With so many decisions to make about your future when you leave university, the opportunities can be overwhelming. Here are some of our sabbatical team to tell you why they made the choice to work for their national union…
Josh is the President, whilst Grace and Kathryn are two of our J-Soc Officers. Hannah is our Communications Officer and Liron is our Campaigns Manager; last year he was a Campaigns Officer, and Rebecca is a Campaigns Officer this year.
What’s the best thing about working at UJS?
Josh: Helping students on the ground to have the best Jewish experience possible.
Kathryn: Seeing the real impact of your work.
Hannah: Every day is different! I so rarely get bored, because there’s just such a huge variety of campaigns, events, programmes and more to work on. Also, I’ve been able to break out of the North London bubble by going to visit parts of the UK I’d never even heard of before.
Grace: Other than being able to take home left over food, it’s the people I have been able to meet and work with. The environment of the office and any national event I have attended is always so warm and inspiring. I don’t think I ever leave an event or the office without a smile on my face.
How have you grown and developed during your time at UJS?
Josh: I have learnt how to lead teams, empowering others to make a difference.
Grace: Working in such a tight knit team allows for you to learn so intently from others, so developing on skills I never thought I had, like creativity in making and delivery of sessions as well as having the opportunity to push myself to do something new constantly!
Hannah: UJS has provided a supportive environment for me to maximise my strengths and improve on things I find more challenging. I’ve also learnt skills like graphic design, email marketing and project management, which will help me as I progress in my career.
Rebecca: I’ve been able to put my training into action in new and challenging situations, developing skills that I know I’ll go on to use in the future.
Liron: I have learnt so much about how to work with a range of stakeholders and keep them all happy!
Josh addressing 120 Jewish students and guests at Summit 2017, our annual leadership training weekend
What achievement are you most proud of from your time as a sabbatical officer so far?
Liron: The work we have done to ensure that UJS are loud and proud of our support for freedom of speech alongside our desire to rid campus of racists and fascists through parliamentary, press and other public work.
Kathryn: Our Living Memory – developing the partnership between UJS, NUS and HET to engage J-Socs and SUs all over the country in Holocaust education, which I’m really passionate about.
Grace: Going from uni to living in London was a big change for me and as simple as it may sound, I am really proud of that. I also am so proud of seeing the quality of events and projects from my colleagues and myself. My personal favourite is the Homelessness in Succot project where I created a peer-led lunch and learn guide on homelessness as a contemporary issue, while giving pragmatic responses to help change it.
Rebecca: I’m most proud of the work that I’ve done to inspire and empower new activists over the past six months. My absolute favourite example of this was the relaunch of the Women’s Network which I’m so excited to see grow!
Why should someone apply to be a sabbatical officer at UJS?
Grace: Why wouldn’t you!? Sabbatical roles come with an immense amount of responsibility, so you will learn a lot more in this job than many other first year employment opportunities – all while working with the same end goal of supporting Jewish students unconditionally.
Liron: UJS gives so many opportunities to the team. In just 18 months, I’ve had so much training, travelled to Israel, America, the UN, spoken to students across the UK and Ireland and had a lot of responsibility over projects and tasks and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Hannah: To be a UJS sabbatical officer is to become part of an incredible history. UJS is about to enter its 100th year of leading, defending and enriching Jewish life on campus; an achievement facilitated by dedicated, passionate and talented individuals since 1919 and a legacy that inspires me every single day. Also, it’s an investment in your future and yourself – we are leading meetings, delivering projects, planning our own budgets and so much more, so you’ll learn professional skills for life. Lastly, I get to help other people build their own Jewish identities, which is so important to me.
Rebecca: Without a doubt, I can guarantee it’ll be the best year of your life!
Hannah holding the Havdalah candle at Summit 2016
Who is the most inspirational person you’ve met as a UJS sabbatical officer?
Grace: I will proudly say my students, they volunteer their time and always bring such joy to any meeting I get to have with them. Also, literally two days ago I was sitting in Parliament with students listening to Alf Dubs talk and that was incredible. I also got to meet Alastair Campbell. Politics aside, these are two people that advocate for the right of refugees and mental health. You do not need to be a Labour voter to see how incredible both these opportunities are.
Liron: So hard to pick! So many people have inspired me over the past 18 months from leaders of very small J-Socs who work tirelessly to make sure there is Jewish life on their campus to the allies who have gone out of their way to support Jewish students and fight antisemitism. But the most inspirational would probably be the Holocaust survivors I have met who continue to speak on campuses up and down the country.
Kathryn: This sounds super cheesy I know, but it’s genuine – it’s the students! It's all about seeing the dedication and innovation they put into every event that they do.
Kathryn enjoying a lunch and learn on campus with students from Brunel J-Soc and the London Chaplain Rav Gav