Union of Jewish Students

Union of Jewish Students of the United Kingdom & Ireland
UJS logo NEW.png
Founded1919; 103 years ago (1919)
TypeStudent Union
Area served
The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland
c. 69 Jewish Societies, > 8,500 members
Key people
Nina Freedman (President)
Arieh Miller (CEO)
c. 12
Formerly called
The Inter University Jewish Federation

The Union of Jewish Students of the United Kingdom and Ireland (UJS) represents Jewish students in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is a member of the World Union of Jewish Students (WUJS) and the European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) and an associate member of the National Union of Students, and is represented on the Board of Deputies of British Jews. The President for 2021/22 is Nina Freedman.



The IUJF (Inter University Jewish Federation) was the creation in 1919 of the Manchester Jewish Association. They saw a growing pride in the Jewish Community and believed it was appropriate for Jewish students to have a national organisation to co-ordinate the activities of Jewish student Societies and represent Jewish students at a national level.

The first step was a conference in Manchester on 17 July 1919 at which four Jewish societies were represented: Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Oxford. Although not represented initially, the London University Jewish Society subsequently took an active and eventually a leading role.

Early years

With the rise to power in Germany of the Nazi Party, many Jewish students had their studies disrupted and sought refuge in non-occupied Europe and elsewhere; the International Students Service was in the forefront of providing advice to these displaced students and financial assistance was made available from communal funds. The Federation was active in supporting these efforts; almost £2,000 was raised from University students in Britain.

By 1946, the following Universities had societies affiliated to the Federation, in addition to those already mentioned: Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, University College, Cardiff, Dublin, Durham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Reading and Sheffield.

The two main activities of the Federation, from its inception, were an annual Summer School and an Annual Conference, held in the winter vacation.

Throughout its existence, the IUJF was involved with the Jewish community. It was represented on the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Zionist Federation and had an ongoing liaison with Jewish Youth Study Groups.

For the almost fifty years from its foundation until the creation of the Hillel Foundation, the IUJF had no office, no staff, no sabbatical officers and no assured budget other than money that students could raise themselves. The Federation was run from the rooms of the then Chairman or Secretary; all activities were organized by the students themselves on a voluntary basis; from time to time, small subventions were obtained from the general community.


It was the partnership with which B’nai B’rith set up the Hillel Foundation which provided the IUJF with its first permanent office and its first professional assistance. This enabled the Federation and its successor, UJS, to increase its works.

The organization was renamed UJS in 1973.

Activities and values

As of 2021, UJS represents approximately 8,500 students, with 4,000-4,500 being members of its 69 affiliated Jewish Societies (J-Socs) on individual campuses. Expenditure in 2020/21 was under £1m. It states that its core values are: cross-communalism, peer-leadership, representation and engagement with Israel. Its communal partners and supporters include the Jewish Leadership Council, UJIA and the Community Security Trust.

It provides training and funding for individual J-Socs; campaigns on specific issues; offers members the opportunity to participate in networking events, master classes and a summer placement scheme; runs national events to bring together Jewish students, including the JUEFA Cup football tournament, the UJS training Summit, the UJS Conference, the UJS Student Awards, Shabbat UK and Jewniversity Challenge, and; works with universities to secure Jewish student accommodation and spaces for J-Soc activities as well as sourcing kosher food and students' other religious needs. It also organises a range of trips to Israel.

It has been active within the National Union of Students, including its Anti-Racism and Anti-Fascism campaigns. It has supported the campaigns of Wes Streeting, Aaron Porter, and Shakira Martin for the role of NUS President in 2008, 2010, and 2017, respectively. UJS funds delegations of Students’ Union leaders to visit Israel.

In April 2019, the UJS called on Sheffield University to "take all actions necessary" against a lecturer who had signed a petition in support of suspended MP Chris Williamson. In October 2019, the Union of Jewish Students demanded that the University of Nottingham cancel a planned lecture by Williamson.

Past Leadership

The UJS President is elected by Jewish students to represent their voices within the community, universities, colleges and wider society.

