious Interfaith food fairs. It is very fortunate that Mitzvah Day falls on the last day of Interfaith Week, as we used and will continue to use social action, as a platform of social cohesion. 

 

 

 

Year Round J-Soc Interfaith events

In addition to the work we do surrounding Interfaith week, our commitment to Interfaith activity and engagement is one that is ongoing and sustained year round. We continue to offer J-socs both funding and support for Interfaith initiatives and events year round, and below are a few successful examples of events that Jsoc's ran outside of Interfaith Week. 

Cambridge Interfaith Friday Night Dinner 

Nottingham J-soc Interfaith Friday Night Dinner 

Lancaster J-soc- participation in Lancaster's Culture Fair

Imperial College J-soc Interfaith Panel discussion on the Role of Religion

 

Year Round UJS Interfaith Events

As well as supporting Local Jewish Society's in their commitment to organising Interfaith initiatives on their campus, we are also involved in our own Interfaith Events, where we will partner with several Jewish societies, to achieve our shared goal of strengthening Interfaith Relations. 

 

Together in Tune

120 guests ranging in age from 10 to 85 gathered for a never-been-seen-before event at JW3. Hosted by UJS together with René Cassin and the Jewish Music Institute, Together in Tune brought the Jewish and Roma communities together for a night of music and dance, celebrating and recognising our communities’ cultural similarities. The atmosphere in the room was buzzing and everyone had a fantastic time.

UJS President Josh Holt opened the evening, saying:

‘We know better than many that minority groups must be recognised, protected and celebrated, and so tonight we will do just that. Music transcends cultural, social, and political boundaries, and as Jews who place strong importance on the value of community, we must be proactive in recognising and celebrating other minority groups such as the Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities, partnering in a way that celebrates and acknowledges the similarities of our cultures.’

The event was particularly timely as it took place on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. With both the Jewish and Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities experiencing record levels of hate speech and hate crime in the last couple of years, Together in Tune was an example of the importance of reaching out, building connections and finding strength in solidarity – as Mia Hasenson-Gross, director of René Cassin said in her address

 

 

 

If you’d like UJS to help to facilitate interfaith work on your campus, please get in touch with Dan Rafaeli danr@ujs.org.uk and Rebecca Filer rebeccaf@ujs.org.uk

 

Useful contacts: 

Three Faiths Forum

Three Faiths Forum aims to build good relations between people of all faiths and beliefs through education, engagement and action programmes that bring diverse communities together. 

In 2016, the then Campaigns Officer Liron Velleman spoke on a panel at the annual Interfaith Summit titled ‘Faith on campus – Islamophobia and Antisemitism. 

UJS members have participated in ParliaMentors, Three Faiths Forum’s UN award-winning leadership programme, where teams of university students of different faiths and non-religious beliefs collaborate to create real social change while being mentored by MPs.

The Council of Christians and Jews

The Council of Christians and Jews is a forum for Christian-Jewish engagement and has branches across the UK.

The CCJ runs a Campus Leadership Scheme for Jewish and Christian students as well as an annual Student Conference (http://www.ccj.org.uk/student-conference/). In previous years, UJS has run sessions at CCJ’s Student Conference on engaging with Jewish students and combatting antisemitism.

CCJ and UJS often run events on individual campuses for example interfaith Friday Nights at Coventry and Warwick, attended by Jewish, Christian and Muslim students. 

Joseph Interfaith Foundation

The Joseph Interfaith Foundation is a Muslim-Jewish interfaith organisation that is committed to fostering engagement through constructive and realistic dialogue and interaction between the Muslim and Jewish communities in Britain.

Joseph Interfaith Foundation often runs events on campuses alongside J-Socs. In 2016, LSE J-Soc co-hosted a panel with the Joseph Interfaith Foundation and the LSE Islamic Society featuring Josh Seitler, UJS President 2016/17. 

Nisa-Nashim, Jewish Muslim Women’s Network

Nisa-Nashim are a joint Muslim and Women’s Network Nisa-Nashim that aims to bring the Jewish and Muslim communities in Britain closer together by setting up groups of women to build personal friendships, grow as leaders and benefit wider society through our programmes and initiatives. 

If you’d like to get involved, Nisa-Nashim are looking to work with Jewish women students. If you’re based in the South West, there is also a pilot Student Nisa-Nashim Group in Bristol, please contact info@nisanashim.org

 

The Interfaith Network 

The Inter Faith Network for the UK works to promote understanding, cooperation and good relations between organisations and persons of different faiths in the UK.

It does this through providing opportunities for linking and sharing of good practice, providing advice and information to help the development of new inter faith initiatives and the strengthening of existing ones.

Please contact Zac.lloyd@interfaith.org.uk or ashley.beck@interfaith.org.uk

 

The Department for Education 

The Department for Education is very useful at directing people or organisations to key partners in different faith communities. They have very useful contacts all over the country, and can also be a good way to find out which subsidiaries are available to gain possible funding for Interfaith projects. 

Please contact - jenni.cannon@education.gov.uk

 

St Ethelburgas Centre 

St Ethelburga’s is a ‘maker of peacemakers’. They inspire and equip people from all backgrounds to become peacebuilders in their own lives and communities.

They run an excellent youth Interfaith Leadership programme, which trains potential leaders in the Interfaith world, which involves training in the topic of Refugee Asylum, and even involves an international visit to volunteer at a refugee camp (fully funded) 

 

Please contact Viviana for more info- 

 

Peace by Peace- West London Synagogue 

Peace by Piece is a programme to bring together Jews and Muslims to learn together, support local vulnerable communities, and showcase emerging artists through a busy programme of regular events.

 

For more Information please contact Mohammed at mohammed.yahya@wls.org.uk

 

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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