Title Name Years in office University Notes
President Nina Freedman 2021-2022 Bristol University
President James Harris 2020-2021 Birmingham University
President Esther Offenberg 2019-2020 Birmingham University
President Hannah Rose 2018-2019 Bristol University
President Josh Holt 2017-2018 University of Nottingham
President Josh Seitler 2016-2017 London School of Economics
President Hannah Brady 2015-2016 Kings College, London (BA); University College, London (MA)
President Ella Rose 2014-2015 University of Nottingham
President Yos Tarshish (Joe Tarsh) 2013-2014 Manchester Metropolitan University
President Alex Green 2012-2013 University of Birmingham
President Daniel Grabiner 2011-2012 University of Leeds
Chairperson Alex Dwek 2010-2011 University of Manchester
Chairperson Adam Pike 2008-2010 University of Manchester
Chairperson Jessica Truman 2007-2008 Manchester Metropolitan University
Chairperson Jonathan Levy 2006-2007 University of Manchester
Chairperson Wallace Rosenberg 2005-2006 University of Manchester
Chairperson Dan Sacker 2004-2005 University of Manchester
Chairperson Mark Ross 2003-2004 Queen Mary, University of London
Chairperson Alan Senitt 2001-2003 University of Birmingham
Chairperson Ashley Hirst 2000-2001 University of Manchester
Chairperson Ruth Bookatz 1999-2000 University of Manchester
Chairperson Adam Dawson 1998-1999 University of Leeds
Chairperson Danny Newman 1997-1998 University of Oxford
Chairperson Susie Simmons 1996-1997 Manchester Metropolitan University
Chairperson Nick Cosgrove 1995-1996 University of Hull
Chairperson David Kaplan 1994-1995 University of Glasgow
Chairperson Tony Danker 1993-1994 University of Manchester
Chairperson Robert Sumroy 1992-1993 University of Cambridge
Chairperson Ian Myers 1991-1992 Manchester Polytechnic
Chairperson Howard Silverman 1990-1991 Keele University
Chairperson Jonny Mendelsohn 1989-1990 University of Leeds
Chairperson Stephen Kurer 1988-1989 University College London
Chairperson Paul Frosh 1987-1988 University of Cambridge
Chairperson Ashley Harshak 1986-1987 University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Chairperson Adrian Cohen 1985-1986 London School of Economics
Chairperson Simon Myerson 1984-1985 University of Cambridge
Chairperson Matthew Kalman 1983-1984 University of Cambridge
Chairman Sam Clarke 1982-1983 University of Sheffield
Chairman Sam Jacobs 1981-1982
Chairman Danny Joseph 1980-1981 University of Leeds
Chairman Rowel Genn 1979-1980 Queens University, Belfast
Chairman David Waxman 1978-1979
Chairman Moshe Forman 1977-1978
Chairman Simon Caplan 1976-1977 University of Oxford
Chairman Mark Dines 1975-1976 University of Manchester
Interim Co-Chairman Melvyn Kay 1974-1975
Interim Co-Chairman Andrew Jacobs 1974-1975
Chairman Phil Shilco 1974 King's College, London
Chairman Alan Freeman 1973-1974 School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
Chairman David Bloch 1972-1973 University College London
Chairman Rosalind Nysenbaum 1971-1972 Queen Mary, University of London
Chairman Arnold Wagner OBE 1970-1971 Middlesex University
Chairman David Rosenberg 1969-1970 University of Glasgow
Chairman Alan Baker 1968 University College London
Chairman Gordon Hausmann 1967
Chairman Alan Gold 1966
Chairman Leslie Wagner 1965
Chairman Mike Hunter 1964
Chairman Justin Phillips 1963
Chairman Prof Edgar Neufeld 1955-1956
Chairman Mr Benjamin 1956
Chairman Michael Saltman 1954
Chairman Geoffrey Silver 1950-51
Chairman Lionel Stoll 1933-1934
Chairman *Chaim Herzog 1941-1942 University College, London

See also

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